Friday, August 6, 2010

The forgotten Nagari racer.

"This is the car that Bruce built."
In the early 80s Bruce Tonkin, with a little bit of help from Norm, built a very formidable road car and then took it racing. Here it is having an initial shakedown at Mallala.
Because it was a road car it was eligible in South Australia to race in the Road Registered class (later called Club Cars and now Modified Production). Bruce had a problem, he kept winning. That wasn't a problem to Bruce, but it was to the Rotary Mazdas and other hot little cars he ran against, so, in order to bring him back to the field, month by month, the organisers changed the rules. Every time this happened, Bruce conformed and kept on winning. Finally, they managed to get rid of him for good by introducing a rule that all cars in that class had to be 4-seaters. Over in Western Australia Rob Wilson was having the same trouble. He was a winner too, so the organisers over there set to work on him as well, even making him drive the car to the track while his fellow competitors could trailer theirs. Here he is at Wanneroo on April 1st,1984, the year before he sold it to Steve Pretzel.Before he did sell it, Rob brought the car back to SA to race on our turf. We were all very excited about the prospect as at last Bruce would have some real opposition and sure enough, in rolled the red monster. Unfortunately the confrontation didn't occur because an engine failure occurred in a warm-up race.
Bruce's green Nagari hasn't been seen for about 20 years. Bruce sold it and moved on to permaculture and sustainable living. The new owner was a drag racer but not long after the purchase, he died in a motorcycle accident and the car has been sitting in darkness ever since.


Gary A said...

The red monster is still running strong.I love passing on the up hill on ramps onto east link on the way to work, best done in the dry as can be a bit taily in snd or thrd. Must get back into MSCA and more club runs. Im a lucky boy to have this toy at my disposal. How many of the racing bollys still get used often. just clocked over 70000 mls during my ownership .Regds to all Gary

Anonymous said...

Great photos John, but hose RX7(?) spoilers are truely hideous, and it's fortunate we see very few of the wheels on Bruces car, anymore.


Steve Pretzel said...

Just came across the photo of the red Bolwell with Rob Wilson at Wanneroo. I actually had no idea that it was previously this colour - it was predominantly yellow when I bought it. And I thought painting it red was my idea!

If that't the car Gary A is referring to I'm glad to see it's still out there being used - more than ever it seems.

Steve Pretzel