The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030
Lot 217
The ex-John Willment Racing Team, Driven by Jack Sears to the 1963 British Saloon Car Championship
1963 Ford Galaxie 500
Sold for £471,900 (US$ 640,280) inc. premium

Goodwood Revival

9 Sep 2017, 13:00 BST

Chichester, Goodwood

Lot Details
The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack 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Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing 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Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030 The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff,1963 Ford Galaxie 500  Chassis no. 3N66R143030
The Ex-Willment Racing Team, Ex-Jack Sears/Graham Hill/Sir John Whitmore/Paul Hawkins/Frank Gardner/Bob Olthoff
1963 Ford Galaxie 500
Registration no. BML 9A
Chassis no. 3N66R143030
*Holman & Moody 'Lightweight' Ford Galaxie 500
*British and South African Saloon Car Champion
*Legendary Iconic Racing Saloon Car


Footnotes

  • In our catalogue descriptions we have often highlighted how one may judge a great competition car by the company it kept in period.  Another vital yardstick when it comes to assessing historic value is then perfectly exemplified by this magnificent Ford Galaxie 500 racing saloon car, for it is nothing less than an extremely important motor racing landmark.
     
    Between 1950 and 1963 British production car racing had been absolutely dominated by the Jaguar marque. The Coventry-built cars with their wonderful 3.4 and later 3.8-litre twin-overhead camshaft XK-series engines dominated the category, proving effectively unbeatable. The Jaguar Mark VIIs following by the 3.4 Mark I saloon and then the Mark II in ultimate 3.8-litre form simply overwhelmed all opposition.
     
    But here we offer the John Willment Automobiles Ltd racing team's Ford Galaxie 500 – the landmark car in which the late, great, hugely popular driver Jack Sears stood the racing record on its head, and shattered those long years of Jaguar domination.
     
    It was in mid-January 1963 that Jack had received a telephone call from Willment's new team manager Jeff Uren – himself a former saloon car racing rival – who explained that the freshly-established Twickenham-based equipe were purchasing from America a "...full-house Holman & Moody NASCAR Ford Galaxie with which they intended to confront Jaguar in the British Saloon Car Championship". And they wanted Jack to drive it.  The Galaxie was a 400-horsepower 7-litre 'Lightweight' being built by NASCAR stock car racing specialists Holman & Moody in Charlotte, North Carolina. It would be the first of three destined for the British saloon car racing scene, the other two being destined for Sir Gawaine Baillie and Alan Brown. Willment's car – as now offered here -  would not be delivered until the Spring.  Included in the extensive documentation file accompanying this Lot is the original Holman & Moody receipt, No 814, dated June 20, 1963, and confirming sale to "John Willment Automobiles Ltd, 161 Chertsey Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, England" – the recorded price being US $3,342.98.
     
    Meantime, Willment had been offered the brand-new – and at that time "hush-hush" Cortina GT saloon to contest the Championship's 2-litre class, which scored equal points to the race winner overall – which would almost inevitably be from the over-2-litre class...and, until May 1963, most definitely of Jaguar manufacture.
     
    'Gentleman Jack' – as was his wont – discussed the Willment proposition with his wife Cicely – and decided to take a chance and sign for the new Ford team, because: "It sounded like fun...".
     
    In the Willment Ford Cortina GT, Jack would win his class in every race he contested with it that year, but meanwhile the new NASCAR-style 'Lightweight' 7-litre Ford Galaxie 500 had been completed by Holman & Moody, and it was delivered by air in time for the major BRDC International May Meeting, at Silverstone. The Twickenham-based team brought this great car to Silverstone in time for Thursday practice, but its Firestone racing tyres had not been despatched in time from the USA. Road tyres were fitted instead and inflated to 50-60lbs psi, just enabling Jack to test-drive the car on track, not least checking out its drum-brake behaviour.
     
    This initial exploratory drive was brief – ending when a tyre burst and Jack Sears parked on the grass – "...to watch Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori and Gawaine Baillie waving at me as they hurtled past in their Jaguars...". This Galaxie notion was plainly going to prove a disaster. The vital Firestone tyres arrived in time for Friday practice. "Without trying terribly hard I then qualified on pole position – faster than all the Jaguars. I tried a standing start on one of Silverstone's infield runways. It seemed OK.  But a second start left the clutch slipping. I owned up to Jeff Uren who said that was OK because they had a spare clutch they could fit for the race. But as a precaution Jeff 'phoned John Holman in Charlotte and asked how much punishment we could expect the clutch to take. Holman told him that first gear on a NASCAR Galaxie was very high as they did rolling starts, but that I should not dump the clutch at the start, because it would not tolerate it..."
     
