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Jack Sears' Galaxie in London


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#1 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 18:28

Recently I helped my friend Jack Sears collate some of his old photographs for a talk he was to give at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall. He wanted to show these photos during his talk and I scanned them for him and put them into a digital presentation format, all new technology to him. His talk before 140 guests took place at the club on Tuesday 25th November.

Apart from Jack, a star of the evening was his famous old Galaxie. It has been away from his Norfolk home for a while, at Goodwood for the FoS, then stored there until the Revival and stored again until this talk last week. I believe the car is back at home in Norfolk now.

It was quite a task getting the Galaxie into the building to it's position in the centre rotunda. The transporter had to unload her parked 90 degrees across Pall Mall, so the car could be pushed straight, through the narrow door opening. After measurements were taken, there was just an inch each side of the widest part - the front bumper, therefore she had to go in straight. To avoid traffic disruption, this all took place very early in the morning.

With the permission of the Royal Automobile Club to allow them to be shown, here are some stunning photos of the Galaxie in location. I particularly like the one from above.

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#2 kayemod

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 19:51

I saw this car racing in it's heyday, and I saw it again at Goodwood this year. The thing that amazed me most about it was the near standard seats, how on earth did Jack manage to hold on and stay in contact with the steering wheel and pedals when he was cornering this monster?

#3 RS2000

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 20:25

Ironic really, as I cannot believe the RAC of the day was totally separated from some of the scrutineering problems the car encountered.

#4 sterling49

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 20:28

Great photos Andy, what memories! Fabulous car :up:

#5 Frank de Jong

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 20:59

Fantastic! :love:

#6 Pedro 917

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 21:10

Here are some pictures of Jack Sears & the Galaxie from this year's Festival Of Speed at Goodwood :

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#7 HistoricMustang

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 21:17

What a beautiful car and what a wonderful time for motorsports.

I enjoyed (enjoy) nothing more than watching a 4000 pound big block go through the gears at a road circuit, especially Sebring. :clap:

Henry

#8 sterling49

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 21:30

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
What a beautiful car and what a wonderful time for motorsports.

I enjoyed (enjoy) nothing more than watching a 4000 pound big block go through the gears at a road circuit, especially Sebring. :clap:

Henry


At Brands it was amazing, the noise, the vibration, the width of the car on a such narrow circuit, and the contrast in size compared to most of the cars, especially the Minis!

The way it used to haul itself up to speed away from Clearways onto the Top Straight, a terrific sight :up:

#9 bradbury west

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 22:15

Seeing the car in place in photo 2 brings to mind the in-period car-placing antics of the likes of John Cooper, Innes Ireland or the irrepressible Richard Wrottesley.
Roger Lund

#10 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 22:18

Originally posted by kayemod
I saw this car racing in it's heyday, and I saw it again at Goodwood this year. The thing that amazed me most about it was the near standard seats, how on earth did Jack manage to hold on and stay in contact with the steering wheel and pedals when he was cornering this monster?

That is the way they raced then. though I would suspect a lot of seats hadextra bolstering around the driver to give some small degree of support. It has happened here in historic racing though these days I think they are allowed raceseats.
I raced both circuit and rallycross in the 70s and early 80s with standard [sort of] seats and had no real problems though I was wearing a racing harness. i believe in britain in the 60s there was no obligation to wear a seatbelt? That would be scarey!

#11 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 22:25

Originally posted by RS2000
Ironic really, as I cannot believe the RAC of the day was totally separated from some of the scrutineering problems the car encountered.


Jaguar Cars Ltd was not totally separated either...! British 'fair play' wasn't in it.

DCN

#12 bradbury west

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 22:31

ISTR that Dan Gurney and his Impala had been used as a warm-up act by them for their tactics.
Roger Lund.

#13 RS2000

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 23:12

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Jaguar Cars Ltd was not totally separated either...! British 'fair play' wasn't in it.
DCN


"You may say that but I couln't possibly comment" (with appologies to Francis Urquart)

#14 Gary C

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 23:48

great photos, Andrew

#15 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 07:03

Thanks, but as I said, not my photos, e-mailed to me by and property/copyright of The Royal Automobile Club.

#16 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 07:26

Originally posted by bradbury west
Seeing the car in place in photo 2 brings to mind the in-period car-placing antics of the likes of John Cooper, Innes Ireland or the irrepressible Richard Wrottesley.
Roger Lund

Or Trevor Van Rooyen in South Africa - none of the diners could leave the restaurant until the vehicle was removed that night..

#17 RTH

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 07:31

Is that a carpet it is standing on ?

#18 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 07:35

Originally posted by RTH
Is that a carpet it is standing on ?

A big rug!

#19 kayemod

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 08:49

Originally posted by Andrew Kitson

A big rug!


Eddie Jordan's?

