SLATHERED in lustrous gloss black, Justin Walker’s colossal two-door 1964 Galaxie 500XL is a real head-turner, sporting a perfectly proportioned chop and highlighted by big rims and a hefty blower poking through the bonnet. But it was a long, somewhat hellish ordeal for the Kiwi to get it to this point.
First published in the April 2021 issue of Street Machine.
In the late 2000s, Justin was chasing a cruise car, his main criterion being that it had to be bigger than his tubbed, ’caged, two-seater pro street ’64 Falcon Sprint.
“I wasn’t focused on a ’64 Gal, but I liked the look of this one in dark maroon paint, chopped and mini-tubbed; it had been featured in a bunch of American mags,” Justin says. “Speaking to the owner, it sounded great, so I bought it sight-unseen, and it was a big mistake. I really should have had someone look at it.”
Instead, Justin trusted that all was well and had the ’64 shipped to New Zealand. But from the moment it landed on Kiwi soil, it was clear the massive coupe was going to fight him the entire way. “As I backed the Galaxie off the delivery truck ramps, the car fell off to one side and bent under the rear quarter,” Justin says.
Dejected, Justin piloted the Gal home to assess the damage. It turned out the rear quarter mishap was the least of his worries. “There was fibreglass patched over rust in the floors, and filler in most panels; the more I looked, the more I found,” he says. “Someone had attempted to weld the engine mounts and rear half of the chassis with gasless wire – I hit the engine mount with a hammer and it fell off!”
Justin paused for a few months to gather his thoughts – he even attempted to sell the Gal – before deciding to bite the bullet on a rebuild.
He stripped the Galaxie and separated the body from the chassis for an access-all-areas pass. Mates helped along the way as Justin formed fresh front floors, rear quarters, sills and a rework of the poorly done chop. “My mate Clint reskinned the C-pillars and around the back windows, and re-chopped the A-pillars,” he says.
The quarter windows were deleted, along with the door handles, boot lock, fuel filler and most of the boot brightwork. Neat exhaust cut-outs now feature in the rear sill panels, while up front, the inner guards and firewall have been smoothed. Inside, the dash cluster has been extended.
As far as power goes, the car’s running gear of a 460ci, C6 and nine-inch was shelved for a future project, giving Justin free reign to amplify the Gal’s grunt: “I wanted bigger cubes, a manual and a stronger nine-inch.”
Sounds simple enough, but Justin’s bad luck just kept coming. When the 580ci big-block arrived from the States, it had far too much compression for a blown motor. While fixing that issue, Justin found salt water had damaged the bores during shipping. To rectify the problems, he had Hildred Motors in New Plymouth strip the engine and build it fresh from a new Eliminator Premier four-bolt-mains block.
And because a 1000hp blown big-block isn’t crazy enough, Justin opted for a stout manual cogbox behind – a Tremec six-speed, backed up by a fresh nine-inch full of goodies.
Along with the many must-do fixes, Justin actively added to his workload throughout the build. “Plans grew and grew and grew,” he laughs. “I wanted a big-block, though it wasn’t going to be blown in those early stages. And it was going to be pro street with 15-inch rims, before 20s came into trend. Then my 12-inch rotors looked goofy behind the large, open 20s, so I went up to 14-inch rotors. I wanted it to be big and bold, to look different to the standard tubbed or blown street car.”
One thing that never wavered was Justin’s requirement that the Galaxie be smothered in glossy black and finished with a punchy red interior. Black on a massive-panelled car like a ’64 Galaxie is one ballsy move. “My friends Andrew Nitz, Lloyd and Steve helped with the panelwork,” Justin says. “It was on a rotisserie and was a big job for them to get it straight.” I bet!
Justin’s mates then undertook a painting marathon to coat the enormous body in Cromax Centari 6000 Jet Black. The results speak for themselves, and capped off a long, arduous journey for Justin. “Ten years later, with who knows how many thousands of hours spent on it, the Galaxie has come to what it is now,” he smiles.
“Once it was done, I wanted to show it at Beach Hop, but kept missing out as the car had issues. When I did get there in 2018, I won Best Car Overall and Best 50s/60s Classic, along with Top Five and Mayor’s Choice.” It’s one of many successful trophy hauls for PH4T64.
“Now it’s been on the road for four years and we still take it to shows and go for drives – just have fun!” Justin says. “With 1000hp and 900ft-lb
of torque, plus being a manual, it’s interesting to drive on the street – everyone always hops out with a smile on their face.”
1964 FORD GALAXIE 500XL
Paint: Cromax Centari 6000 Jet Black
- Engine: 580ci Eliminator Premier big-block Ford
- Induction: TBS 8/71 supercharger, two Quick Fuel 1080 blower carbs, Blue Thunder manifold
- Heads: AFR Bullitt 315cc
- Cam: Comp, .728in lift
- Lifters: Solid-roller, T&D shaft rockers
- Pistons: Custom
- Conrods: Eagle
- Crank: Scat 4340
- Oiling: Kaase pump, modified Milodon sump
- Fuelling: MagnaFuel pump
- Cooling: Double-pass alloy radiator; 10in thermo fans
- Exhaust: Custom 2in headers, twin 3in, Flowmaster mufflers
- Ignition: MSD 6AL programmable, crank trigger
- Gearbox: Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed, Mantic twin-plate clutch, Quick Time bellhousing
- Diff: Narrowed Ford 9in, Strange centre, Truetrac, 4:11:1 gears, Moser 31-spline axles
- SUSPENSION & BRAKES
- Front: Ridetech adjustable coil-overs
- Rear: Ridetech adjustable coil-overs, Chris Alston’s Chassisworks rear clip, ladder bars
- Steering: Rack-and-pinion
- Brakes: Wilwood 14in discs and six-piston calipers (f), Wilwood 12in discs and four-piston calipers (r)
- Master cylinder: Wilwood tandem, Wilwood pedal box
- WHEELS & TYRES
- Rims: Intro Endless Series Classic; 18x8 (f), 20x16 (r)
- Rubber: Achilles 225/50 (f), M/T 29x18.5x20 (r)
My wife Brooke and son Luka; my mates Kris, Scotte, Adam, Clint, Lloyd, Nitz and Steve; Jono; Kevin Waters; Steve Hildred
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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