You can't see half of what makes Dennis Laing's Galaxie great
This article on Dennis's Galaxie was originally published in the September 1994 issue of Street Machine
ORIGINALLY, this wild purple coupe was all pedestrian American iron. But now, after six months of shock treatment from Dennis Laing, it’s one hell of a Pro-Streeter. Look underneath and the smoothed and filled, scalloped and cranked, Glasurit Custom Purple chassis glints back.
It runs fabricated tube upper front wishbones, sectioned and smoothed lower A arms, all on custom pink urethane bushes. Even the steering ball bushes were custom made in green. At the rear, Dennis opted for 20 inches of rubber, either side of the narrowed nine-inch axle. That meant tubs, dictating a savage chassis crank. Most folks would do this stuff in box-section steel. Not Dennis. He patiently cut, shaped and rewelded all the original chassis, so that the Ford Galaxie rails still look completely stock. He made the tubs and sheeted in the floor, also adding folded-in ribs to keep that authentic factory look. The original chassis to body mounts were relocated and to fit around the tubs, even the boot hinges were brought in.
The twin 2½-inch stainless Laing-bent exhaust is easy to spot, hung by polished alloy conrods. Or the ladder bars, track locator and Carrara coils over the three-way Koni shocks that tie down the nine-inch, fully equipped with big-bearing housing and 31-spline axles. Even the rims of the Cragar 15-inch rear wheels had to be custom-rolled, because the damned things are 15 inches wide!
The list goes on and on. For starters, there are no bumper bars. At least, you don’t initially reckon the pieces to be there; if you look carefully enough you can spot them. Cut and widened to take Australian number plates, sheeted in behind to make smooth double-panel assemblies, and slotted at the front to make unique, colour-coded flasher grilles. The original rear number plate bumper space was eliminated, now recessed into the right side of the rear boot panel, then both the reworked bumpers were faired neatly into the bodyshell.
It’s a hell of a way from the once 290-engined, three-on-the-tree, 1964 left-hooker Galaxie coupe Dennis picked up from a Gold Coast car importer.
It’s now an original-look right-hand driver, courtesy of a dash rework, minus switches but incorporating a repainted and striped stock speedo, matching the centre console accessory gauges. They’re Auto Meter pieces in custom-cast housings and angled towards the driver. The pedals are Laing-fabricated specials, the door handles unique parts hand-machined from alloy billets, the custom arm rests long enough to wrap around the down bars of the purple anodised aluminium-alloy roll cage.
From the pedals back to the boot lock, the false floor has been vacuum-pressed into a design featuring 50x10mm recessed diagonals. That Graeme Allen-crafted interior trim matches – in vibrant purple with pink and green clouds – the exterior paint graphics, even through to the cut-and-shut Pontiac front buckets. There’s an Earthquake 1100W stereo system from Queensland Audio, four-point harnesses for the seats and even the door-sill scuff plates are individuals in anodised purple aluminium.
To be different, the bonnet hinges along the left side and swings over. Opening this reveals a worked 460-inch Ford wearing a pink 6/71 GMC puffer. Fed by a pair of pink and green 850 vac sec Holley carbs. They had to make the alloy inlet manifold, create a custom squat distributor to fit underneath the blower, weld up a new sump and build that unique carb scoop. Dennis went for a shift-kitted C6 auto, driven by a 2800 stall converter. All the wiring, fuel pump and fuel lines are totally hidden.
There’s much, much more to this wild Custom Purple Galaxie, but we just haven’t the space to list it all – such as the hand-machined switch buttons, the billet work in the engine bay, those custom radiator surrounds and pressure cap, the spun caps over all the exposed nuts, the braiding covering every part of the wiring loom.
“There’s so many whistles and bells on it that the judges can only see so much,” says Dennis. “And because it’s American, there’s nothing else to compare it with.”
There’s six months of 84-hour-a-week labour in there, but Dennis already has his next project planned: a bullet-nosed ’51 Studie coupe. That’ll be amazing too.
Dennis received due recognition for his work at Summernats 8, when he not only raised the Grand Champion’s sword aloft, but bagged Top Pro Street, Top Engineered Pro Street, Top Interior and Top Undercarriage into the bargain.
The Ford man was chased all the way by Brian Willis and his superlative ’68 HK Monaro, but Dennis richly deserved the big ticket.
The Galaxie was rebuilt and repainted after it graced the cover of Street Machine’s September 1994 issue and copped plenty more work besides. The braking system was moved under the dash and, Dennis told us, “The chassis was chopped and we made a new coil-over front end.
“We also dismantled the engine and deburred everything, and now there’s a whole heap more billet work in the car.”
The interior received some attention as well. “We were losing mega-points on the old interior,” Dennis explained. “That’s what’s so sweet about getting Top Interior.”
1964 FORD GALAXIE
Colour Glasurit Custom Purple
MAKING IT MOVE
Engine 460ci Ford big-block
Induction Twin Holley 850
Blower GMC 6/71
Intake manifold Custom
Heads Stock, ported
Cam Custom grind
Ignition Custom dizzy, Accel leads
Exhaust Custom 2in, SuperTrapps
Trans Ford C6
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Brakes Galaxie disc (f), XF Falcon disc (r)
Rims Cragar 15x6 (f), 15x15 (r)
Tyres Yokohama 205/60 (f), Pro Trac 15x20/29½
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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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