Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Delta 2

I knew I'd seen the Delta somewhere. Just been flicking through some old photo albums and sure enough! This picture was taken over 20 years ago when it was just hitting the road. If I remember rightly, Terry was a school headmaster and lived at Blackwood.


Have you seen the Delta on Carpoint? The description and history is fascinating. Have a read.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tempo Matador

Here's a few shots of a very nice Tempo Matador including one of the tube chassis and IRS Peter M talked about.

They only made about 1500 of them before VW stopped the supply of engines to them in 1951 as they were competing with the Transporter. For some reason a large number of them came to Australia.

Blackjack Trike

Just happened to mention that the Tempo Matador had a front mounted VW motor driving the front wheels and Jim sends a link to the Blackjack 3-wheeler. This one below is in New Zealand. Jane took one look and said "some people will drive anything". Looks like a bit of fun anyhow.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More on the Eldred Norman Zephyr Special and on Eldred Norman

This is the car in 1955 and the photograph was taken at Port Wakefield. It was then called the Eclipse Zephyr. Eclipse came from the Adelaide Ford dealer, Eclipse Motors. Eldred had an engineering workshop and was a motor dealer from 1938. The previous name for the car was a bit of a mouthfull - the Norholfordor - because it was built from Holden, Ford and Tempo Matador parts. Before you ask, a Tempo Matador was a VW powered truck. This second photo is of Keith Rilstone competing at Caversham in WA in 1961.
Finally here is the car in its present form, a famous Australian special.
A little about Eldred De Bracton Norman. Rejected for military service in WW2 because of asthma, he began to make garden tools and to manufacture charcoal-burning gas producers to power vehicles. In 1946 he started buying ex-army vehicles left behind by the Americans, selling them in Adelaide. While in New Guinea gathering up these vehicles, he started building the 'Double Bunger' racing car, powered by 2 Ford V8 engines. Between 1948 and 1951 he drove the car successfully in hillclimbs and races in 3 states. While leading in the 1951 Australian Grand Prix, the car broke down. He then bought a 1936 Maserati type 6CM, for which he made a new engine. Stories abound of how he outpaced police as he tested cars on the road from his workshop to his Hope Valley home. In 1954 he drove a Triumph sports car to Queensland towing a trailer of racing fuel. Winning a support race on the morning of the Australian Grand Prix in the Triumph gained him an entry into the AGP itself, in which he came fourth. During construction of the SCC's hillclimb at Collingrove, he used a sub-machine-gun to blast holes for explosive charges. For the 1955 AGP he assembled a new car in 10 weeks. The Zephyr Special used propriatary parts and used the engine as a stressed chassis-member. In 1956 he abandoned racing to concentrate on inventing. Among his prototypes was a car towbar and a photographic device to capture burglars. He is most famous for designing and manufacturing a supercharger which dramatically improved the performance of Holden engines. Driving an old utility, he took potential customers on public roads and gave them terrifying demonstrations of its power. In 1969 he published his book 'Supercharge!' He died in 1971 in Noosa. His wife was Nancy Cato, the journalist, art critic, poet and novelist. Her most famous book was "All The Rivers Run" which was adapted to a television mini-series starring Sigrid Thornton. Much of this information was gleaned from an obituary written by the late John Blanden.

Zephyr Special

Found a couple of pictures of the famous Zephyr Special. It is the pale green number 8 lined up on the grid at Port Wakefield alongside Mildren's Cooper and is in the hands of former BCCA member, Keith Rilstone. The year was 1959. Here is Keith working on it in the pits. This was in the days when BP was C.O.R. and the oil was called Energol and the fuel arrived in drums on the back of a semi.
The Zephyr Special must have had the original backbone chassis. The engine formed part of the structure and the chassis was really a tube, which I guess the tailshaft ran inside, and everything was attached to that tube. They look like FJ Holden wheels and the tyres look a bit like retreads.

Time out.

On Christmas Day Jane and I will be in the camper van and on our way to Queensland to spend time at Woodford. That's the plan anyway. The camper broke a camshaft at a very bad time (due to a local garage neglecting to bolt it down properly when it was in for valve replacement) and the rush is on to get it ready to go. Woodford is a very big festival attracting something like 50,000 people but I'm told there's no electricity there. We'll be away for about a couple of weeks so I'll probably be off the air for that time. Does anybody else out there go to Woodford? Let me know if you do. Otherwise, I'll keep my Bolwell Sports Cars cap on and see who I might meet. In the new year, we'll probably have a couple of days poking around Brisbane before coming home.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rochdale GT

Just had an email (unrelated) from a fellow enthusiast, Gordon C, and he happened to mention that 2009 was the year he wanted to drag out his Rochdale GT after 13 years in the shed. I've Googled Rochdale to find out a bit more about them. It appears that Gordon's is the only Rochdale GT in the country although there are at least 2 Rochdale Olympics here including one used in Historic racing which turned up at Phillip Island last year. Look in the links for the Rochdale Owners Club. I'm about to put it up.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Over the months I've been messing about on the internet with Zetas and compiling a bit of a story as I went. Graham beat me to the punch with his Zeta article in the latest NSW Slipstream, so I'll add to it with a few little anecdotes. Eventually you will be able to read the article via the NSW website (see links). I think they run about a month behind on the website, to give the members and subscribers first go which is fair enough.

Almost a year ago I started to get involved in an attempt to begin a community based electric car building project and, knowing that the Zeta moulds were held by the National Motor Museum, asked the resident restorer and fellow Nagari owner, Immanuel, about the possibilities of whipping up a Zeta body for the project. "Don't waste your time" was his response. "By the time you got around to doing that, you could have gone out and bought a Handivan with a buggered motor for less than $200 and saved yourself all that time" which is very true. Not much has transpired since, but Mighty Boys are looking attractive. That is unless one of those dog kennels comes to light. For those who don't know, when production ceased on the Zeta, the left-over sedan bodies were sold off for dog kennels by a Wingfield salvage company.

A lot of the articles on the internet about Zetas talk about them being hopelessly unreliable. I remember the older sister of a good friend of mine in the 60s having a relatively new Zeta sedan. It was her everyday car. She and her sisters all lived and worked in Adelaide but the family home was in Kingston in the South East and the trips home on weekends were usually done in the Zeta, with a minimum of fuss.

The same goes for the blue Zeta in the picture below. The owners, Bob and Maureen, are members of the same local car club that I am in and the Zeta seems to turn up for, and complete, just about every run the club puts on. Quirky yes, but unreliable, well...... maybe not.

When they first came out they looked a bit crazy, with fins on the roof and nips and tucks here and there, but then Lightburn tidied up the appearance somewhat and below are a couple of shots of the series 2 version.

This little grey car is in the small car display at the National Motor Museum.

There is another Zeta in a museum. Michael Finnis has one of the Zeta utes in his collection at Goolwa. Prodsports racers will remember Michael as he ran a very quick E-type in those events and then continued in the ex-Latham Porsche. Always wanted to do it in a Nagari (race that is) but opportunity passed him by.

Lightburn expanded their horizons by introducing a sports car to their range. They did this by purchasing the rights to the Frisky Sprint when Frisky collapsed in 1959. They also poached the Frisky designer, Gordon Bedson, who arrived in Australia with 50 of the big, powerful Fichtel & Sachs motors. I say big and powerful because they were 493cc compared to the 324cc Villiers engines used in the sedans. Bedson's brief was to develop the Zeta Sports and when they came out they were a bit different to the Frisky Sprint, the most notable change being the absence of doors in the interests of rigity. Must be where Campbell got the idea from for the Ikara. Here's a picture of the Zeta Sports.
Remember me mentioning Albert Ludgate and the Capricornia sports cars he designed and built? Well, he also built a Zeta Sports with a VW motor in the back, one of the quickest cars up Collingrove in its day.
Now here's what I really wanted to tell you about Harold Lightburn. While all this car activity was going on, he also established an arrangement with SAAB to build a SAAB based sports car in Australia. Various SAAB forums, particularly a couple in USA and Sweden, talk about this mysterious car with reports that they are on the verge of discovering the whereabouts of what is supposed to be the rarest Saab of all. The truth is that two prototypes were to have been built, one LHD and one RHD. This was done but for some reason production never went ahead. Supposedly these 2 cars disappeared forever. Wrong! The LHD version is alive and well and pictured below.
This photograph was taken on one of our Gawler car club events. Yes, once again, the owners of this very rare vehicle are members of our local club - Terry and Dawn. The body, designed and built by Lightburn is of aluminium except for the tilt-forward bonnet which is fibreglass. The RHD version, I believe, also exists to this day but I also believe that it never proceeded past the running chassis stage.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another request

This time from Peter G.
"Do you have or recall a photo article in MAN magazine circa 1972-73 featuring my Nagari sports. As yet I haven't been able to obtain a clear copy. If you have or know someone who would be able to scan me a good copy I would be very grateful. If not maybe you could mention it on the blog, and hopefully get a reply."

Sounds like a job for Col Watson or Graham Nichols, avid article collectors.

Picking your brain

From Peter Marr.
Do you have any idea what car the small vent in the picture below is from? The large one is Nagari/Cortina. The small one looks like a Ford unit but what from? It's about 62mm OD. I reckon I could fit a couple in the centre console of the Nagari. If I could find out what it's from.

Andy's 7

John, Peter,
I think the two pics in the latest post are of two different cars. The flares are different. I fabricated the flares for Andrew as seen on car #10 and they are much the same still, see attached pic (lifted from BCCA site).

The chassis was made from rails tacked together by Royce in his jig and then braced and welded up by Andrew's mate. I remember being told at the time that the motor (probably the one pictured) was an ex F5000 engine but that could have been wrong info.
Jim S.


The black and white press photograph of Graeme Docker's "Beast" was from the 11/11/1976 edition of Auto Action. This is the caption that went with the picture. Graeme, at the time was an engineer at GMH, hence the use of Holden mechanicals. Last I heard of him he was an independent engineer offering type approval in Victoria and marketing a particular brand of Cobra kit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mk.7 Beast

Pete G writes:-
Hi John. I thought you may like some further photos of the Beast. Andy Noble used it in modified Docker form in MSCA comp, sorry I haven't located photos of the earlier Marion Motors livery. Some time about 1986 Andy and a few Rodder mates built the new chassis, note the 4 sidedraft Webers. I have no idea what happened to the previous chassis.

P.S. The Andy Noble Beast is the only Mk7 I have ever driven. I haven't been able to get behind the wheel of any other, it was around Winton and the only time I have ever driven on slicks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

That Chev V8 Mark 7

With the car on the market again (tell me if it's been sold) I just keep thinking about it. It's had a number of owners since it's been turned into a road car. Where ever it goes it turns heads. It attracts attention. Even in a group of other Bolwells, that car is the one that gets photographed, filmed, looked at and listened to. I love it and everything it stands for. I really love that get in and drive and never mind about the side windows feeling. I've had a few cars like that, not necessarily Bolwells, and it feels good. They feel good to drive, especially on their limits of adhesion. "Brute strength and ignorance" the gentlemen used to say to me. Who cares. Statements like these are out of fashion these days. I'd better make them now before they are banned completely. Tony Opie's Chev Mark 7 was like that too. What a pity it went the way it did. Anyway, below is how I remember the Victorian example. It's a lot different now. I used to go down to Docker's place with Russell Clifford to watch progress on it. And then it hit the track, and WOW! It looks like the Bond Nagari behind it. I bet lots of others remember this stuff too. Lets hear about it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

................and even more

Just a few minutes ago came this little anecdote:-

Hi John,
I thought you might be interested in this shot taken about 10 years back at Domain Chandon near Healesville. I took it mainly to show the difference in width between the mark 4c and a normal mark 4, although Paul Smith's rotary 4a is perhaps stretching "normal". They look pretty similar until you compare the air intake in the nose. The 4c is actually 8 inches narrower than a 4b.
Paul Ewins Today I started counting the number of people who have commented or responded to blog posts by email and came up with 58. That's at least 58 people who read this blog and doesn't that make it all worthwhile.

........and yet more

Here's Kym Burton's little red and yellow 4A. He pranged it at Piccadilly a while back. Now that he's been State Historic Touring Car Champion, he's most likely back to rebuilding the Mk.4. This is Peter Mahoney's grey Holden powered 4A. A formidable racer in its time (and his time).

And this is Barry Currie's 4A. A similar picture, but with Barry in it, was the basis of a club calendar a few years ago.

......and another

This morning Dino sent me this photo of Tim Backhouse's Mark 4 and it looks so good I had to include it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

....and other Mark 4s

Thinking about the yellow Mark 4 in the previous post, it seems roomier than your average 4. This can only be achieved by extending the length of the cockpit which, in reality, is a great idea because a bit more legroom is certainly helpful. This is easily achieved in a Mark 4 because basically the body consists of a front panel and a back panel, joined in the middle by 2 little drop-down doors. All you need to do is move the 2 big panels further apart, make some longer doors, which doesn't look hard as the doors appear to be just a curved panel, and weld up a longer space frame to mount it on. This photo was taken yonks ago in Russell Tippings' shed and you can see he's done just that. I lost contact with Russell for a long time and can't report on whether Russell finished his car before he died. I presume he did. Not long ago the forum was contacted by Russell's daughter. I hope she sees this photo.
This car is longer too. Richard W built it and he is a lanky over six footer so he made it comfortable for himself.

Dinky and other Mark 4s.

Here's Dinky arriving at it's new home for the time being where an immediate start is to be made to restore it to the way it was when Peter Jones last raced it. (As it was in the 3rd picture below). I think everyone will agree that this is a Mark 4 of particular significance and when completed it will be housed in a Bolwell museum but will be functional and driven from time to time, mostly to events important to us all. (And Peter's family).
The little yellow car is a monocoque car, runs like a dream and is ready to cruise today. Dinky is a space-frame car and needs restoring. The yellow car is B4/64. Dinky is B4/17.In the background you can see one of the nicest GT40 replicas you're ever likely to see.
Behind Dinky in this photo, taken at Calder at the release of the Ikara in 1979, is the same Mark 5 of George DiPalma's that appeared in the previous post. A colour change occurred between the 2 pictures.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Easter and Mark 5s

There are 2 Mark 5s coming to the next Easter in the Barossa. The last time I saw 2 Mark 5s in the same place at the same time was in about 1970 at the 6-hour at Winton when Chris Wall and Ross Smith both competed in the BCCA team. Both of those cars were almost unrecognisable as Mark 5s as they had been so radically altered, and neither of them exist today. Wouldn't it be great if we could convince George to bring his Mark 5 (above) and then there'd be 3.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Repco Hipower

In the latest Victorian Slipstream this picture appeared with the caption "Sighted in a FJ Holden at Sandown Historics; wouldn't it look great in a Bolwell!" Well, I had one in my old Mark 5 just like it, except that I had SUs on it. I didn't use it for all that long as a touch of the shorts at one stage meant that it was packed up and sent off to the Bendigo Swap Meet. Another of my regrets.

From Dick to Dave

By that I mean Dick Murphy to Dave Hamlin which spans a period of over 40 years. Below are pictures of different stages of the rebuild of this Mark 7. Dave has given me a parts list of acquisitions that he can recall on the spur of the moment which includes:-
Aluminium 4 core radiator
4 speed Aussie G/box with V8 gears
BMW front rotors and Volvo 4 spot callipers
New windscreen (this is the new style glue in type and Norm is presently making him the recessed window surround for it)
Spax shocks and springs
AC Cobra aluminium fuel tank
Austin 1800 steering rack (cut down)
All guages new or reconditioned
All new front ball joints etc.
Made up all new pickups for diff arms
Watts linkage rear end
Another differential
Another front suspension (HR)
Lots of hours on the chassis
Just starting on the body Looks like a new body section from the windscreen forward judging by the moulds leaning against the wall and some photos I saw a while back of some very tatty bodywork.

Some comprehensive plumbing. Is this the 300hp 186 from NZ?

There's a familiar face.

Lots of sanding and grinding - the inevitable.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


You may recall Dave Hamlin appearing on the BCCA forum. He lives in Perth and is working hard to ressurect the old Dick Murphy racing Mark 7 which, by all accounts, has had a bit of a hard life. Anyway, Dave is an ex-pat Kiwi. In 1992 Dave Robertson and he built the car in this photo and Dave (Hamlin) campaigned it in classic racing in New Zealand until 2004, taking out the 1999 sports car championship of the of the Southland sports cars. It ran a 300hp 186. He was planning on bringing the car with him to Australia but CAMS showed very little interest in it and couldn't find a category for it so he left it behind. He did, however, bring the motor which is being transplanted into the Mark 7.


Yesterday, Peter Jones got married to his partner, Jan. That was a surprise, well, to me anyway. Congratulations to you both.


Beven has just pointed out to me that there's a fine description of the Cheeseman/Jones B8/49 on Carpoint and here's the link -

Monday, December 8, 2008


I'd like to join everybody else in congratulating Jamie Whincup in securing the 2008 V8 Supercar Championship. It's so long ago that he may not even remember, but I had made him a special go-kart suit when he was a kid. It was a special request from Graeme Whincup, who, at the time, I thought must have been his dad, but his dad is David. Graeme must be an uncle. Shows how much I know. Thanks Getty Images and Fairfax for this photo. It's Jamie's burnouts, celebrating his win that I wanted to talk about. Call me a silly old git if you like, but I think these burnouts send out the wrong messages. I don't think our town is all that different than others but Friday nights around here is the time that the young lads get fired up on Perkins' sponsors' product and demonstrate their burnout "expertise" to their mates. Already, a young 17 year-old has been cleaned up by an out of control Commodore as he stood too close to the "action". It's a very dangerous passtime. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Jamie himself crashed the Falcon doing a calebratory burnout in Tassie? He has shown us how good he is on the racetrack. I think he ought to leave it at that.

Mercedes diffs

As you know, this very hot 351 Mk.7 is up here in Kapunda getting a job done on its diff. It's a fairly strange diff, being an early Mercedes, presumably from a Pullman model and seems to be independant on one side and live on the other. In addition to that, the diff has been locked for motorsport. Because of its inflexibility, it has broken an alloy central mounting and this was the cause of its clunk, clunk, clunk that originally caused the last person to drive it to think the gearbox was buggered. Cars with locked diffs, as well as being hard to drive normally, can also be unpredictable. It was that diff that spat previous owner, Steve Rowley, off the road at Williamstown causing the need for a replacement wishbone and some body repairs to the RHF corner after tangling with a tree. In the interests of a happier life while cruising in the country, the locked diff is coming out being replaced by the spare one which seems to be in pretty good condition. This new diff has a ratio of 2.9:1. One of its many WA former owners, Errol Du Boulay, says that with the 2.9 diff the car is good for 300 clicks. The car is scary enough at 200!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Family Forum

Hey everybody, I'd like you to meet my little grandson, Zander. He's 4 and I'm very proud of him.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Flat bonnets

After blurting out something about maybe being the first one with a flat Nagari bonnet (see comments on RFN-145) Peter G quickly came back with 'remember the prototype?' He's right of course but the photos were publicity shots and the car didn't have a carby. However, the flat bonnet obviously existed. The next question was 'did any of the 6-cylinder Nagaris have flat bonnets?' The only photo of a Holden 6 powered Nagari I have is this one (B8/35) that was owned at the time by Colin Sullivan. It has a very small bump right in the middle. Peter Bartolo later converted it to a 302 Ford. The other 2 six cylinder ones ended up with Ford V8s as well.
In the background is the orange 4-cylinder Nagari but that already had the bulge. That too was changed to a 302 V8.

Friday, December 5, 2008

more RFN-145

Here's a third photo of the car from the Malcolm Haskett days. It's too long ago to remember why B8/26 is up on the ramps. Jon Gutte emailed this picture. It's in his backyard at Lobethal. Is that Type 3 a likely donor car for the Dino body?
This is the inside front page of a book begun by Ian Knowles where he recorded every cent that he spent on the car even down to parking fines which way back then were only a dollar. The book passed on from owner to owner and that first page lists all of the owners as they acquired the car and added their names.