Saturday, November 29, 2008

B8/58 Where is it now? - No.8

Remember this photograph? It formed the basis for the Bolwell Club's very first annual calendar for 1977. It was shot on a Friday night at St. Kilda beach, north of Adelaide, at about 7.00pm when the light was right and the tide was out. We had our broom to remove the tyre tracks and all that. The car in the foreground is of course Bernie Van Elsen's which we now know is B8/86. This was early days, prior to the huge transformation that took place with that car, and you can even see the current registration label on the windscreen. A photographic model was engaged for the shoot and we tricked her out with one of those yellow club t-shirts that were popular 30-odd years ago, even going to the trouble of using lots of masking tape at the back to make it a better fit, presumably to show the logo to its best advantage. The other car in the picture is B8/58, owned at the time by Christopher Kembessos. A couple of extra shots were taken with Chris and his current girlfriend. At the following club meeting, this was the shot chosen unanimously for the calendar. At about that time there was a Fiat promotion featuring a young man, a young woman and a very sporty Fiat and that promotion was called "the Italian Love Affair". Well, we were soon calling this shot "the Australian Love Affair".

Anyway, I set out with this post to talk about B8/58. This car was built in 1972 and was gunmetal grey/silver with beige trim. Engine number was A1E0437. It was a factory built car purchased from Governor Young Auto Port at Flinders Park. The original owner was Don McKinnon, a surgeon, of Fulham who had it for a couple of years before moving on to a new Maserati Merak. The second owner was Colin Bellchambers who acquired it on 24.11.1974. Colin fell ill and died in 1980 and recently his family had been asking about the whereabouts of the car that Colin loved so much and we really weren't able to tell them much. Chris Kembessos became the third owner in about 1976. He had it for a while and passed it on to Bill Klappis who was a radio jock in Whyalla at the time. Bill is now a well known wine producer in the Southern Vales. Mike Davidson, who in those days lived in Keith in the SE, bought the car on 19.9.78. Mike, among other things, is well known for his expertise with side-valve Ford V8s, even writing a book on the subject. He produced '32 Ford roadster hi-boys culminating in a very slippery looking fuel injected side-valved V8 powered salt lake record breaker sporting a lightweight body produced by Norm Clements. Mike is currently doing his bit for the planet developing wind generators. Throughout these years B8/58 was kept as an immaculate example by all of these owners.

Mike used the car for a few years before advertising it for sale and it went interstate, I believe to Bob Mackey who I think lived in the hills out of Cairns. That might ring a bell with a few readers of this blog because Bob was the owner of another ex-SA car, B8/91 that Jim White brought back to Whyalla in glad wrap. Anyway, we southerners haven't heard any news of B8/58 for decades. Perhaps someone out there can enlighten us.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Mark 7 You'll Remember.

This is the old Ken Stratton Mark 7. Believe it or not Ken was not the first owner of this car. He bought it as an unfinished project in the early 70s. It was, in fact, acquired from Mordialloc in 1970 by Ian Hawke who must have been one of a select band of about 10 or a dozen Mark 7 builders in Adelaide at the time. Anyway, Ken finished the build and had it registered and on the road in 1973, sporting the unusual (for Bolwells) six cylinder Ford Zephyr engine and 4-speed Zephyr gearbox. This gave good service for a few years until Ken got serious about his racing and ProdSports was coming into popularity in SA, requiring Holden power for Mark 7s. The Zephyr motor was swapped for a Holden one with Bobbie Gay who put it into his Mark 7. These 2 cars while fitted with the Zephyr engine would have to have been the best sounding Mark 7s I have ever heard. This photo shows Ken in hot pursuit of Murray Willmott, coming on to the bowl at AIR in about 1975 or 76. Some years later he moved on to the Ragno, which he still has and a Mark 4, which he no longer has. The Mark 7 was sold to Steve Medlen who took it one step further on by relieving it of its customary undercoat grey livery, painting it yellow. Steve was in the Air Force, based at Edinborough and he and his mate Stretch became active Bolwell people.
As an aside, in this photo of the Medlen Mark 7 you can make out the BRG Eureka behind the red Austin Healey. This was the Dixon car, with its big air scoops and Len, you are not the first Eureka owner to hang out with the Bolwell group.
Anyway, Steve was transferred to Butterworth in Malaysia and we haven't seen much of him since. When he got out of the Air Force, he settled in the Albury/Wodonga area and I believe he still has the car, bringing it out at one of the recent Easters in that area.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mille Miglia

Old Alfas go back a long way, don't they Tony. Had to put this one in. I've never seen a steering box like this one.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Pantera!

