The Galant

This is my 1975 GC Galant hardtop, photographed on Rosny Hill, overlooking the River Derwent in Tasmania's capital city of Hobart.

It's finally finished after a five year incremental rebuild that culminated in an excellent bare-metal respray at Kerryn and Bruce Payne's Talon Bodyworks at 110 Charles Street, Moonah (Ph: 6273 0959).

I have owned The Galant since October, 1981, when I bought it in Hobart for $3,800 - a reasonable amount considering the average salary back then was in the vicinity of $6,000 per year.

It was originally equipped with a 1.6 litre motor and a four speed manual transmission, as were all Galants available in Australia at that time.

However, I fairly quickly converted it to full Japanese hardtop spec, swapping the 1.6 for a twin-carb 2 litre 4G52 and fitting an original (not ex-Sigma Borg Warner) JDM five-speed 'box.

Mitsubishi badges are proudly displayed because, like all Galant hardtops, this car was manufactured in Japan by Mitsubishi and was imported into Australia (so Chrysler / Valiant didn't really have anything to do with hardtops beyond selling them).

Unfortunately, the hardtop grille had gone by the time I bought the car - probably victim of some minor bingle - and the likelihood of getting one now is diminishing rapidly (unless someone would like to help me out with one ... ?).

The car miraculously survived a couple of seasons of autocross and rally-sprints, not to mention some quite spirited adolescent driving, although it did suffer considerably for the experience.

Its suspension took a particular pounding and, as a consequence, it's had a long list of shock-absorbers, including a couple of lots of adjustable Konis, a set of gas Tokikos, and currently some Pedders' Touring Gas (since the motorsports ended).

The two-leaf rear springs (GCs came with two leaves whereas GDs had three as standard) also received a hammering but its third set - custom-made for the car with an extra leaf during a trip to the Northern Territory - have provided amazing service since they were fitted in 1991.

All the bushes are Nolathane and there's a Selby sway-bar helping keep the rear-end flat through corners.

The wheels are 13 x 7JJ Cheviot Formulas, although they may soon morph into 15" versions of the same design or maybe a set of Superlites or Watanabes.

Rubber is 205 / 60 series Hankooks all round.  

The first 2 litre engine was replaced after it was accidentally filled with an inappropriate lubricant that suddenly made it burn oil, even after it was switched back to its regular concoction.  

Its twin carbs have now gone, replaced by a single 40 mm down-draft Weber that feeds through a polished and ported manifold (the original Hitachis were rubbish, seemingly using twice the fuel for half the performance!).

The rest of the engine set-up has been in place for many, many trouble-free years and includes a cut-down Holden V8 radiator (fitted for the 1991 NT adventure), a four-into-two manifold running into a 2" pipe with a sports muffler, supplied and fitted by Kev at Moonah Exhaust (94 Gormanston Road - Ph: 6272 9283), and electronic ignition assembled from a kit by my younger brother, Gregor.

Those of you that are really observant and know their Galants will note the non-standard windscreen rubber - fitted because, despite a certain supplier's claims - NOS available in Australia does not fit. 

The rubber shown above is from an early Mitsubishi Pajero, cut and shut at Windscreens O'Brien, Hobart - a handy thing to know if you're having difficulty sourcing one yourself!

A reasonable job was done re-chroming the front and rear bumpers (at an electrolytic plating business in Invermay, on the outskirts of Tasmania's second city, Launceston) but I had to have the rear one redone shortly after it was completed, as rust began to show on the surface. 

Lighting in courtesy of a full array of Cibies, including the car's signature Super Oscars, all wired through relays and powered by a fairly chunky after-market alternator.

All the electrics - other than the alternator - and electrical accessories have been fitted and maintained by my father (a RAAF-trained communications technician) and me.

The interior features a Momo Corse steering wheel with a matched leather gear knob, VDO oil pressure and volts gauges, and a set of Recaros that were re-trimmed in leather by Steve at Classic Automotive and Marine Trimmers, 33 St Aubyn Square, Moonah (0417 535 035).

Steve also did the custom rear seat, featuring the original Galant chrome accents, and he supplied the loop-pile carpets, too.

The dash-pad was a real nightmare, requiring lots and lots of work to fit (please search 'dashboard doctor' in the top right corner of the UMPH homepage for details) but it did work out quite well in the end.

There's a stereo, featuring a USB connection and iPhone compatibility via Bluetooth, that's about the only non-period item fitted to the car. 

Please note the rectangular chromed accents in the seat-back that match those of the interior side- and interior front door-panels.

Indestructible rear suspension, courtesy of the NT Spring Works!

A nod to the importers:  a Chrysler Australia badge adorns the boot. 

There have been no mechanical issues - other than a couple of dodgy electronic fuel pumps, a seeping radiator and a leaky front brake seal that I fixed myself - so the car hasn't had a mechanic for over a decade.

However, all of the mechanical work that was done, in terms of set-up and maintenance, was performed by Brent Willing at his Special Vehicles Centre (since sold and now defunct, sadly). 

It's likely that the current sunroof will be replaced soon, as it had to be permanently Sikaflexed shut after the seals went but, if so, it will be with another 70s or 80s style pop and tilt version.

The car may also receive a set of mudflaps to protect its pristine duco, but that's dependent on finding something that fits and, just as important, doesn't make the car look like Grandma's Bluebird. 



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