1963 Ford Galaxie - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens - Words & Photos

cameron galaxie 6 Cameron is grinning here. But a few hours earlier, when we discovered this Galaxie’s suspension problem, there wasn’t much to smile about cameron galaxie 6

A lucky break and some good bush mechanics gets Cameron's Ford Galaxie going again

One look under Cameron’s low 1963 Ford Galaxie, parked outside the Alpine Hotel on the main street of Cooma in southern NSW, made my blood run cold. Seriously.

"Ahh... I think you better take a look at this," I croaked to Cameron and the others standing around the car – Mia, Maddie, Libby, Wayne and Michael - as I stood up from peering under the Galaxie.

"I think I’ve found the problem..."


That’s daylight between the loose spring plate and the axle. If this had broken completely, we would have been in a lot more trouble!

Before our crew had convened in Cooma, Cameron and his girlfriend Mia (the three of us work together to produce my Addicted To Cars videos) had travelled down NSW’s south coast in the big Gal for a couple of days.

On a lumpy dirt road near Braidwood, Cameron had smacked an unavoidable (and after recent heavy rains, inevitable) pothole.


Giving it plenty with the attitude adjuster to get the bits back to where they belong

Soon after, Cameron noticed his car’s cocked steering wheel and thought the wheel alignment had been knocked about. Looking from Michael’s car, a couple of us had noticed how seriously crabby the big Gal was while driving in convoy to the pub for lunch so we were looking for the reason.

There, in front of the pub, I’d discovered one of the Gal’s two off-side leaf spring U-bolts were gone: Not there. Missing. Absent.


There’s only enough room for one under there. GT supervised with a cold frothy in hand

The second was hanging on by a last few desperate threads – with daylight between the spring plate and the axle – with both tips of the ‘U’ and the bottom pin of the damper bent almost to the point of snapping.



Off the car, this is the Galaxie’s remaining off-side U bolt...

After our pub lunch, we farewelled Michael and then very slowly idled the big Gal about one kilometre to the caravan park where the others were staying.

As serious as the problem was, luckily we were in the best set of circumstances to fix it. Cameron was travelling with a floor jack, a chassis safety stand and tools in the Gal’s boot. We were in Cooma to produce a video at Flynn’s Wrecking Yard so after a quick phone call to yard owner Wayne just before he closed for the day, we were able to grab a set of U-bolts from a 2000s Ford Falcon ute to hopefully fix the Gal’s busted ones. And between us, we had the know-how to get stuff done.


How much longer would it have held on?

There wasn’t room under the Gal for three people so I cracked a beer with Mia, Libby and Maddie while Cameron and Wayne got to work!

The Gal was jacked onto a safety stand and the bent bits removed. The BA Falcon U-bolts from Wayne’s yard didn’t quite fit so using a tool on his pocket knife, Cameron filed the Gal’s spring plate holes bigger.


Cameron used a tool on his pocket knife to file the spring plate holes bigger... pocket knives can be handy things!

The flex in the U bolts – and the slightly different axle dimensions of the 2002 vs 1963 Fords – meant the U-bolts didn’t quite line up to the spring plate, either. So Maddie’s ratchet strap (used to tie down the boxes on the back of her flat-bed Ford F-truck) was employed to squeeze the U-bolt’s legs together until everything lined-up and the nuts could be tightened up.

Job done!


Putting a round peg into a round hole, that’s not quite big enough

With the big Gal back on its wheels, the next day it was able to continue cruising across the NSW Snowy Mountains to Victoria for the annual Bright Rod Run.

How lucky were we? It was so lucky the big Gal didn’t collapse completely on its guts out there on that dirt road, 80km-plus from Cooma. It was so lucky the big Gal’s suspension didn’t somehow hold on past Cooma, to break somewhere the other side of Thredbo, deep in the Snowy Mountains where there is no phone reception.


This tie-down strap from the back of Maddie’s F-truck was used to ‘squeeze’ the ex-Falcon ute U-bolt so its legs dropped into the Galaxie’s spring plate

It was so lucky we were close to a great spare parts yard and we could cope with fixing the problem ourselves.

It was all sooo lucky!



From Unique Cars #476, March 2023


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