Sunday, April 20, 2008

More on B8/81

Here is an email from Jim White about B8/81

Good stuff John,
I will send some photos soon. I am having trouble with my photo files and hope I can recover them.

When Ross C. purchased the car it had a Chev motor fitted, 350, I think. He had the Chev removed prior to taking delivery and replaced with the original Cleveland 302. So the numbers match and the car has its A1E numbered engine. Ross purchased another car at the same time, B8/2 I think. He had the idea to swap chassis on both cars to produce a more original Sports. One look told him that Cleveland into Windsor chassis does not go so after a while he sold both cars, one to Ron and the other to Rex Hallang, I think. He then purchased the Sports now owned by Guy Smith (number B8/67). Ross now has another very original Sports, whose number escapes me now but next time I speak to Ross, I will ask. I was told third hand that the original chassis from 81 is under Kevin Cociani's coupe. So maybe it is still in SA with the identity of Kevin's original coupe, albeit with a new body and sports chassis.
Ron rewired the car and he and engine guru, John Bennet, rebuilt the motor. The whole car was pretty tired when I purchased it from Ron in 1993 and it was not going, although all it needed was an exhaust system and carby to get it underway again. I started the full rebuild in 1996 and the car reappeared in 1998 at Mt. Gambier. Everything was rebuilt, including the motor as although it had been blue printed, gas flowed and matched, it had also spent so much time on the dyno that the rods had ovalled and stretched.
The chassis had been galvanised which made welding difficult, but sand blasting the body back to gelcoat was very successful and Ross McConnell did a fantastic job on the repairs and paintwork. It is still in excellent condition after 10 years. Gary Blackman did the trim and hood, the hood is also the best fit I have seen on a Bolwell.
The heads are a work of art and I wish I had photographed them for reference. I replaced the front of the body so the glassed in nose and dodgy repairs have all gone. By the way I notice that in the photo of the silver car there is no nose cone at all. I found some original seats to replace the Recaros that came with the car and a set of original wheels. The seats came from a late model Mark7 that was being rebuilt and it burnt in a shed fire, but hthe seats were elsewhere at the time. The wheels came from Ken Rowland's collection of parts.
I feel that a drive to Kapunda should be on the agenda soon.

On a different note, I was moved to see the photo of my old mate and best friend Ron at the wheel of 81, he died 14 years ago in an aerobatic Pitts Special crash and I often still think of him.

Here's another little pic of 81 with a similar coloured Eureka.

I remember Robert Radman having a Chev engine in the car. Rob Wilson put one in Gary Allen's coupe when he had it and I knew of one other. I don't think they are much of an idea for Nagaris because you can't get them far enough back in the Y frame and it mucks up the handling. Tony Opie's Mk.7 had a Chev V8 in it but I do recall him changing the back plugs through little holes from inside the car. I wish Rolls Royce had thought of that.
I presume the Mk.7 that burned in a shed fire was the Whyalla one. That's 3 I can think of that burned out in sheds, because that was the fate of the above car of Tony's and Colin McAskill lost a very nice Mk.7 that way as well.
Jim, you don't miss much, noticing the missing nose cone. It didn't have quarter windows in it either. It was straight out of the paint shop and Vern couldn't wait to get it up to Mallala.

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