    As recalled in Mr Sears's biography 'Gentleman Jack' (with Graham Gauld) "I must say I made a very leisurely start, I mean it was really leisurely, and into the first corners the three Jaguars were leading, with Graham Hill followed by Roy Salvadori and Gawaine Baillie.
     
    "In that first race I had drum brakes with metal to metal linings so they didn't fade and were actually quite good, better than you would believe. I found the Jaguars were not outbraking me, so when we left Chapel Corner and came on to Hangar Straight I felt, gosh, this thing is really flying, I think I can pass them.
     
    "To my surprise I passed all three Jaguars in the one manouevre. I had no time for waving or anything like that; I had my head down concentrating but now was the moment of truth as I hit my braking point for Stowe.  To my surprise they didn't come past me but just followed me.
     
    "I put my foot down on the exit from the fast uphill left-hander at Abbey and the Galaxie just pulled away from the Jaguars.  By the end of the second lap I had a comfortable lead though was still worried about the clutch, so left the Galaxie in fourth gear for the rest of the race – I never changed gear again....". The great white car with its centreline red stripes won imperiously, the long era of Jaguar's saloon-car stranglehold had been broken and Jack Sears "felt like I was walking on air".
     
    Journalist Gregor Grant's race report in 'Autosport' magazine began "When the 'tourers' lined up, it was an unfamiliar sight to have an American V8 in pole position, with Jaguars ranged alongside.  When Kenneth Evans dropped the Union Jack, Sears made a very calculated start, easing in the clutch gently, and getting the monster rolling before unleashing over 400 very hairy horses.
     
    "The Jaguars had an initial advantage, but down Hangar Straight, Sears opened up the big Yank, to storm into the lead. There was simply nothing that (Graham) Hill, Salvadori, Mike Salmon and Co could do about it, beyond hope that something would break, or the Ford run out of its drum brakes.  Jack Sears was allowing for all this, immediately setting about building up as big a lead as possible before Jeff Uren in the Willment pit would give him the ease-up signal.
     
    "With Sears streaking away from the Jaguars interest was focused on a stirring battle (behind him)....
     
    "At half-distance Sears had built up a lead of over 20 seconds from Salvadori, with (Peter) Dodd in third place a long way back.   Sears eased off considerably after putting the touring car record up to 92.42mph and rolled comfortably home to victory, first ever for a car other than a Jaguar."
     
    Two weeks later at Aintree, Liverpool, this Willment Galaxie reappeared in Jack Sears' hands for a 34-lap, 102-mile race around the Grand National horse-race venue's perimeter motor racing circuit.  David Pritchard's 'Autosport' report read:
     
    "The presence of Jack Sears with the enormous Ford Galaxie made the outcome almost a foregone conclusion except that, in this long-distance race, Jack had a very real problem in the shape of tyre wear.  This being so, he had no thought of record breaking or showing the real pace of this monstrous vehicle, and was wisely content to nurse the brute through the corners and to turn the wick up on the straights only just far enough to keep the opposition at bay. 
     
    "The race was, therefore, dictated by Michael Salmon in the 3.8 Jaguar, which led the first half-lap, and thereafter sat in second place relentlessly keeping on the pressure every time Jack tried to ease up...an enthralling tactical exercise from which both drivers emerged with the greatest possible credit."
     
    The Crystal Palace Whit-Monday meeting could hardly have presented the Willment team with a greater Galaxie challenge, for the exceptionally tight little circuit around the London parkland venue surely favoured the Jaguars, the small-class Mini-Coopers and medium Cortinas and Anglias and Sunbeam Rapiers – anything other than the vast Galaxie which Sir John Whitmore described as "looking as big as an aircraft carrier".
     
