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!
Fond idea of 3 weeks adversiding
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.