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#20 Paul Parker

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 09:38

If you think the Galaxies looked big at Brands you should have seen them at Crystal Palace, unbelievable!

#21 sterling49

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 19:23

Originally posted by Paul Parker
If you think the Galaxies looked big at Brands you should have seen them at Crystal Palace, unbelievable!


Did they not have drum brakes also? :eek:

#22 bradbury west

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 20:53

[i]Originally posted by sterling49
Did they not have drum brakes also? :eek: [/B]

Yup. NASCAR spec sintered linings IIRC. Read it Graham's book about Jack Sears, top title. Also covered in magazine articles.
Roger Lund

#23 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 20:58

I understand that everyone in Jack's audience received a signed book, lucky people.

#24 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 21:40

Originally posted by sterling49
Did they not have drum brakes also? :eek:


I know that the rear brakes were still drums at that time, but I am trying to recall if the front brakes were discs that year since this about the time the switch happened and discs were used at the front. As Roger points out, those brake drums were massive....

#25 HistoricMustang

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 21:55

Wasn't Penske's Matador the first to bring front disc brakes to NASCAR in the early '70's?

Perhaps my brain is infact fried! :smoking:

Henry

#26 bradbury west

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 22:43

T&CC article and test March 1992 indicates that the car now has front discs, replacing the original drum set-up in mid 64. The discs had the advantage of being sure of lasting the race distance. the full story in in Jack's excellent biog by Graham Gauld.
If anyone has access to the 2nd part of the article, April 1992 Thoroughbred and Classic Cars, I would welcome a scannned copy.
Roger Lund

#27 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 00:44

I just checked: NASCAR finally allowed front disc brakes beginning with the 1966 models. The 1973 Penske Matador used discs on all four wheels and was the tipping point for everyone going to discs all around.

#28 S&M Minis

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 04:33

Excellent pictures, great setting, and quite the nice rug! One of my favorite race reports is the Henry N. Manney writeup in Road & Track of the 1963 Motor Six Hour race. The Galaxies were not only racing on road courses, but in the rain too!

Multiple synapses fired on first reading Andrew's original post with the pictures, particularly the part about "getting the Galaxie into the ... rotunda". Having lived and breathed Fords in the 1960's and being a Ford parts "counter man" in the early 1970's it's hard to see the word rotunda without having massive flashbacks. The Rotunda was a major Ford facility in Dearborn that was used for PR events, and Rotunda was the Ford house brand of filters, oil, antifreeze, other consumeables, and accessories. It was eventually replaced by Motorcraft (I believe), but I'm sure I can find some Rotunda packaged parts in the basement even today.

So there's no better way to honor a significant Ford racecar than to display it in a rotunda. Good show!

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#29 McGuire

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:15

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
I just checked: NASCAR finally allowed front disc brakes beginning with the 1966 models. The 1973 Penske Matador used discs on all four wheels and was the tipping point for everyone going to discs all around.


While disc brakes were factory-offered from around '65 on and therefore technically permitted (presumably) in NASCAR Grand National, the production components were totally inadequate for stock car racing. The problem was size. The biggest disc brake components then available were those used on the Ford GT MK IV, and just barely adequate for that application with far less mass than a stock car racer. So furtive experiments aside, NASCAR teams stuck with their enormous drum brakes with 4-in wide shoes and segmented metallic linings. Far from ideal but in a high state of development and the teams and drivers understood them very well.

The first GN car to effectively use disc brakes on either end was the Penske Matador at Riverside in 1973, using Girling calipers adapted from their Lola coupe endurance racer mated to Lincoln rotors -- the largest they could find. And even at that, the Penske team stopped at mid-race to replace brake pads. As you can imagine, both the brakes and the pit stop caused some cognitive distress along pit road.

http://www.javelinam...es/apr73hr1.txt

See also The Unfair Advantage by Mark Donohue, Chapter 15... Interestingly, Donohue notes that the disc brakes offered no competitive advantage in stopping distance over the giant drum brakes, but lasted longer due to their far greater resistance to fade. Donohue says he ran with the pack until mid-race and then drove away. Penske also ran the disc brakes at Riverside the year before, but since the car was not terribly competitive and retired early, nobody had paid much attention.

#30 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:21

Originally posted by McGuire

See also The Unfair Advantage by Mark Donohue


I remember Rory Byrne reading that book back in the old '70s Royale Racing days.
He told me he learnt so much from it.

#31 McGuire

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 11:07

Originally posted by Andrew Kitson


I remember Rory Byrne reading that book back in the old '70s Royale Racing days.
He told me he learnt so much from it.


One of my all-time favorite books.