    Sir Gawaine Baillie had acquired a sister 'lightweight' Galaxie 500, and one report described how: "Whatever people may have thought about the big Ford Galaxies on the twisting Crystal Palace circuit was soon dispelled by Jack Sears, who took an early lead from Roy Salvadori (3.8 Jaguar) and Graham Hill in a similar car.  The Jaguar drivers tried all they knew, but Sears and his seven litres of V8 Galaxie were absolutely uncatchable.  Gawaine Baillie, making his debut with another Galaxie..." and finished only 4.8secs behind Hill.
     
    In mid-season Ford homologated front disc brakes on the Galaxie, while drums were retained at the rear. Back at Silverstone for the British Saloon Car Championship round supporting the British Grand Prix, "Down went the flag, and Sears thundered off in the huge Galaxie, followed by Salmon (Jaguar) and Baillie (Galaxie).  For two laps Salmon gallantly held second place, but then the 7-litre barouche boomed past, and that was that!...Nothing could live with the titans, Sears and Baillie pulling well away from everyone else, and Salmon easily out-acing the other Jaguars by 1-2 secs per lap (until) the ninth lap, Salmon's engine gave up the ghost and he abandoned.  Sears took the chequered flag to win... easily.  He was followed by Baillie, who had closed up to within 5.2 secs, but (Mike) MacDowel in the leading Jaguar was over a minute behind....".
     
    Jaguar in the lanky form of its general manager 'Lofty' England did his best to hamper the American invader's irresistible progress by "having a quiet word" with the Royal Automobile Club governing body and race scrutineers wherever this Willment Galaxie threat confronted his customer's 3.8-litre Mark II saloon cars.  

    The British scrutineers had certainly been over the newcomer with a fine tooth comb at the May Silverstone meeting, and Robert Grant of 'Autosport' later wrote how: The Galaxie met with many queries from the scrutineers. Jeff Uren is the first to admit that scrutineering is an unenviable and tough job, but what he does complain about is their inconsistency.  As is common knowledge, a great fuss arose over the Galaxie's roll-cage, amongst other items, resulting in it being weakened so much (to prevent it illegally stiffening the chassis unit) that in the event of an accident it would have been quite useless. Despite cables, etc, from America to the scrutineers, after much argy-bargy the Galaxie was withdrawn from the Brands Hatch Six Hours, causing disappointment (to say the least) to the entrants, drivers, organizers and – last but not least – the general public on whom, let's face it, motor racing depends a great deal.
     
    Regardless, "Success followed success...Jack Sears won every time he finished with the Galaxie. Bob Olthoff also scored a first with the car and Graham Hill a second at Oulton Park. One other gentleman has scored a win with the Willment Galaxie and that was Sir John Whitmore at the recent Rhodesian Grand Prix meeting – a result which should give those who regard him as solely 'a Mini man' something to think about...".
     
    At August Bank Holiday Brands Hatch, Michael Kettlewell reported: "...the 20-lap Group 2 saloon car race had an added attraction whereby Jim Clark took over the Alan Brown-entered Ford Galaxie, thereby giving Jack Sears in the Willment machine something to think about....The traffic jam around Druids (hairpin) was a sight not for the nervous and it was a wonder that nothing untoward occurred.  It was Clark ahead of Sears, the two Ford Galaxie pilots wrestling at the wheel, working as never before. The Jaguar pilots, too, were right on the ragged edge, Salvadori leading Hill and Salmon by a whisker.
     
    "The splendid spectacle of Galaxie drivers working really hard ceased on the ninth lap when Sears trickled into the pits with a flat tyre, leaving this year's likely World Champion in a commanding position. So Clark emerged winner from Hill and Salvadori..."
     
    Graham Hill then drove the Willment Galaxie offered here in the saloon car race supporting that year's Formula 1 Oulton Park Gold Cup, in September.  Dan Gurney was strapped into Alan Brown's rival Galaxie, and he qualified that car on pole position ahead of Hill, while Jack Sears and F1 driver Trevor Taylor were giving the new Lotus-Cortina saloon model its frontline racing debut, next up on the front row of the starting grid.  The 'Autosport' report read: "Dan Gurney made a thunderous start with rear wheels spinning madly, but Graham Hill in his gigantic bolide took it easier and was out-accelerated by Sears and Taylor, and Adams's Jaguar.  However, on Knickerbocker Straight (sic – in reality 'Knickerbrook' Straight...) Hill boomed past the trio in the Willment device to take second place.
     