Another shot from Saturday at the Macclesfield start, just because I like it. This time can you spot a Nagari and a Mark 7? Hint- they're both red.

Dino replica body.

Here are some more shots of the Dino body which is still for sale at $3800.

Anything you want to know can be available by ringing me on 0413 226 009 or email

Monday, November 24, 2008


This car is for sale at Rainsfords. Thought I might buy it for the tail-lights.

Classic Adelaide 2008

Macclesfield, SS24, went pretty well, despite the long delay due to a Sunbeam Tiger upending itself in somebody's paddock on a previous stage. A Ferrari hit a tree following that. Our stage didn't go without incident either, the Sportsmed Porsche looking a bit worse for wear after spinning out and landing in a ditch. Another Porsche broke a driveshaft and the previously mentioned Perana stopped on the stage and didn't continue. The day ended later with an E-type rolling. And Sunday was no better. The fastest car on our stage was the Wearing Perana Capri, the car that actually won the Classic 1948-71 section overall. 3rd in that class was Peter and Sari Ullrich in the Jensen CV8, congratulations to you both. But what happened, Ian and Tim? Both rubbed out at post event scrutineering. Yet another Lawson Alfa. This one the 1938 Mille Miglia, Andrew driving. Nice Z in the background Jane. Pick the Mk.7.

Purvis at take off.

Andre and Chris about to do their stuff.

Adrian looking pensive in theFalcon Sprint.

And here's a photo of the Ullrich Jensen just because I like it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Macclesfield stage

It was a very busy day for club members as we successfully went about the business of running our part of the Classic Adelaide yesterday. Peter and Sari put on quite a show for us with their smoky and noisy launch in the CV8. Gee that Jensen must have some power! Tony Opie showed no bias when he didn't allow BCCA-SA member, Bernie Wilson, to start in the middle of the road in his Capri Perana. It wouldn't have mattered as we found the car expired afterwards about a Km. up the road. It looks like he was able to start again today. The other Perana (the SA one) was doing very well up near the front of the field. I must say I was pleased to see Tim Possingham up there with the big boys and girls running in 4th place in the Silvia. Local MSCA runners Andre Lukasz and Chris Ferguson were also doing very nicely in the 240Z. Here's Tony holding back the Calinan Pantera which is dieing to scramble over the Falcon GT.

....and here's the Pantera about to launch into rubber burning notoriety as it disappears from view, enough to even turn Jane's head. She had only had eyes for the many Z-cars and I happened to hear Colin Lucas calling out "there's no substitute for cubic inches!" I'm watching the results today as they come to hand and the big black car is working its way to the front - 6th last time I looked.

There were quite a number of those noisy rotaries and most of them were from Canberra which tells me that Reliance Rotary, who I used to know in the distant past, are still alive and well over there.

Here's the other Pantera, crewed by DeTomaso and DeTomaso.

Beven took this shot of the SA Eureka, going strong.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Elfin ME5 part 2

I don't know what happened but this picture fell off the bottom of the previous post. Here it is again.

Elfin ME5

Poor old Trevor is still getting grief from CAMS with his eligibility for the ME5. The scoop's too high, the wing's too high and requires some adjustment, the mirrors are not the same as when somebody or other remembers them and the wheels, well they want him to fit these really old unsafe wheels which would be great on this high powered, high speed missile. One way or another, it will be sorted out. At the moment, a new set of wheels are being sought, costing tens of thousands of dollars I think.

It is a magnificent car though. Look at these shots taken in 2005 at Nurburgring where it was raced by previous owner Harm Lagaaij.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Mark 7 V8s

We have been talking briefly about Colin's new Mk.7 (see "comments" section in previous 3 posts). Here's a few photos. It's actually up here in Kapunda at the moment to have some repairs to the beefy looking Mercedes diff in it. Anyway, this is the fixed side window Colin mentioned. I'm sure, in time, he'll fit original windows.
This is what the exhaust looks like, there's no room for anything. It sort of reminds me of the exhaust on original GT40s.

It gets pretty hot in there. Look at the holes in the bonnet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something different part 3

Here's a bit of history. This is Colin in about 1973 after he had bought the car from Sandra and Ian Duncan. They had acquired it from Mid City Motor Auctions, the prevoius owner being Denise Marcos. The Duncans were AHOC people but I recall them having a little racing S800 or was it an S600? These are the chrome wheels he was talking about. These next two photos are of the car at Dawson Street, Fullarton.
Our stables were just over the fence, behind the Valiant.
Colin sold the car to Peter Mac who clocked up lots of miles in it, including circuit sprints at AIR. He sold it to Bobbie Taylor who was responsible for the custom job ( rear spoiler, Hillman vertical tail-lights, Nagari nose etc.)

