Ron Smith’s Graphic Galaxie

Ron Smith bought his Aussie-assembled Galaxie at age 18 and 35 years later, they are still going strong!

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

While wandering the pits at the 2023 Tuff Mounts Holden Nationals at Heathcote Park Raceway, ironically it was Ron Smith’s stickered-up 1966 Ford Galaxie that especially drew our attention.

Ron was helping out at the drags as an IHRA steward, so we bailed him up for a quick chat about his time-warp Galaxie.

First published in the June 2023 issue of Street Machine

It must be funny to have a Ford getting photographed at a Holden-exclusive event?

Yeah, it certainly is! All my mates were standing around calling me ‘Hollywood’ for it, but then I reminded them that you boys have stopped to photograph the only Ford at a Holden event!

How long have you had the Galaxie?

I actually got it for myself as a 21st birthday present, and I’m 56 now. An old guy had it in his front yard in Brunswick, so I took some money I got for my birthday, along with the savings I already had, and went and made him an offer for it.

It’s actually an Aussie-assembled Galaxie, and it was an ex-government car with the original 289 in it when I got it.

Are the graphics and styling from when you had it as a younger lad?

Yep, they certainly are. I did all the graphics and paint myself; they’ve been on it since I was 26, so 30 years now. There’s over 100 hours just in those graphics, and blending the paint took a lot of preparation.

The basic blue is very similar to the factory colour, and then the darker blue is a mix of Ford Grey and Atlantis Blue.

What’s it got for power?

It’s running a 302 Windsor that I built for it in the 90s, which I did race a lot at Calder back then. I’d been playing around with Windsors a lot, and the engine has been so solid I just haven’t needed to change it.

It’s still a basic bottom end, with an Isky camshaft, ported heads and a Weiand intake manifold. It had Holley injection on it for a long time, but that recently died, so now it uses a Holley Brawler carby and ICE ignition.

You’ve had the Galaxie a long time, then; is it your first car?

No, my first car was actually an old Mainline. I guess the Galaxie is my second car, and funnily enough, the heads that’re on this motor now were originally from my Mainline.

Back then, there were bugger-all aftermarket heads, so I got these ported for $1000, which was a lot for a 19-year-old back then! I sold my drum kit for $800, because I was a terrible drummer, and chucked another $200 on top to get the $1000 I needed.

And you’ve never been tempted to sell the Gal?

No, I just love the body shape so much. I love the look of the tail-lights, and it’s a hoot to drive. I set it up with some XB discs brakes and aftermarket suspension gear so it actually handles properly; it takes corners really well.

I’ll often take it through the Dandenongs for a nice drive. Unlike all the other Galaxies out there, this one doesn’t float.

You’re here at the Holden Nationals doing IHRA duties; how did you get involved with that?

In all honesty, it’s mostly because I’m just a sucker for all things drag racing. But it’s also because I’m the president of the Australia Nostalgia Racers, and we found it a bit tricky to get tech info when we went racing interstate, so I got involved in that way, and then got asked to help out when I can.

I love meeting all the racers and seeing the cars they build for themselves and the ingenuity when I do scrutineering, which is why I love doing it for Street Machine Drag Challenge, too.