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Lot 344: Ford Galaxie 500

Grand Prix, Competition, Touring & Rally Cars, Coys (16 January 2010)

Nothing in British Motorsport had ever caused quite an upset as when the first Ford Galaxie raced in the U.K. "We're going to race an American Ford Galaxie. Would you like to drive it?" came the offer from Jeff Uren to Jack Sears. Sears acceptance  after much reflection - would create a partnership that would turn the tables on Jaguar's stranglehold on the British Touring Car Championship to take the title in 1963. The only previous occasion on which an American saloon had competed in British saloon events had been the previous year when Dan Gurney raced a Chevrolet ImpaIa at Silverstone and it had looked quite promising. But it was not all plain sailing  having accepted Uren's offer, back came what appeared as a cautionary note: "Well, I'm afraid the Galaxie isn't ready yet, so you'll have to start the season in a Cortina GT." 'Gentleman' Jack Sears simply sowed the seeds for the Cortina's legendary success while he patiently waited for his American leviathan to be readied. When it did arrive, Sears was suitably impressed. "By the end of the practice I was becoming aware of clutch slip. But when I told the mechanics they just told me I'd have to take things easy because there just wasn't a replacement available. So I edged the Galaxie gently off the line, slipping it into top gear as quickly as I could. I went on to the Hangar Straight behind three Jaguars and just blew past them all as I went down into Stowe. It was quite amazing. I simply drove away from them with no difficulty, winning the race with ease even though I never took the car out of top gear after the second lap!" Sears' success in the Willment Galaxie was virtually unchallenged throughout 1963, securing his second championship title with much greater ease than his first (1958 Austin Westminster). On reflection he recalled only two occasions on which he was certain that he was about to be beaten. "One was when Jack Brabham drove Alan Brown's Galaxie at Snetterton, gradually closing in on me until a Mini spun in front of my car at Riches and I was obliged to stop at the pits. On another occasion Jim Clark drove the same car at Brands Hatch, pulling steadily away from me until I was forced to stop after a puncture. But my most satisfying moment with the Willment car was when I beat Dan Gurney in a straight fight at SiIverstone. That gave me a lot of pleasure."

The car that Coys has the greatest pleasure in offering today is a fastidiously restored replica of the Jack Sears Willment championship winning car, originally built-up by McDonald Racing to the order of Lord March, the founder of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival meeting - and a lifelong fan of Jack Sears. The donor car had been sourced for Lord March by Dan Gurney and the race-prepared Galaxie was debuted at the 1999 Goodwood Revival meeting and has since become a familiar sight at this world-class event. After an 'off' at Woodcote Corner during one of the St. Mary's races, Lord March's Galaxie was laid-up, waiting for spares to arrive to rebuild the car. It was then that the vendor approached Lord March with an offer to buy the damaged car and rebuild it. What transpired would turn out to be probably the finest restored and detailed example of 1963� - model Ford Galaxie 500 to FIA competition-specification - ever.

A fully detailed photographic history of the re-build exists and is available with the car. It is fair to say that the car is as near perfect a replica of the original Jack Seers Galaxie (BML 9A) -even down to including the red / green pit signalling lights on the roof! Such detailing is evident throughout the car. For example - to avoid having a visible high intensity rear light, which would not look "period, the fuel flap is electrically operated by a trigger switch in the car to reveal the rear light when needed. It therefore goes without saying that the vendor's wish to create a 'perfect' car has not been without considerable forethought.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Prix, Competition, Touring & Rally Cars
Coys, London
TypeCar
Lot Number344
Estimate£70000-£85000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£72165
Year1963
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberX3PP662181140
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors