Sunday, August 31, 2008

Where is it now? - No.3

The other night I was on the phone talking to Col Watson and among other things the conversation got around to a bloke in Sydney who had taken the radical step of fitting Nagari doors to his Mark 7. I say radical mainly because it must have been a daunting task. I asked Colin where it was and he said he hadn't seen it in years. As we were talking a bell rang on my computer which it does every time an email comes in. I looked and it was from Peter G with a photograph of the very car we were talking about and the suggestion that it would be a good idea to include this one in our "Where is it now?" series. A greater coincidence has never occurred. So here it is. Where is it now?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Baby Boomers Fitness Centre

Jim S sent me this. Obviously it's his style of fitness centre.

A black Mark 7 with wires.

Peter G just keeps on finding them. This time from a site called Performance Forums. Apart from the wire wheels it also features GTO nose vents and a windscreen with curved edges.

From the forum we are able to deduce that it belongs to a guy called Glen who lives in Brisbane and has owned it since 2000. Other features explained are that it has a fibreglass body, a steel backbone chassis, a Holden179 with a Yella Terra head and triple side draft Dellortos, a Celica 5-speed box, UC Torana front end, HQ discs, Jaguar walnut dash and instruments and cream leather interior.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Laro update

I've had a few enquiries about how the Laro is coming on lately. I can say that the body is maturing slowly but surely. Meanwhile the chassis is being prepared for painting which includes remaking the doors with intrusion bars raised to suit the new higher window line. There are little things happening like putting the handbrake lever in properly and fitting the adjustable steering column etc. Once the chassis is painted it will be mechanically re-assembled and then it can be test driven at Mallala without a body.

Seeking an old Mark 5

Almost seven years ago a former Mark 5 owner/builder emailed the club seeking information about his old car. The emails were circulated in SA and Victoria about this very distinctive Bolwell but there were no positive reactions. This week we had a short conversation about it and decided that with this blog now up and running and the odd Mark 5 coming out of the woodwork it might be worth another try. His name is Bernie Evans. Does anyone remember him? Here is most of what he said in his emails of November 2001 and July 2002:-

I am trying to track down a Mark 5 Bolwell that I owned in Melbourne in the late 60s, early 70s. I didn't build it but did do a lot of work on it. I sprayed it GTR Torana Orange with a black tail and black interior. (At some stage it must have been Holden Monaro yellow as well because that colour was also mentioned later - Ed.) The rear bubble window was tinted green and the door windows were sliding ones off a 1963 Morris Mini. The dash guages were Smiths and it had a custom made 3 spoke steering wheel with rack and pinion steering.
It was fitted with a very hot 186 Holden motor with triple 2" SUs with a custom made extractor exhaust along the side of the car exiting at the rear wheel. The motor was dynoed at 200bhp and the car weighed 15 hundredweight.
The gearbox was from a 1957 Dodge Cranbrook with 3 gears and 3 overdrive gears giving 6 speeds altogether with a free wheel clutch. The front end was FB Holden and the rear EH Holden with coil springs, a panhard rod and four shock absorbers. It had drums all round and a set of mag wheels.
I think the rego number was JSZ-580 as it was first registered in 1967. I sold it in about 1972 and it was owned after that by a chap called Kevin Ross who lived in Hawthorn. I checked out most of the Mark 5s that made it on to the road and naturally thought mine was the best. The gearing gave it 29 mph per 1000 revs and I had up to 5,200 in top one day which was about 150mph.
I have always wondered what became of it so if anyone knows I'd like to hear.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More on "Then & Now - No.1"

Just when I'm planning on moving on to another subject, in comes a couple more photos of Peter Mac's Mk.7, this time from Colin McAskill who you might have noticed has added some more history on the car in the comments section on "Then and Now - No.1" from a couple of days ago. These pictures are even older than the one I posted of it from the Grant Deckert days in its undercoat grey livery. This must be how Colin bought it from Geoff. The most significant thing in this photo would have to be the headlight covers.
This is the car after Colin painted it. Note the flat bonnet.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dinky revisited

Back on May 12th I did a little post on Dinky as I remember it in the seventies and eighties. The other day an email arrived from Peter Chandler who lives in Melbourne. It seems his father built the car in the sixties over a period of about 5 years and he's sent some photographs of it. It is definately the same car (same rego. no. and everything). He apologised for the quality of the photos as they are photos of photos. The pictures were taken after the Chandlers had sold the car and when it was owned by John White (early 70s).

John had raced the car at some time. Speaking of John, I'd like to say that I am going to do a post on the SR6 very soon, now that it has changed hands again. Anyway, back to Dinky. I had no knowledge of any ownership prior to Peter Jones so it just goes to show you can learn something every day. Peter Chandler and his dad are keen to learn of its subsequent history and after speaking to Judith today I can report that the car still exists although she hasn't seen it for a while now because when she moved to a smaller house Dinky ended up being stored with a family member.

Chris Westren hits the road.

This is the magnificent GT40 replica of Chris Westren, now in its final stages. It has taken 11 years to get to this stage and I'm sure Chris is ready to reap the rewards. It just left the painters last week and it looks fantastic. It is powered by a 5 litre fuel injected Ford and uses a Porsche gearbox. The car is air-conditioned. The interior is trimmed by Chris' dad, Ron. He must be proud of that. Tomorrow it is off to Regency Park for its inspection and I know Chris is very nervous. It's all very well for me to say "Don't be Chris" but I am confident you'll be heaving a sigh of relief after it is over and you can get on with enjoying it.

Leyburn Historic Sprints

I watched and enjoyed the story on the Leyburn Sprints on the 7.30 Report last night and immediately thought "John Davies usually goes in that, I wonder if he did this year". A quick look on Flickr this morning and sure enough there he is, number 113. It's a great action shot and full credit to Simon who took it. John, the car is looking beautiful. I would love to see the old girl again. I'm planning on coming up for Woodford at Christmas time. Will you be around?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Then and Now No.2 - My how they change.

It's hard to believe that the deep red car in the foreground is the same in the following photo. Taken at a Southern Vales winery many years ago this 260 cu. in. V8 coupe is the same car that Roger has done such a great job on. Note the position of the outside mirror, the opening quarter window and the flat, round scoop.
It's a 302 now but there are a few other changes as well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Then and Now No.1

Here are a couple of photographs of the same Mark 7 about thirty years apart. It is the old Grant Deckert car that is now owned by Peter Mac. Grant wasn't the original owner/builder. It was an early kit built by a guy called Geoff Wood who, in 1966 or 1967 was at Adelaide Uni and built up the car to get around in, quickly notching up hundreds of thousands of miles. It was painted a dark blue in those days. I recall it having the deepest gel-cracks I have ever seen. When it became for sale, Colin McAskill bought it and the next owner was Grant who drove it for years and years as a work in progress. I have mentioned in another post that Barry Downie-Leslie was the next custodian and finally, via John McLean, Peter Mac bought it and began the mammoth restoration which is well documented in the South Australian pages of the BCCA website.
Here it is at our local brewery at Greenock, looking very smart. The International truck, by the way, is an old truck body dropped onto a Holden one-tonner chassis and mechanicals.

For Mike Hodgson

Mike, Here are a couple of photos of your old Nagari in its Guards Red livery taken at the Fibrecar factory about 1985 when it was in the hands of Peter Carpenter.
A bit of trivia from Jim Shanahan :- Royce made the cross-member under the engine a bolt-in item.

Dino Replica Body

Here is an opportunity for an aspiring car builder. Below is a picture of an extremely well built Dino Ferrari Replica full fibreglass body. It will fit on a Type 3 VW chassis. The body was manufactured for training under the supervision of Norm C (which verifies my statement "extremely well built"). My feeling is that this training facility might be somewhat underfunded, so they want to sell the body to get on to the next project or to provide for the next group of students, so it is being made available for $3,800 which I think is a very reasonable price. Expressions of interest can be made through this blog or by email at or telephone 0413 226009 and I can point you in the right direction.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Where is it now - No.2

These photos were taken in the early days of Bolwell Easters, at Shepparton in fact, in the seventies. Shepparton was the second ever Easter event. Not too many Bolwells turned up, (none from Victoria) but a couple came from Sydney including this one. It was owned then by Mike Exton.
The last I heard of it was when it was advertised for sale in 1979 in Racing Car News. It was still blue but by then it was sporting a Nagari nose. I wonder where it is today.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lost and Found

In South Australia, the legendary President's Trials ground to a halt about 10 years ago because the legendary President's Trophy became lost. Since then the search for the trophy has been on in earnest. I am pleased to say that it has been discovered. A member has found it in his trophy cabinet. As it is customary in this blog to not use the last name of those who wish to remain anonymous we can call him Norm C. He wasn't able to see it behind all of his other trophies. All three of them. They have been won at various Easters and include a giant dummy for spitting the dummy, a large rubber dildo for doing what I don't know and a cast aluminium dildo for doing something else that I'm not sure of either. I don't know how he came by it because he's not listed as having ever won it. Must have been one of his former wives. Anyway, the important thing is that we have it back. Now I'd better think about another diabolical trial.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mk.5 tail-lights - 2

Here's a better picture, courtesy of Henry via Pete G and Brian Simpson who built it. This car is now bright yellow and lives in South Australia. It featured on the club calendar 2 or 3 years ago. We still have some copies.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

4 Nagaris

Here is a random picture that happens to show four Nagaris. I dragged it out because of the relevance to some discussions that have been taking place recently. It was taken at one of the early Mt. Gambier Easters. We had 18 Bolwells at this particular event which was pretty good for those early days. In the foreground is the yellow example of Garry Warren's, which to this day, remains in very original condition (even retaining the original yellow colour). In the first year of its life it was an auto but in its subsequent 37 years has had the customary 4-speed. Next to it is car number 35 (2 numbers before Garry's). It, too, started life in the same shade of yellow, as did Henry's no.36. That's at least 3 in a row. I reckon they must have had a 44 gallon drum of yellow paint. All 3 cars were kits. I even heard that Henry took delivery of his chassis and worked on it while the body was being made and then took the rolling chassis back to the factory for the body to be fitted. No.37 was the first Nagari assembled at Daryl Siggs' Governor Young Auto Port. Anyway, back to number 35 which by then (still in the seventies) had become dark metallic green with 2 white stripes up the centre. It was powered by a 186 Holden 6 and had auto trans and was owned by Colin Sullivan. This was one of about 3 or 4 Holden 6-cylinder powered Nagaris and it has been mentioned before that all of them have been turned into Ford V8s in the end, as was this one in 1983 after it had been acquired by Peter Bartolo.

The orange Nagari disappearing out the gate was, believe it or not, powered by a 4-cylinder Ford Pinto or Cortina engine. It seemed quite adequate and was able to propel the car along at 100mph. What more could you want really. Tim Backhouse owned it at the time. I have no idea where he bought it or where it went after Tim disposed of it. I have heard though that it did end up with the customary Ford 302 in it. Not knowing its chassis number I can only guess. All I have been able to come up with is Sean Brennan's orange coupe, no.14. The only car to fit the bill, being an early one, orange and relatively basic. Sean has had the car for donkeys-years now. It sits in a museum in country NSW as Sean currently resides overseas. Perhaps if Tim or Sean or the original builder or someone else reads this they might be able to throw some more light on the subject.

Finally, the green car, which was a Porsche colour, number 84. This car belonged to Michael Hodgson. After many long years Michael came out of the blue and contacted the forum. I said I thought I could produce a photo of the car but so far this is all I have been able to come up with. In 1980 it was sold to Peter Carpenter and subsequently painted red.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mark 5 tail-lights

This is for the benefit of Bolly5 who posted on the forum asking about Mk.5 tail-lights. This is the only picture of an original Mk.5 tail I could find. To see it full size just click on the photo itself. Just for good measure, here's another Mk.5, the photos were taken in a country town in NSW. It's too long ago for me to remember which one. I was going to include this car in my "unusual Mk.5s" series I was doing a few months back because of its knock-on wire wheels but then I noticed the factory demo Mk.5 that featured in the brochure had the same wheels and hubs. I wonder if it is the same car. Roger Boylan's mate had a red wire-wheeled Mk.5 at the same time as Roger had the red Mk.4 that Alan Foster now has. I remember the two cars were stored together in Roger and Carol's back yard. Maybe that's the same car too.

Getting back to the tail-lights, I was always going to change mine to Datsun 240K because they were easily obtainable back then. We had a member who was a spray painter at Nissan at the time. I resisted the temptation. Rob Wilson (yes, Gary Allen, the same Rob Wilson) fitted Fairlane tail-lights to his Mk.5 and there was another one getting around with Mk.1 Cortina tail-lights.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A New South Wales Idiosyncrasy

Back in the sixties, each state had their hard-core group of Mk.7 builders. When someone came up with something useful that their mates thought was OK, everybody else adopted that idea as well. A case in point was the bonnet power bulge on the green car below. This car was (and still is I think) Graeme Ferguson's. Someone in NSW came up with that bulge and I would go so far as saying that it is a good way of knowing that a Mk.7 comes from NSW originally if it has that bulge. Take a look at Ron Westren's bronze example. Now in South Australia but originally built in New South Wales. It has the bulge. On the left is Norm Clements' old Mk.7 which Peter Taylour's brother, Bill bought and I'm not sure where it went after that. Maybe there's another candidate for "where is it now?" On the right is Bruce Tonkin's "Yellow Dolly" - the original Yellow Dolly as that was the colour it was painted, Yellow Dolly being the name given to the Torana XU-1 shade. Doug Seath called his Mk.7 Yellow Dolly too but it was a very different shade of yellow.
The above photo gives a side view of the Ferguson car. This picture was taken in the yard behind the Pancake Parlour on Goodwood Road. Many years ago we had our meetings at the Pancake Parlour when it was owned and run by members, Peter and Heather Nelson. Behind the green car is the V8 Mk.7 that Peter Mac had at the time which is now having an extensive rebuild by Chris Gascoigne. Next to that is the Zephyr powered Mk.7 of Bobby Gay and Yellow Dolly is on the end.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where is it now? No.1

I thought I'd do a weekly "Where Is It Now?". There are so many Bolwells that I've lost track of. Maybe it's the same for other people. Send me some photos if that's the case. I'm going to start with one for the Banana Benders as this picture was taken at a drag meeting in Queensland thirty or forty years ago maybe.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A very nice Mark 7

I just wanted to show you a rebuilt Mark 7 that has emerged after a huge rebuild. It belongs to Brian Deckert. Brian comes from a bit of a Mk.7 family. His dad, Colin, spent years building a very different Mk.7 and I'll show you some photos of that later. Unfortunately he died before it was completed and I think a few of its bits have shown up on Brian's car, including the personalised numberplates. Brian's brother, Grant, drove a Mk.7 coupe for years as his everyday car and that is the one that Peter Mac has restored so well, with a little bit of help from his friends. Grant has a Nagari sports body and a Simon Aram designed Develco chassis awaiting construction. I remember years ago Brian having this tiny little Renault 750 that reputedly did wheelstands. He still has it, but it is his Mk.7 that I want to talk about, along with a little bit of its history too, I guess. This is a photo of the car on a recent run to Birdwood. That's club member Ray Winter's Mitsubishi powered Condor in the background by the way. The photograph was taken by Brian's good friend, Adam Lee. Adam is a professional photographer, producing books of photographs. He has photographed in detail the rebuilding of this car and the intention is to publish it. I'm sure it will be a popular book. Anyway, you might notice the sliding door windows, reminiscent of the Mark 5 and early Minis. There is a good reason for that. Brian has fitted side intrusion bars and burstproof door locks and so far hasn't found a way for the windows to wind down past all that. When compared to other Mark 7s, the windscreen rake is noticeably different which is another reason the side window frames had to be modified to line up. The nose sits a bit lower too as you can see in this line-up.
The picture below I threw in because I think it looks good.
The first time I saw this car was at the Mildura Easter in 1975. Remember Johnny Szabo and his Mk.7 that took only 6 weeks to build? Well he did a second Mk.7 for his then wife Pat. It was painted in two shades of green, and here it is at Mildura that year.
It's in the shadows I know, but it's the only photo I have. Anyway, you might like to click on it to enlarge it and see how many people you can recognise from 33 years ago. I didn't see the car again until 1981, I think it was, when we went down to Baskerville in Tasmania for the Production Sports Car race that year. A woman called Trish Ramsay was looking for me in the pits after seeing my name on the boot lid of a certain Nagari. Who the hell was Trish Ramsay? It turned out to be Pat Szabo, who had by then separated from John and moved back to Hobart and returned to her old name. And she still had the Bolwell. Not long after that she wanted to sell the car and she sent it over to me. It came on this funny little boat that used to ply between Hobart and Port Adelaide (up the West coast would you believe). I went down to the Port to watch it being craned precariously from the deck and I drove it home. Some time later it was bought by Susie Walters and soon after that it was painted red by some of the guys in the club (which possibly included Grant Deckert). That's Susie with the car in the photo below.
Susie is now married and is Sue Davis but she was Susie Walters when she was in the club. She drove it for a few years and then it was acquired by a surfer in Seaford who retired it soon after and it sat in the open, deteriorating for a number of years until it was acquired by Barry Downie-Leslie who put it away in his shed along with the other Mark 7 he had bought from Grant Deckert. Years later, when Barry reverted to a Nagari sports project, he blew the dust off the 2 Mark 7s and sold the pair of them. Peter Mac ended up with one and Brian Deckert the other and two fine rebuilds have occurred.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Nine Inch Diffs

