Saturday, July 11, 2009

B8/107 part 2

Ray Gulson was the ACT agent for Nagaris. B8/107 was to be Ray's crowning glory, purchasing the "very last factory produced Nagari" (although I've heard that title given to a few other chassis in my time). Anyway, Ray went down to the factory to personally "drive the car off the production line" in October 1973. He kept the car for a few months then sold it to a professor who used it in Canberra for 2 years before moving with the car to Goulburn for another 2 years, finally returning to Canberra and selling it back to Ray Gulson Motors. Gulson's advertised it for sale from their Fyshwick premises in August 1979 for $9,000. It was bought by Allan Davey, an ecologist, who lived at Red Hill ACT. In June of 1982, Allan was moving with his job to Perth and decided to sell the car before he went. It was still very immaculate and I really wanted to buy it. However, I had an earlier one that I needed to sell in order to do so. It wasn't easy to do at the drop of a hat and finally I stuck my neck out and got it while I still had the other one. Leah and I drove up to Canberra in the red one and stayed with Chris and Bronwyn (they were living at Queanbeyan then) while we did all of the necessaries to purchase the car. With Chris being a hotshot salesman, we decided to leave the red car there for him to sell on our behalf. This didn't happen and we later went and got it, took it back to Adelaide and sold it on to Perth. We were then able to enjoy the use of the silver car. Later, it got a bit hectic because we were minding the GTHO powered B8/59 for Max and then Ikaras came on the scene and we had B9/001 and B9/002 to contend with as well. To lighten the load we decided to sell B8/107 and Andrew Daff came over from Melbourne to buy it. Andrew was more into surfing than fast cars and some time later while competing at an MSCA sprint meeting at Sandown or Phillip Island he left the track backwards and wiped out the back of the car rather badly. Roycey bought the wreck and turned B8/107 into a Fibrecar sports. I presume this is the car that Dennis Oste has now. As most people know, Royce was later killed in a road accident and the remains of the silver car sat around the farm for ages until Richard took it up to Queensland and made a new car from it using a new chassis and a new body. He gave me the slightly bent steering wheel to remember it by when I was up there once and it's still hanging in the shed. I do remember the steering wheel in particular, it was one of those flat ones with the Valiant centre. What I remember most was when you took the car out for a good workout in the hills the wheel would be out of shape when you got home. Then you bent it back into shape ready for next time. About this time, Peter Ingram-Jones had his big prang in the Targa Tasmania. Richard sold him the front half of B8/107 for the repair. I remember Peter saying that eventually all these cars return home and when B8/76 came to live in SA, the front half of my beloved silver car had returned. Recently I was telling Ned McGovern (the Milano man) that I had picked up a UC Torana and that I planned to salvage the front and rear ends for a Nagari project and throw away the rest but I wondered if that was a good idea as the big bodied Torana track was wider than the Nagari track as stated in the famous Nagari brochure. He said that Dennis had one of those front ends in his Nagari and he had done a bit of work on it. Small world isn't it.
Anyway, here's a few photos of B8/107 when it was a silver coupe. 1. 107 and 43 at the Clearihan's.

2. Same 2 cars at a Healey Club concours at Bonython Park. That's a cheeky young Andrew Low standing alongside the silver one which is by then sporting the familiar JL-0000 plates.

3. A picnic at National Park. The people in the photo are Wendy (seated), Rose, Garry, Gus and Leah. The other Bolwells were the black Chev powered Mark 7 coupe of Tony Opie (before it was a blue roadster), the yellow B8/37 of Garry and Rose and Gus's 351 powered B8/75 which was the Alex Tsakmakis racecar.

4. B8/107, B8/59 and B9/002 at Scott Street, Parkside.


John L said...

Jim Shanahan wrote:-
"Hi John,
I remember the car being built. It was quite striking in silver I thought. And the date Oct '73 sounds about right. There's no way, though, that it was the last production Nagari. They were in production well into '74. I remember Linley pinning up on the notice board a letter from Ray Gulson after he returned to Canberra in it. He praised the car and all involved in its production, which was nice of him.
I don't follow your reasoning regarding 107 turning into Royce's sports. I remember him building the sports but I don't remember the wreck of 107. It must have turned up sometime after I left Fibrecar. Ric Kemp was building his sports at about the same time. From memory, they both had Torana front ends with Leyland P76 discs. I think this was to match the Ford diff bolt pattern. The discs also added an inch or two to the track which was a bonus as the Torana track was a little narrow as was the original Nagari track measurement. You might consider this modification for your own Nagari project.
Only a few cars remain in my memory and your silver car was one of them. Shame it met such an end.

Anonymous said...

See also my post B8/107(1)- Dennis owned B8/107, he took it to Portland Easter in 1988, he also raced in Vic MSCA events, I don't know about Andrew Daff. I'm not sure of the exact circumstances but Dennis damaged the car and part traded with Royce for his Fibrecar Sports, which Dennis had on the road in 1990 registered with the BOLLY-8 plates.

John L said...

Maybe Dennis bought it from Andrew. I remember Dennis telling me now - that he was the one that pranged it. I'm getting old, memory's fading. The car Richard built is a different one again.