THE C6 SMASHED ITS CASING ON THE MOTORWAY ON THE NEXT TEST, SPEWING TRANSMISSION FLUID AND METAL FRAGMENTS ACROSS ALL LANES
With the workshop being on the other side of town, Andrew enlisted the help of his brother, Chris, to make sure that they made the most of the limited hours they had each night to work on the car. Meanwhile, the completed engine was run up on the Marsh Motorsport engine dyno, where it pushed out an impressive 538hp and 560lb·ft — not a bad set of numbers at all, let alone for someone who had not long celebrated his 21st birthday! Getting the engine into the car was pretty straightforward, thanks to the old 390 having the same engine mounts; it was just a matter of a few small wiring changes and bolting up the C6 trans. The first short test drive didn’t quite go as planned, though: while Andrew was stoked with the power, he was left drastically underwhelmed when it came to pushing the brake pedal. “After figuring lack of vacuum would be the culprit, on account of the big cam, the car got a vacuum reservoir but it wasn’t enough. Going fast was important, but the two-tonne car needed to stop, too, so I then found a 12V vacuum pump unit and ran the engine in,” he states of the predicament. Thinking the problems were a thing of the past, Andrew got a rude reality shock when the C6 smashed its casing on the motorway on the next test, spewing transmission fluid and metal fragments across all lanes. As if that wasn’t enough to ruin Andrew’s day, just to top it all off, the damage resulted in an underbody fire. Disheartened that he’d now need to spend months saving before he could make the most of the freshly fitted engine, Andrew pushed the car aside while he worked out what to do next. Again, Segedins ended up providing the solution by supplying a new street/strip trans from TCI along with billet driveshaft yokes. While the fire necessitated some underbody fixes, such as coating the headers, Andrew also took the chance to have Lee at Diffs R Us drop in some new rear springs and adjustable Spohn Performance rear arms. Third time lucky! However, this time the brakes were even worse than Andrew recalled, so it was back to the shed once more.
“After reading up on Hydroboost hydraulic brake boosters, I bought one from Summit Racing to fit an S10 pickup. A bit of modification was involved, but I married it to a Wilwood master cylinder and it now stops like a V8 supercar,” Andrew enthuses — and yes, that’s with the stock rear drums still in place. Despite taking part in plenty of cruising and street events such as Beach Hop, Andrew found that the 20-inch wheels the car had always run just weren’t doing it for him any more. The car needed a tougher persona to match the big power it was now packing. Yet another swipe of the credit card at Segedins saw the solution: 15x6-inch and 15x8-inch Weld Racing Draglites wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber. Now, 10 years after his love affair with the big Galaxie began, Andrew’s claiming that it’s close to finished. He is well aware of the strain his affair’s put on those around him. His mum’s long been tasked with storing the car, due to its sheer size and the lack of suitably large garages, while his girlfriend, Courtney, and mates have all had to put up with all his finances and time being spent under the hood instead of with them. Through the searches for various parts for the car, Andrew’s made a number of online acquaintances, many of who have donated parts to the build simply for the cost of freight; for that, and the support he’s had locally, he’s ever grateful. He’s also grateful that the car is now running flawlessly. To date, it’s only run a few quarter-mile passes, so he admits that there’s still room for improvement — although how long the 28-spline axles will put up with trying to get the two-tonne machine off the line quickly is yet to be seen.
OCCUPATION: Digger operator / Foreman
PREVIOUSLY OWNED CARS: Hilux Surf mudder, Mk2 Escort dirt track car
DREAM CAR: Anything with an SOHC 427
WHY THE GALAXIE? Great shape and something different
BUILD TIME: 10 years LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: 10 years
ANDREW THANKS: Shane and the boys at Segedins Auto Spares, Dominion Road; John and the team at Magnum Automotive; Marsh Motorsport; Lee at Diffs R Us; Robbie McKenna from XR Automotive; Patrick and Hugh Heeney; my mum and dad; my brother, Chris; and, of course, my girlfriend, Courtney