Sunday, March 30, 2008

B8/111, B8/112 confusion

See my posts dated March 13. I managed to get B8/111 and B8/112 mixed up. Thank you to those who pointed this out to me. At this rate I may need to have a daily corrections post. Anyway, B8/112 is the sports owned by Arthur Neill who is one of only 3 original Nagari owners to still have their car. Michael De Crespigny is the original owner of B8/111 which may be of some interest to Wayne M who has just recently purchased the remains of this car which was involved in an horific accident a while back.

Monday, March 24, 2008

An interesting sports car

Take a look at this big Healey. Just another Austin-Healey 3000 Mk.III you might say. Take another look. It's 6 inches wider for a start, and it's fitted with a 4-litre Rolls Royce engine from the R series Princess Van Den Plas. No it's not a hot rod, it's the second of three prototype Austin-Healey 4000s. Maybe we shouldn't mention the "Austin" bit because these 3 cars didn't proceed from the Healey workshop to British Leyland as expected. Donald and Geoffrey Healey built these cars to replace and update the now aging 3000 (this was 1968). BMC had decided to drop the Vanden Plas 4-litre R from their range. This was going to cause some sort of embarassment because they weren't able to get out of their arrangement with Rolls-Royce to take over 5000 of their alloy inlet-over-exhaust 4-litre engines per year. Healeys thought that with this abundant supply of engines which were lighter and more powerful than the old truck engines they had been using they could make a new car that was faster and better handling than the old one. They did this by cutting BJ8s down the centre and welding a six-inch strip into the entire length of the car which made room for the new power plant. Three prototypes were built but BMC were not interested. This was the end of a long relationship. BMC had just merged with Jaguar and thought that the new car would interfere with sales of the E-type. For some reason they continued to put out sports cars with the old 6-cylinder truck engine in the form of the MGC. Leyland appeared to me to be masters of bad decisions over there as well as in Australia. Anyway, this very rare car belongs to one of our Bolwell Club members, Peter Rowland. It's not red any more. It is at the Healey Factory undergoing a complete restoration. I saw it there a month ago looking resplendent in a nice shade of white, with the rebuilt engine in place and the RR logos gleaming. I don't know how this car came to be in Australia. It's been here a long time though. I remember it being owned in the seventies by Steve and Helen Pike (of Marsh Restorations Fame).

Peter Rowland is the older brother of Rob and Ken Rowland. All three brothers, as well as their late father Laurie, have strong Bolwell links but they all have even stronger Austin-Healey ties. I have talked before about the old AHOC people and the early Nagari people being one of the same but it is very true. Robbie operates the Healey Factory. Gary Allen (who owns the very immaculate B8/57) works there as does Bolwell stalwart Ross McConnell. When Tony Opie and I were there last month, not only was the 4000 being rebuilt and a smart looking V8 powered A/Healey and a real Cobra, but the re-bodied B8/48 was being restored for the Bolwell Corporation collection and Maurice Alexander's B8/68 was being repaired after a rollover at Phillip Island.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ultimate motorkhana vehicle

I was going through a CD of photos last night that Henry had sent over (mainly of old Easters) and came across this one. I had to share it. It was from the 1994 Easter event at McLaren Vale and this was the motorkhana at Oaklands Park. I have a trophy somewhere for second place in the non-Bolwell section but then again I was only up against poorer handling cars like Minis and RX7s.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Unusual Mk.5s No.4

This one is Ian Knight's car at Mt Tarrangower hillclimb. Basically it has a Mk.7 back and a Mk.5 front. Some people would say aren't the Mark 7 fronts the same as Mark 5s but with a bonnet. The answer is "no". They are completely different. The Mk.5 has a slopier nose, the mouth is lower and the headlights are in a different position for a start. I wonder if this car is still around.

New Bolwell clock

The Bolwell Car Club webmaster is away for Easter at the national meeting at Mildura so won't be able to post this piece of merchandise for a few days so here's a sneak preview. They are available at $70.00 each plus postage. You can purchase from the website ( in the normal manner including through Beven Young's credit card facility. The clocks are beautifully presented and are about the size of a large pizza (maybe family size). For more information email me on or click on the word "comments" at the foot of this post.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I hope you enjoyed Peter Jones' story about the 2000 Targa trials & tribulations in the members stories part of the Bolwell Club website. Here are a couple of piccies of the car in question, all stickered up and in Tasmania.