    "Gurney was completely master of the race, using the immense acceleration of his drum-braked monster to the limit, with a conspicuous absence of wheel-winding and tearaway cornering – in fact the perfect example of a polished performance. Less familiar with the Galaxie, Graham Hill was not exactly hanging around, but gradually fell back to be pursued by the incredible Lotus-Cortinas of Sears and Taylor... Gurney gradually overwhelmed the rest of the field, and when he crossed the line at the end he was 31secs in front of Hill, and the only others on the same lap were Sears, Taylor and Salmon."
     
    For the deciding British Saloon Car Championship round at Snetterton, during the 'Autosport' Three-Hour race meeting, Jack Sears was back in this Willment Galaxie – and he qualified on pole position for the race, knocking no fewer than five seconds off his own lap record.  His lap time of 1minute 45 seconds was actually faster than the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagatos and the 1150cc sports-racing cars in the main 3-Hour sports and GT race.
     
    Willment's South African driver Bob Olthoff also drove the Galaxie, and he lapped 0.8sec slower, still way below the existing lap record. Team manager Uren then decided to put Jack Sears in the Lotus-Cortina for the race, entrusting the Galaxie to Olthoff.
     
    Michael Kettlewell reported: "Although Olthoff got his Galaxie ahead for the first couple of laps, Jack Brabham (in the rival Alan Brown-entered Galaxie), using all the track as only he can, caught and passed him and stayed comfortably ahead for the remainder of the 20 laps...the race continued its course, the Galaxies walking away with it, as is their custom these days; they lapped the slowest car, an 850 Mini, every two-and-a-half laps. With second place seemingly in his pocket, Olthoff's monster died at Sear Corner with transmission failure, so the South African's exciting and hair-raising ride terminated...."
     
    On November 2, 1963, the Willment team fielded their Ford Galaxie in the Kyalami 9-Hour endurance race at Johannesburg, South Africa.  The great car was to be co-driven in this unlikely event by Jack Sears and the rugged Australian Paul Hawkins.  They lapped in an impressive 1 minute 50 seconds while the race overall was being dominated by the eventual winning pair of David Piper and Tony Maggs, in the former's BP-green Ferrari 250GTO....
     
    The Galaxie led overall on the Index of Performance – by far exceeding their predicted lap speed.   At one point Paul Hawkins was called into the pits to be rebuked by the Clerk of the Course for baulking, but resumed in third place – typically unabashed and rumbling around happily under the South African sun.  One pit stop for the Galaxie occupied 14 minutes as the Willment crew refuelled it, fitted four fresh Firestone tyres and replaced its front brake pads. But: "Just as dusk was falling the Galaxie, with Sears driving, started belching smoke as it came through Jukskei Sweep and finally stopped at Clubhouse Bend with a blown cylinder gasket, a fine performance had come to an end....".
     
    In the saloon car race supporting the year's non-Championship Formula 1 Rand Grand Prix at Kyalami, South Africa, Bob Olthoff drove the Galaxie and led only for it to shed its fan belt, retiring after 13 laps with the 7-litre engine overheated.
    The great car was repaired in time for the 1963 South African Grand Prix meeting at East London on December 28, when a 15-lap touring car race saw three Lotus-Cortinas pursue it around the road circuit overlooking the Indian Ocean. Paul Hawkins finally finished second in the Galaxie just behind team-mate Bob Olthoff in the Willment Lotus-Cortina, "just like you can buy" before Ford South Africa's smaller-car clientele.... 
     
    On January 4, 1964 at Cape Town's tight Killarney circuit, Hawkins was again beaten into second place in a Heat behind Basil van Rooyen's Cortina then finished third in the Final behind van Rooyen and Koos Swanepoel's sister Cortina. The great Galaxie returned to England where Jack Sears would campaign it again to defend his British Saloon Car Championship title.
     
    Jack Brabham won the opening 1964 Championship round at Snetterton in Alan Brown's rival Galaxie after Jack Sears had sustained a damaged wheel in a minor collision.  But on Easter Monday at Goodwood Jack won handsomely in this car and his fastest lap was a new course record of 1 minute 35.2 seconds, 90.76mph. 
     