No. it doesn't have the same number as Roger's other V8 Mark 7. The decimal point is in a different place.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Something different part 2

This one's for you Jim. (and for Chris, who now owns it). The window looks very smart, don't you think? The interior was pretty new back then. Peter T asked me today, what they did with the tops of the old style dashboards. Enlarge the photo and take a look. The bonnet prop is an improvement on the average broom handle too.

Something different

This is Denise Marcos sitting in her car in her backyard in Prospect and the date is 14/7/73. A very different tail treatment, apparently like that from the outset. It would be a shame to return it to normal. The car was powered by a 289 cu. in. Windsor in those days.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nagari engine numbers

John Davies (B8/26) has a computer that won't let him put queries on the 'comments' section for security reasons so we're doing it another way:-

Hello John,
I noticed in your blog on Wednesday about B8/110, you speak of factory built Nagaris with engine numbers beginning with the prefix A1E. My Nagari B8/26 has the engine stamped on the plate as V720143P.

Do you know if this means B8/26 was not factory built?

John Davies

I am very sure that your car was factory built. I think it must have had a replacement engine fitted somewhere along the line. You might recall that I mentioned on the blog that I had trouble with that car getting it inspected when I brought it from Melbourne in 1977 because of the funny place that they stamped the number. To help the inspecting policeman I engraved the number on quite a few different places on the block hoping he would find one, which he did. I can't remember the number now but am sure that it originally had the A1E prefix. Your present engine number is one issued by the police to engines that either don't have a number stamped or are unreadable. This is indicated by the letter "P" at the end. It may have been either a secondhand motor or a reconditioned one and the number stays with the engine for the whole of its life. Each state had this provision, Queensland ones having a "Q" prefix, SA ones having an "S" prefix and so on. Your engine number was issued by the Victorian police in 1972 as indicated by the "72" and was the 143rd one issued by them for that year. I don't know if they still have that system operating. There's a bit of trivia for you.

John L.

Thanks John.
Another bit of trivia - When I re-registered the car in 1993 there were not any numbers on the block that we could find. So I stamped the block with the number on the ID plate.
I do know that Leon Ellery did not change the engine, so how did the car get sold from a Parrammatta Road dealer without an engine number?

The ID plate seems to be original with the V number etc.
I wonder if Bolwells issued a new plate without an engine number?

John Davies

It makes more sense that my memory these days is not working properly. I heard on Radio National today that a glass of red wine (or 2) helps stave off early dementia and I'm just about to go inside and begin my treatment. It must have had that police issued number all along. Then again, someone else said their car had nothing stamped in the provision for an engine number on the ID plate.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Duttons Rally

Here's a few shots from various Duttons Rallies. Above is Andrew G in B8/12. The lowered floor is very evident.
Same car, same driver, different Dutton Rally above.

Merryn J in B8/15.

Which leads me to "whose car is this?" Excuse my ignorance.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This late model red coupe was initially sold in Sydney. The engine number was A1E1206. The A1E prefix, as many people know, was on every factory built Nagari and doesn't tell you if it was a 302 or a 351. I have a strong feeling that this one was a 351. It certainly went pretty hard. Fords issued the numbers and the prefix indicated that the engine was not destined for a Ford vehicle on their production line but was supplied to an outside customer. It could have been a 4 cylinder with the same prefix. Anyway, the first owner was Wayne Wale of Carlton, NSW, where it lived for about 6 years. I recall it turning up for a registration inspection, here in South Australia, in January 1979, still with its personal NSW number WW-175 and about 6 weeks later, it went on sale at Performance Cars on North East Road, Windsor Gardens. The first person to purchase it was someone in Renmark who found it too claustrophobic and too hard to get into and returned it to Performance Cars. They then sold it to Neil Von Brint who operated a couple of businesses a few doors up North East Road, called I.T.S. Sports Cars and Scorpion Racing, for $8,500. This was back in 1979. Neil had it for a while before selling it to Bob Trickey, who you may recall operated a parts and accessories business on the other Gilbert Street/King William Street corner (now a vacant block of land) to the Brecknock Hotel where we currently hold our meetings. It was on Bob's watch that the upholstery was changed to deep buttoned leather (since replaced) but the Webasto sunroof was on it when it came over from NSW. There were some very competitive Nagari owners in those days but none more so than Gus Safranko and Bob Trickey. Back then we used to have access to Mallala on weekends, before it was recommissioned. Gus and Bob were always trying to beat each others' times and spending lots of money to do so. If one of them was beaten one week, they'd be back next time with a bigger carby or better extractors or whatever it took.