Unusual Mk.5s No.3

Here's an interesting one that has come in since I posted the previous two unusual Mk.5s. Henry Stork took the photo at a Vic. Club Show & Tell. The owner's name is Pierre. I don't know his last name. It looks like he's done a really good job with his creation. It is a Mark Five front attached to a Ford Capri mid-section. I'm not sure about the tail. It has Holden power (of course).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Targa story by Peter Jones

Have a look at the members' stories part of the Bolwell Car Club site ( There's a new one from Peter Jones about his beloved B8/76 or should I say Peter Schmidt's beloved B8/76?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Unusual Mk.5s No.2

Remember Chris Wall? He was a member in the very early days and like most of the old Victorian members came from a rally (and Datsun 1600s in particular) background. With some clever fibreglass work, his Mark 5 looked somewhat different to a normal one. It looks like he took his inspiration from the Lamborghini Espadas of the time, especially with the two back windows. But, it doesn't end there, the windscreen is different, as is the roofline, the side windows (although they were still the Mini 850 sliding type), the rear spoiler and the tail-light treatment. George Di Palma must have thought the Mini door hinges on were a good idea because he has them on his. I once read in an article in one of the motoring magazines that you could tell a Mk.5 because they were the ones with the Mini exposed hinges. Well, there are 2 that I know of like that. What about the other 48? Then again, it was only last week that I read that Bolwell produced 800 Nagaris. Anyway, once again, these photos were taken at Winton during an early six hour race. I wonder where this car is now.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Unusual Mk.5s No. 1

Yes, it's a convertible Mark 5. It certainly solved the problem of replacing that big back window. At one stage I needed to replace mine after a vandal scratched something rude on it with a compass point and it turned out that Menzel's Plastics were able to do the job (with the blue tint as well). Anyway, I'm off the subject again. This car had a Ford V8 in it and the tilt front had a huge bulge to accommodate it. It is seen here competing in the six-hour in the Vic. BCCA team in the days when there was only one Bolwell Club, based in Melbourne. This is at Winton before the Six-hour moved to Calder. Not long after this event, the car was retired and the body/chassis was strung up in the roof of the owner's shed. I lusted after that car but by the time I had gotten around to tracking it down it had been taken to the tip never to be seen again.

Update on previous posts and comments

Here is Sally's car. It was described as "pinkish". It most definately wasn't the red that other Bolwells came out in. But, not as pink as Leanne Eddleston's Pantera. Even those beautiful Campagnolo wheels were pink. The great doctor also bought her a pink helicopter.
This is the ex-Beverley Bonython orange sports. She had a thing about orange. Her cars had to be a particular shade of orange too. After that car came out that colour appeared on the Bolwell paint chart, although I know of no others. It is now a dark metallic green and lives in Whyalla, sharing its bedroom with an NSX. Yes, the reversing lights are on because I am doing a reverse slalom at the Hamilton Easter.

James, somebody else picked up on Bolwell's superstition in not producing a chassis no. 13 and put that number on a Fibrecar sports that they built.

The photograph of the hardtop wasn't exactly groundbreaking. That was the only one I had ever seen. Later, when I bought the orange car, I wanted to get a hardtop and found there was nothing like that around (or so I thought). I tried unsuccessfully to modify a Sprite one. The results of that I last saw going out the gate at a fire sale at Shakespeare Fibreglass. Now I'm getting emails saying I've got a hardtop just like that one. I guess I'm just not in the loop.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another sports

Thanks everybody for pointing out my omission, there's B8/112 as well. That makes 19. Here's a photo of the detachable hardtop that Michael DeCrespigny had made for it. That dark blue was its original colour. It was a Jaguar colour at the time.

How many genuine Nagari sports were there really?

Official publications regularly list the Nagari production figures as being about 130 of which there were 13 of the open sports version. I started to compile a list of the chassis numbers of the Nagaris that left the factory as sports convertibles and here they are :- B8/47, 55, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 66, 67, 68, 69, 77, 78, 81, 82, 108, 111, and 119. That adds up to 18 in my book and it doesn't include the rebodied coupes and Fibrecar and other reproductions.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Custom Rodder

Remember Custom Rodder No.4? It came out in the mid-sixties and featured a road test of Ken Holt's Mark 7. It was the first introduction to Bolwell for many people including Pete Garvin. Now Dino, I know you like to collect all the old magazine articles and put them on the web-site but this one might be more special - It's your car. Or part of it I guess as Colin Moffit had Royce Marion rechassis it and decapitate it.

Melbourne Motor Show

Here's a picture of the new Nagari taken at the show. I nicked it from Rick Dathan. I've heard of the 8 orders from lots of different sources now. The first time on the first day of the show.

That car again!

Andrew emailed me some photos of his car that he had taken over the years. I especially liked the one above, taken from a balcony in Semaphore. What a great angle. I like pictures of cars from balconies. This one I took in about 1964 or 1965 from the Grosvenor Hotel balcony, Victor Harbour during that year's Vintage Sports Car Club annual run to Victor. The corner of the tonneau is like that because that's where the owner's brown kelpie used to sit. It's an Essex 4 by the way.