Remember about a month ago I was talking about a car fitted with a disc brake, 9" diff with the axle housing unshortened and having to fit rear flares? Well, here's how it looked when it lived in Canberra before the flares went on.

Tom Drewer

Notice I've put in the links list. I enjoy checking on how he's going over in the US in his West WR1000 in the AmericanLeMans Lites. Now you can too. He's recently picked up sponsorship from a Melbourne business, Daily Planet. Tom is pictured here with Kasha, one of the Hankook IMSA Lites grid-girls after winning Round 5 at Lime Rock, Connecticut.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Family Tree

Here's an email from Tony B in Canberra :-


Bolly Blog is bringing out a wealth of information on racing drivers etc but not so much on individual cars.

How about setting up a family tree by Chassis number with the orig purchaser and tracing the vehicle's history to today. This may discover some great cars and perhaps a few that have been cremated or inturned.

I notice the front cover of Just Cars lists a monster V8 Mk7 racing car for sale - a start for that car at least.

The blog should be sufficient to get it rolling and may give the blog a bit of a lift - I noticed it slowed down a little after the change.




I'm not sure what the change was, but regarding the family tree, I do know that there are lots of people around the place that read the blog and are hungry for information and would be in agreement with your plan. It's not something I could do alone, mainly because of my limited information, but there are many Bolwell experts out there that could help. What do others think? Some discussion would be lovely. For those who have not made comments on this blog before, it's simple, just click on the word "comments" below and you're in. I am happy to co-ordinate it through this blog. It would be a big task though. Rome wasn't built in a day I'm told.

Regarding the "monster V8 Mk7 racing car", I agree, it has quite a history, right from its inception when it was built by Graeme Docker as a dedicated Group A sports racer all those years ago.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Production Certificate

This well travelled old piece of paper (click on it to read it full size) is Leo Kusters' proof of eligibility for the class he races in in Europe. It was completed and signed by Campbell R. Bolwell at the end of 1971, less than half way through the Nagari production. I remember some time back Leo saying if he could gain proof that there were 200 examples of the Nagari made he could advance to a more prestigiuos class of classic GT racing. I'm not really up with FIA historic classes. I also recall a telephone conversation with Campbell where he said that if we added the Fibrecar production on top we might go close. Then nothing was heard from Leo for a while and we all went back to sleep.

Bolwell racing drivers

This little email came from Gary Allen. That's Gary on the right.
Hi John. Love your blog. Some more drivers from my 1970 to 90 Auto Action collection - Ross Coleman, Barry Campbell, Barry Main, Ron McPherson, Doug Seath, Ross Richmond-Smith. Thanks to Pete G for shots of B8/57 in blue. I always wondered about the blue overspray on parts of the chassis. Regards to all. Gary Allen.
Well, Gary, now you're adding some drivers of Bolwells other than Nagaris. I hadn't managed to get around to them yet. In Mk.7s, how about Ken Stratton, Murray Willmott, Malcolm Haskett, John Szabo, Frank Rushton, Matt Pintar. The Mk.5 of Bruno Carosi. Mk.4s of Brian Whellan, Peter Mahoney,Ray Johnstone. Then there's Alan Newton, John White, Ken Messenger, Trevor Lambert in the SR6. What about all those West Aussies in the Round -The-Houses and John Davies in the Speed-On-Tweed. I bet we could find 20 more. Gary you might have started something here. I hope so.