#32 David Shaw

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 13:00

Originally posted by S&M Minis
The Rotunda was a major Ford facility in Dearborn that was used for PR events, and Rotunda was the Ford house brand of filters, oil, antifreeze, other consumeables, and accessories. It was eventually replaced by Motorcraft (I believe)


IIRC Autolite was the forerunner to Motorcraft, and Ford may have decided to rationalise their house brand products at the same time.

#33 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 14:19

Bill sums up the drums and discs issue ref NASCAR in a nutshell. By the middle of the Sixties, the drums had been developed to a point -- largely by the Holman Moody organization -- where they fit the bill and were readily available. There were a few efforts at using discs after they became eligible for use -- I recall seeing a few daring souls fiddling with them at the time, but they went nowhere since those on hand simply were not up to the task (the pads being one of the problems?) and it was easier & cheaper to use what was on hand.

NASCAR referred to them as "spot brakes" in the rulebook.

#34 S&M Minis

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 16:08

Autolite and Rotunda existed together as Ford brands, although I don't know if one preceeded the other. The Autolite line covered ignition components, at least spark plugs and possibly more, while the Rotunda line appeared to cover filters and fluids. The owner's manuals I have for various 1960's Ford vehicles specify use of Rotunda and Autolite brands for the fluids and spark plugs, respectively.

By the time I was working the Ford parts counter (1971) the Rotunda brand had gone away (although we still had some Rotunda stock sitting on the shelves) and the Motorcraft brand was being marketed. Autolite still existed as a free-standing brand of spark plugs, as it does today. At the time, when you bought a tune-up kit it consited of a Motorcraft-labeled can containing Autolite spark plugs. I don't remember how the points and condensor were labeled.

The mark-up on the Motorcraft/Autolite consumeables (oil, filters, plugs, etc.) sold through Ford dealerships was huge. We loved selling them to folks willing to shop there, but everyone that worked there knew to buy their own consumeables at independent outlets!

But back to my original comment, displaying the Sears' Galaxie in a rotunda has a nice touch to it.

On the disc brake topic, although not Galaxie, I still have the manuals Ford published in 1970 for converting a Boss 302 Mustang for SCCA racing, up to Trans Am level; one manual for the engine and one for the chassis. It provided the Ford parts numbers for upgrading the disc brakes by using various big car components. IIRC it included a rear disc brake conversion based on Lincoln components and somehow that was considered production-based by the SCCA. Many of the wanna' be racers contacted me about the parts and were stunned when they heard the price. Unfortunately the parts were too new to be found in salvage yards. I still get the occasional request for photocopies of the Boss manuals from vintage racers; they were very complete and detailed and still apply today. The NASCAR Galaxies were much heavier and travelled much faster - what worked for the Mustangs didn't extrapolate to the Galaxies.

#35 fbarrett

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 22:26

Randy:

I understand that Jack Sears will be attending the Shelby American Collection bash in Boulder, Colorado, this weekend. Randy, if you are coming, look me up!

Frank

#36 S&M Minis

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 00:42

Frank,

I found the event details on the SAC website, will have to see if I can make it and if space is still available. Quite the list of luminaries attending! I'll tell the wife to return the leather jacket I requested for Christmas and ask for a ticket to this event instead. http://shelbyamerica...org/events.html

I have one small piece of Shelby memorabilia, a Shelby American check made out to Bob Bondurant. I've never taken it out of the frame to see if Bob endorsed the back side. I'd love to get Bondo's signature on the front of the check and possibly Jack Sear's signature on my Motor Six Hour race report article! Probably a good thing that they won't allow car parts to be brought for signatures, I can just picture someone in the parking lot loading the 427 side-oiler block onto a hand cart.

If I can't make the event, please have a good time for me.

P.S. My only other pieces of racing memorabilia are a trophy signed by Tom Payne, a former SA driver (he signed my trophy, the only thing immediately available at a vintage race we both ran), and an unopened, 35-year old tin of Flying Dutchman tobacco signed by Arie Luyendyk, "The Flying Dutchman". Arie was quite interested in that one when I asked him to sign it, he knew that it was also a "Product of Holland". I missed my chance at another unique signature when I couldn't find my million dollar bill (fake, of course) before an event attended by Bill Elliott. The signature of "Million Dollar Bill" on a million dollar bill. Sorry, I got way off topic there, into a whole 'nother galaxy!

#37 David Birchall

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 03:42

Since this thread has strayed, just a little, (Love that last post!), Here are some photos I took at the Goodwood Revival. As I was walking through the paddock on Friday I was suddenly confronted with the ex Sears Galaxy manoevering into it's stall, as I waited and photographed I heard the "clump, clump, clump" of marching feet and a group of "Soldiers" stopped alongside me and marked time as the Galaxy was parked--talk about "Dad's Army"! It was marvelous...!

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#38 S&M Minis

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 04:04

I'll stay on topic this time. Those of you that have seen the Galaxie in person, can you advise what the stickers are on the side windows?