Rally Legend Stig Blomqvist Will Fulfil A Childhood Dream By Driving This 7-Liter Ford Galaxie At Silverstone Classic
If you are a rallying legend, who won a world championship in the storied Group B era, it says something about your motorsport passion if you retain dreams from your childhood, that you jump at the unlikely chance of fulfilling. So it is with 1984 world rally champion Stig Blomqvist. Despite wrestling Audi Quattros and other mighty machines around tough terrain internationally for decades, he still reminisces of August 9 in 1964 when he was 18 years old, and he rode his moped to watch the sixth round of the European Touring Car Championship at his local Karlskoga circuit in Sweden.
There, he became fascinated with a huge 7-liter Ford Galaxie raced by Alan Mann. Seemingly Mann had only entered it to ensure there were enough cars on the grid so his team’s two main entries—factory-supported Ford Cortinas for John Whitmore and Henry Taylor—could score maximum points.
Yet the Galaxie captured the young Blomqvist’s imagination. Even with its size, on the twisty circuit it finished on the podium behind the Cortina pair. It not only inspired Blomqvist’s motorsport ambitions, it also sparked a lifelong love for Fords, which culminated in him signing as Ford factory driver in 1986, just two years after winning his world rally title with Audi.
And close to 45 years on Blomqvist will at last get behind the wheel of the very Galaxie that had such a formative impact on him. This will happen at Silverstone Classic, taking place later this month on July 26 to 28.
The opportunity came about by amazing chance too. Today, the Galaxie is owned by gentleman racer and Ford V8 specialist Bill Shepherd. Blomqvist invited Shepherd to go ice driving with him earlier this year, and there the Swede mentioned the Galaxie, unaware that he was talking to the very man who owned it! Blomqvist now will race it in the Classic event’s Transatlantic Trophy for Pre ’66 Touring Cars on the Saturday afternoon, sharing with Shepherd.
“It’s a very good story isn’t it?” Blomqvist said. “Seeing that big car all those years ago really made a huge impression on me when I was young—it looked four times bigger than all the other Cortinas and two-stroke Saabs on the grid back then! I could never have dreamt that one day I’d be actually racing the very same car that first excited me at Karlskoga. It’s going to be an incredible personal moment for me and a lot of fun at Silverstone—I can’t wait.”
Just like at Karlskoga back in 1964, the Silverstone Classic race will feature a David vs Goliath grid with agile Lotus Cortinas, Minis and Alfas taking on the American muscle. This time though the Galaxie will not be alone, as it will be joined by Mustangs and Falcons on a sensational full-capacity 58-car grid.
“If we do stick to the black stuff, we should be pretty competitive,” Shepherd predicts. “The Silverstone Grand Prix circuit is pretty fast which always suits the Galaxie. Wouldn’t it be great if we could crown off what will already be an historic moment with a fantastic win. We’ll certainly be aiming for the fairy tale finish!”
Images courtesy of Silverstone Classic