Tuesday, November 3, 2015

RAA-633 That's my old car!

Geoff W, the original owner/builder of Peter Mac's Mk.7, spots his old car at the end of the Bay2Birdwood this year. That must have been pretty exciting after all those years.
Let Geoff tell you all about it.......

Hi all,

I was intrigued at the Bay to Birdwood on 28 September 2015 to see Bolwell Mk 7 RAA 633. I was the first owner of this car, and thought it might be of some interest to recount its history.

I bought the car from the factory as a body shell in 1967. I was 24 years old at the time, starting to earn a steady wage for the first time, and had been interested for years in building what was then known as a “kit car”. (I grew to hate this term, implying as is does something like an Airfix kit to just be put together and go driving. This was very far from the truth). I’d dreamed of a Buckle – allegedly moulded off an Aston Martin DB3 - which was beyond my means and even to me was clearly a project needing a lot of builder input. Then came the Bolwell; I became aware of it at the Mk 5 stage – something of a development phase - and when the Mk 7 came along, claiming to be a breeze to put together using standard readily-available parts, I was hooked.

So I paid my money, put my order in and went through the delights of deciding what mechanicals to put in it; it was said to be suitable for standard parts from things like Holdens; the only exception was the tail-lights which had to come from a Toyota Crown. As always, the tradeoff between desirability, cost and technical practicality reared its rather delightful head - so many decisions, so little time. I opted for the simplest, most economical and widely-available components, mostly Holden including a “grey engine out of somethink like and EK. I imagine RAA 633 has moved up in the world since then with later and better equipment.

Each body shell was individually built and you had to wait your turn. I’d taken my three weeks annual leave and planned to have it built and on the road at the end of a marathon building session, aided and abetted by the factory who claimed such things were possible. As I waited I amassed all the parts and when the message came that my shell was ready, some kind friends agreed to tow a boat trailer to Melbourne to get it. Their vehicle was a VW Kombi van, so it was a slow journey!

Trip

Fond idea of 3 weeks adversiding 

Kit

Got it coloured red 

Modified chassis – fundamentally unsound…

Bg in motorcylcles, and cars . Healy Sprite Mkl 1 No idea – shame no knowledge and little money much ambition….

Since gone on to gliders where fg is the4 go …

Registration – lined up on date in 1967 when changfe from numeric to alphanumeric, hoping to get RAA 1 but to no avail

.....well, it was Geoff's everyday driver for quite a while. In that time, I met him only once, if I recall, but used to see the car regularly parked in O'Connell Street and inside the grounds of Adelaide Uni when I was there. It was a deep blue colour then. I think Colin owned it briefly and passed it on to Grant who had it as his everyday car for donkeys years.
Undercoat grey was standard livery for many a Mk.7, remember Casper? From Grant it went to Barry's where it sat in the shed that is now Kath's sewing room, along with Susie's old 7, for as long as Grant had it on the road. Finally John McL rescued both cars as a package and passed RAA-633 on to Pete who has restored it beautifully and is certainly getting a lot of enjoyment from it.

I'm sure Geoff  would have some photos of the car from the 60s. I intend to find out.

4 comments:

John L said...

Anonymous said...
Ah yes my first Bolwell in July of 1972

I think Geoff is being very modest as he was the original builder of this car not the original owner.

Was one of the very first Mk 7 kits, ribbed floor, color in gel coat with all the challenges that brought and leaf rear springs.

No speedo just a tacho, toggle switch for indicators, no cooling fan and a generator!!

Standard Holden front wheels and 6" rims on the rear.

Completely standard FE motor including cut and shut GMH exhaust when I acquired it from a hairdresser in Melbourne Street

I first saw the car on Saturday morning television in a segment in which Geoff was the talent.

Had extensive deep star cracking of all the body surfaces due to the color in the gel coat. I had a supposedly crack painter fix it and repaint it yellow. Even though he was an experienced body and paint guy who had built my cousins's channeled 37 coupe hot rod in 1958 he didn't know a thing about stuffed gel coat in 1972 and neither did I.

The reality was even having been on the road for only 5 years the Mk 7 was utterly worn out and needed a full rebuiid and updating as it only had drum brakes and due to the lack of cooling I seized the motor a few times, just waited till it cooled down and completed my journey.

Grant bought it off me in 1975 after i reacquired it in a million bits.

Can't remember who I sold it to in 1973 or who pulled it apart but I sold it in 1973 to acquire what looked to be a very nice Mk 5 from Beaumont complete with MGA 4 speed and triple SU's, Herbert mags etc etc. Due to accident damage to the tin front end we had to space frame that car but again that is another car and another story.

The Mk 7 was never my only car whilst the Mk 5 was my daily driver and was space-framed while i still drove it to work every day.


November 4, 2015 at 1:35 AM Delete

Anonymous said...

I can still remember the day my father Colin, Grant and myself went to Colin McCaskells house on Bridge Rd to look at RAA633,it was in a sad and sorry state,in a million pieces, body had very bad gelcoat cracks, chassis was bent, cracked and very weak. After witnessing my fathers build, Grant just had to have it,so off to Wattle Pk it went. Fortunately there were a lot of parts left from my father Colin's car so after about 18 months RAA633 was on the road with a Torana XU1 motor, close ratio aussie four speed and a 308 limited slip diff. It went quite well and after a lot of hooning up and down Greenhill Rd one night Grant took me to the Gepps X drive-in to see the first Mad Max Movie. What a combo Mad Max in a bollie!! At this point I new I had to have one. It still gives me a thrill to see RAA633 on the road, Peter has done such a good job.
Always yours in bolwells, Brian D.

Micheal Miller said...

I enjoy putting my own together as well. In fact my wife has gotten involved as well. The other day she helped me install some small parts that I struggled with. She doesn't want to spend all day out in the garage but at times it's nice to have her help.

Micheal Miller @ Butler Kia Fishers

John L said...

Hey Micheal, wives often have little hands which comes in handy for doing up nuts in tight places. If you can build it together, you both can enjoy using it together afterwards. Tell us a bit about your car, vidstud@gmail.com Where are you located?