    Two weeks later at Oulton Park, the Willment Galaxie ran out of brakes but at Aintree the following weekend Jack Sears triumphed yet again after thundering into a thirty-yard lead off the startline, leaving Sir Gawaine Baillie's sister 7-litre in second place.  
     
    The Willment team was most unusual for such a prominent works-level organisation in entering cars for the occasional National club meeting – partly in response to good prize money being on offer...  On April 25, 1964, Jack Sears drove the Galaxie in the Maidstone & Mid-Kent AC's annual Silverstone National race meeting, winning a preliminary Heat effortlessly from a twin-cam Lotus-Ford engined Ford Anglia driven by Norman Abbott – who beat Bob Olthoff's Lotus-Cortina. In the Final Sears and the Galaxie won outright, again from Abbott's Lotus-Anglia which this time beat the Lotus-Cortinas of Jackie Stewart and Bob Olthoff into third and fourth places.
     
    Back at International level, May Silverstone '64 saw Sears and the Galaxie dominating from start to finish. But on this occasion he had to contend with Dan Gurney – no less – in the rival Alan Brown-entered 7-litre car yet triumphed regardless.
     
    The 1.39-mile Crystal Palace circuit followed, where Jack again drove brilliantly to lead until a tyre burst, enabling Jim Clark and Peter Arundell in their Team Lotus Lotus-Cortinas to place first and second overall.
     
    Another National-level entry was also made in the Jaguar Drivers' Club June 13, 1964, meeting, again at tight and sinuous Crystal Palace – hardly the Galaxie's preferred habitat. 
     
    One race report read: "The most entertaining race of all was the first – a 15-lapper for saloons... Jack Sears took an immediate lead, using the enormous acceleration of Willment's 7-litre Ford Galaxie to the full, with team-mate Bob Olthoff (Lotus-Cortina) and Mike Young (Superspeed 1650 Anglia) in hot pursuit...Young, not impressed by Olthoff's energetic cornering, passed the South African on the fourth lap, immediately to draw away and gobble up the distance between his maroon Anglia and 'Gentleman Jack's Galaxie!
     
    "Mike Young tried everything he knew to pass the Galaxie...really causing Jack Sears much embarrassment. Somehow the American monster held on until the end, to the tune of 0.2sec..."
     
    The next round of the year's British Saloon Car Championship for the mighty 7-litre car was run at Brands Hatch on August Monday where Jack Sears and the Willment Galaxie yet again led from flag to flag.
     
    At Oulton Park 'Gentleman Jack's chance of defending his British title spluttered away with ignition failure in the big Galaxie, despite the red-striped white car having again thundered off into the middle distance, pursued – as always that season – by the twin works Lotus-Cortinas headed by Jim Clark.  Sears finally retired the Galaxie on the grass near Knickerbrook Corner with ignition failure, and Jim Clark won the race – and the year's British Championship title after a victorious season in the 2-litre class with his Lotus-Cortina.
     
    Meanwhile, Jack Sears and the Willment team had also contested selected rounds of the European Touring Car Championship – as at Zolder, Belgium, on May 10 that year, when Jack in the Galaxie won his race  from a Jaguar 3.8 and Eugen Bohringer's factory Mercedes-Benz.
     
    The great car was then returned to South Africa for the 1964-65 Springbok racing season, in company with the Willment team's Cobra.  Their tour commenced with another Kyalami 9-Hour race – no less – in October, but the Galaxie – co-driven on this occasion by the Australians Paul Hawkins and Frank Gardner - ran its engine bearings in unofficial practice, necessitating a rebuild. It then overheated in the long race and after an exploratory thermostat gasket change the Willment crew set about head gasket replacement. Despite having lost all chance of a meaningful placing the Galaxie's return to the track at 7pm was greeted by thunderous applause from the enthusiastic South African crowd, but further pit stops followed and the great white monster was unplaced as the Piper/Maggs Ferrari 250GTO scored its third consecutive Kyalami 9-Hour race win.
     
    On November 29 the car ran in the Rhodesian Grand Prix meeting at Bulawayo, Paul Hawkins winning the supporting race in the by this time red-painted/white-striped Galaxie, and in the Rand Grand Prix meeting back at Kyalami on December 12 'Hawkeye' won yet again, this time holding off a Lotus-Cortina driven by new star, Jackie Stewart...
     