Mark Hentschke was the next owner. Mark's brother, Kym, had B8/93 about that time. That car is now in Sydney, in the hands of Geoff and Sue Lewis as far as I know.

Mark sold the car to Keith Rilstone, who, even though he was retired, still couldn't get motor racing out of his system. He used a Mazda RX7 for drag racing and the Bolwell for circuit work. Eventually he rolled the Bolwell at Collingrove hillclimb, writing off the body. One of John Gourlay's racing bodies was purchased as a replacement and Kevin Cociani was engaged to effect the repairs. After cutting off the guard flares, a rethink occurred and it was eventually decided to repair the old body. This was done, the car returned to resplendent and it went back to being Bolwell-in-residence at the Birdwood museum until Keith's death. You might recall in Australian Classic Car, I think it was, a competition where the winners got to drive their dream car. One winner's dream was to drive a Nagari and this was arranged at Birdwood and this photo below was taken on that occasion.

After Keith's death, the car was sold by his wife to Udo Selter, who by this time was living in Darwin. Another restoration took place and, in the process, as you can see, it became a brighter red and lost the black bottom half. It no longer has the sunroof although I suspect that happened after the rollover.
Udo took it out to run at Hidden Valley whenever he could and, I keep getting told, has posted some pretty awesome times. Eventually the desire to build another GT40 replica took hold and he put the Bolwell on the market. It was bought by a syndicate of 3, Michael, Steve and Steve, all club members, and the car was brought back to Adelaide. They use it on a rotation basis. They've had it for 2 or 3 years now and it seems they enjoy it very much. Not long after they acquired it, Hans Neubert flew out from Germany to write a story on Bolwells for a prominent German classic car magazine. He used B8/110 as the basis of most of his photographs, apart from the ones of Campbell. Hans also produced a 12 photograph calendar using his Nagari photographs and I really treasure my copy of it along with my copy of the magazine with the comprehensive article.

This last photo's for you, Wayne, as it shows the gear lever surround you're looking for.

Monday, November 10, 2008

World's quickest Rolls Royce.

These photos were doing the rounds this morning. I'm not all that amazed. I've always thought the Silver Shadow was pretty quick anyhow.

"No, it's not a chop. It's a 1970 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow built by Joe's Street Rod Shop. Poking out of the hood behind the Spirit of Ecstacy is a blown 572-ci Chrysler Hemi that is bottle fed to a more-than-adequate 1,350 horsepower. The car has all of the luxury touches you would expect from a Roller, including full leather, Vintage Air A/C, four TVs and a jar of Grey Poupon. Underneath it's a full tilt boogie runner with a Chris Austin chassis, Air Ride, Wilwood brakes, full tubs and Billet Specialties Riviera wheels. It even has a leather-swathed trunk with matching coverings for the batteries, fuel cell and bottle. Notice the leather wrapped roll cage inside as well, a very elegant touch, and one that sums this sophisicated beast up perfectly."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just another Sunday morning

Today was our stage practice day for the Classic Adelaide so it was up early for a trip to Adelaide to get that organised. We were due to run our stage at 10.00 am but there were hardly any of our people there. Even by 10.30 things hadn't improved much so we got on with it. It was good really, as some people were able to learn new tasks as they replaced others that hadn't turned up and we even found out how to get the Tag Heuer equipment working again when it spits the dummy. Steve Kostoff came in the red Nagari below. I am wondering now, whether Bolwell builders always walk around with tape measures in their pockets for such occasions. After that it was off to new member, Len Bs to inspect his Eureka for historic registration. There hasn't been a Purvis Eureka in the club for ages. Now there is and I look forward to Len and his sky blue coupe joining us on runs in the future.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


It's a bit off the usual subject but I really love these cactus flowers. They just come all of a sudden out of the blue. They weren't there yesterday and chances are they won't be there tomorrow, although I see a few buds to replace them. The smell in the yard is magnificent. It even overpowers the high-octane fumes coming from the Tractor Pull at the trotting track down the street today. You ought to hear it! There's more horsepower there than any old drag meet. I'll wander down and have a look shortly. It depends on how Craig Lowndes is going in Bahrain.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Which one would you choose? Or is that a silly question?