Classic car, Classic Owner
John Rooke, associate chief justice of Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench, is the proud owner of a classic yellow Ford Galaxie Convertible. If the weather is nice you may spot this classic parked outside of the law courts in Edmonton.
When John returned home at the end of his first year of law school a surprise awaited his attention. His father Dan, a farmer that became an auto parts salesman, had something special in the garage to show John. It’s a 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 XL 7.0-litre Convertible. The car was only aged one year when he began driving it.
This factory muscle car featured a brand new 345-horsepower 428-cubic-inch engine, a six-way drivers seat, power windows, bucket seats, folding black top, and lastly painted with a classic spring yellow. Canadian Motors located in Regina purchased the classic.
On March 1st in 1966, the Ford Galaxie came off of the assembly line in Oakville, Ontario. The production of the convertibles occurred in March so they would be complete in time to ship to dealers.
This 7.0-litre classic car is considered a rare muscle car combining comfort and high quality performance. Their cost was $500 above the Galaxie 500 not including the performance package. The engine, a model on its own, was offered in 1967 as a package option with the same performance features. Ford advertised the Galaxie as “Either the quickest quiet car or the quietest quick car.” There’s only approximately 220 7-litre convertibles in existence.
Dan Rooke became a regular participant in Regina’s Antique Auto Association. He enjoyed the time spent restoring several collector cars from a 1918 Hudson, a 1923 McLaughlin Buick, a 1930 Ford Model A roadster to classics such as the 1930 Marmon coupe, a 1919 Chevrolet Depot Hack featuring a wooden body and finally a 1957 Ford Thunderbird and a 1960 Cadillac.
John’s father, while working at the nearby auto parts store across from the Ford Dealership, discovered that the initial owner of the 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible needed to sell it. So Dan purchased it for his son, and said he could repay him after beginning his own law firm. John fell in love with the convertible. He drove it to his honeymoon destination, during his third year of law school and on their many vacations.
Time for restoration
The car began showing it’s age around 1980 with rust appearing around the body, the frame and a few other issues. John stored the car for the next 25 years till he chose to have a complete restoration done. Dale Adams Automotive cared for the rebuild of the engine and other mechanical work it required. Aristocrat Upholstery replaced the convertible top and refurbished the interior. The results were very pleasing and exceeded John’s expectations.
John remains a loyal driver of his 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible starting in spring till summer ends. He has plans to pass it down to his son because it provides so much family meaning. His son is excited for the gift of this classic from his father.