    Bob Olthoff led the saloon car race supporting the 1965 South African GP at East London before falling back, brakeless, and he would buy the Galaxie from Willment subsequent to this tour. His ambition was to win every touring car race in his native country and as a Willment South Africa entry through 1965 he scored outright wins with the Galaxie in consecutive meetings at Kyalami, a second at the Roy Hesketh circuit, three outright wins in one meeting at Marlborough (Salisbury, Rhodesia), then further outright wins at Kyalami and Hesketh, class victories at Kyalami, Hesketh and Killarney, culminating in yet another outright success again at Kyalami. He became South African Touring Car Champion in the great car, which in that period was on its own absolutely guaranteed to draw huge crowds wherever it raced. 
     
    In January 1966, Olthoff and the Galaxie won outright at East London before he bought a McLaren-Elva Group 7 sports car from visiting British privateer David Prophet, after which the Galaxie passed into honourable retirement. The great car was retained by Bob Olthoff "for old time's sake" until 1988, when he finally agreed to sell it back into British ownership – the buyer being none other than Jack Sears "for identical reasons"...
     
    The extensive documentation file accompany the car today details 'Gentleman Jack's purchase of his favourite old warhorse, and includes the original invoice from "Bob Olthoff Racing (Pty) Ltd trading as Bob Olthoff Aircraft Sales – Solitude Airfield, Eikenhof" which is dated May 26, 1988. The price paid was £25,000 including a quantity of spares and components which had been removed from the car over the long years.
     
    A large quantity of further invoices detail Jack Sears's subsequent restoration of the car to running order. In July 1990 the engine was rebuilt with a 427 top-oiler cylinder block, bore and honed to +.040-inch oversize. The camshaft bearings were renewed and cylinder deck resurfaced. The crankshaft was ground 10/10 undersize and fitted with brand-new bearings. A matched set of con-rods were aligned and crack tested with new big-end bolts fitted. Pistons were found to have been "lightly used", +.040 fitted with new rings.  A new Iskenderian 505 Magnum camshaft was ground specially, copied from a 1963 original, and new Iskenderian cam followers and moly-chrome pushrods were fitted.  A new heavy-duty drive high-capacity oil pump – with extended pick-up – increased-capacity oil sump as per original – double roller-chain camshaft drive with new cam and crank sprockets were adopted, while the 427 cylinder heads were reconditioned with bronze guides, reprofiled valve seats, new valves, retainers and double springs.  The original H&M inlet manifold was fitted with a new four-barrel Holley carburettor while the crankshaft damper and flywheel from the original were balanced as a unit and installed together with a fresh clutch disc and reconditioned clutch cover.
     
    This work was carried out by The Engine Shop of Maids Moreton, Buckingham, while through 2012-13 further work upon the car was conducted by Steven James Engineering of Sprowston, Norwich, Norfolk.  Mike Brown was Jack Sears's original engineering manager within the Willment team in period, and in the mid-1990s his Rally Service Ltd automobile engineering company of Hayes, Middlesex has also carried out work upon the Galaxie, as specified in documents also presented within the file. Mr Brown recalls how: "Since the car was raced by Jack, Bob Olthoff had carried out some modifications. The front brakes were enlarged and the rear inner arches cut out to accommodate larger rear wheels. When Jack had us renovate the old girl we had aluminium tubs rolled up
    for the inner arches and added a small-bore exhaust so Jack could drive her on the road...".
     
    Most significantly, there is also considerable original correspondence between Jack Sears and the British Department of Transport DVLA licensing authority seeking restitution of the Galaxie's original period UK Registration of 'BML 9A'.  On June 12 1989 a Department officer wrote to Mr J.G.S. Sears at his Uphall Grange home in Norfolk confirming, in part, that: "Because of the very special place your Ford Galaxie has in British motor history it has been decided, very exceptionally, for the vehicle to be registered under the number BML 9A...".
     
    As justification for that rare accolade – we could not have put it better.  We commend 'Gentleman Jack's 1963 Willment Ford Galaxie to the connoisseurial collectors' market  - in part as a truly historic Historic racing saloon but, most significantly, as a truly iconic and valuable landmark car hopefully to be respected, preserved and cherished for future generations to enjoy...
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