B8/12 part 2

I picked these images because some people didn't know that B8/12 spent some time being blue with silver nose and tail. They were taken in 1981. I know that because that was when I first purchased B9/001 which you can see lurking in the background in the 1st pic. This was taken at a picnic at Belair National Park in the hills above Adelaide. You can also see the lowered floor and that lean/mean man with his back to us is Max Ullrich and behind him is Garry Warren. The other two photos were across the road from my house in Parkside. The car was certainly a road car by this time although it retained its alloy foam filled fuel tank and roll bar. Not sure about the Boss 302, race suspension and accoutrements.
In early 1982, Max sold the car to Rankin McKay who lived in Mosman. Rankin's advertising agency work took him to Melbourne and the Bolwell went with him. He used it in Melbourne in 1982-83 eventually passing it on to John Wright. Andrew Giannopoulos acquired it in 1984. Peter Jones and I have a bit of a theory about these cars eventually making their way back to where they started out (I think it's called "State of Origin") and I know that B8/12 is going to move back to Sydney.
I have a few photos of Bolwells competing in Grand Prix Rallies and Andrew's car is in at least two of them and Merryn Jackson's at least one. I'll dig them out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


At the preview of the new Nagari I met Andrew Giannopoulos who has owned B8/12 for some time now. Above is a picture of his car which I believe is languishing in Melbourne wating to be moved to his new home in Sydney. Andrew also has a Maserati Merak and is a member of Maserati Owners as well as the NSW branch of our club. He's not the first one to have that combination. A surgeon in Adelaide by the name of Don McKinnon bought B8/58 new in 1972 and followed it up by buying a Merak. If Don is still alive today (and I certainly hope he is) he would be rather elderly as in those days we were young blokes in our twenties and messing about with Mark 7s and in my case Mark 5s, he would have been a successful man about town in his forties. Anyway, I digress (which is a habit - You'll have to excuse me), at the event last month in Melbourne, Andrew and I were talking about his Bolwell and I promised I would tell him a bit about my memories of it all those years ago. So, with his permission, I am sharing it with everyone.
The original owner of B8/12 in road registered form was Paul Hoult who lived in Sydney. I say "in road registered form" because the real original owner was Steve Webb and this was his racing car. I know everybody is going to jump up and down and say that B8/7 was Steve's racer, but he did have two. Anyway, Paul was a very tall man and had trouble getting his knees under the steering wheel. Bolwell solved this problem for him by lowering the floor on the driver's side. This modification is still there and is quite visible in photos which I will show you later. It was Paul's everyday car for some time, until he sold it to Max Ullrich who raced it from 1975 to 1978 before using it as his road car until 1982. Here is a picture of Max getting more than a bit out of shape at Amaroo.
Amaroo is now a housing estate I believe. My recollections of the place are the delays in the start times for your race while they went about retrieving the pranged ones from the previous race. I have a great photo of a start grid at Amaroo Park of a ProdSports race full of Nagaris and the odd Mk.7 which I'll share with everyone one day when I find it. That particular photo is memorable to me for reasons other than Bolwells. It was an early race for Allan Hanns in the first of his Datsun 2000s before he moved on to racing Nagaris. I have admiration for Allan as a natural and determined race driver when he put his mind to it and this day he certainly did just that and the Datsun was giving stick to the odd Lotus Elan, TR7V8, MGB and Bolwell Mark 7. Jackie Stewart was saying on Radio National this morning that it was his "natural" talent that he had from the outset that kept him at the forefront (and kept him alive too probably). I'm off the track again (so to speak).
In the mid seventies the South Australian Bolwell Club entered a team in the Six-hour race at Calder. In those days our team was usually made up of Mark 7s with the odd Datsun 2000, Clubman or Cooper S thrown in. The Victorian club's teams were mixtures of Mark 7s predominantly, but accompanied by Mark 4s and the SR6. Anyway, there was a Nagari competing in this particular event but it was in the NSW Sprite Club team. This was B8/12 in the hands of Max. This was the first time I had met Max. At the time I didn't know that Paul had sold the car. Anyway, from that time on Max has been a good and valued friend. I do recall that he was plagued with overheating problems at Calder. That shouldn't be the case these days because I also recall a subsequent owner, Rankin McKay, fitting a huge Neil Stevens radiator to it. Remember Neil at Fleetwing Lakemba service station?
I'm going to go and scan a few photos to continue this post and come back with part 2 probably tomorrow.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Bolly Blog might be a poor choice of name. Apparently there are thousands of Bolly Blogs, all to do with Indian movies.

Bolwell Club preview of new Nagari

Friday night, 22nd of February, 2008, the Bolwell Corporation held a preview?unveiling of the long awaited Bolwell Nagari exclusively for Bolwell Car Club members Australia wide. This took place a week before the official release at the opening of the Melbourne Motor Show. This was a wonderful time for me, catching up with old Bolwell friends, some I hadn't seen for about 20 years. And the car itself, is magnificent, the finish is superb. Here is a picture of a number of members at the event. That's not everybody, that's for sure. I reckon a few people have ducked for cover when they saw the camera come out. Tony Shaw has an excuse, he took the photo.