After several years of research that included communication with most of the
previous owners of the car in South Africa, UK & Belgium, plus various club
members in South Australia, VIC and NSW, I have come to the conclusion that
this is about as up to date as one can get regarding the history of chassis
B8/44 & B8/46.
Sometime in late 1971 BOLWELL CARS PTY LTD shipped a Nagari to Port
Elizabeth, South Africa. This was chassis B8/44. It came in as an almost
complete car, minus engine and gearbox. To be received by the business
partnership of George McGill and Rudolf Weston. They had made an
agreement with Campbell Bolwell of BOLWELL CARS PTY LTD to produce and
market the Bolwell Nagari locally.
Bolwell had even specified chassis numbers starting with B8/1/ZA.
A 2 nd shipment left on the “Australia Star” on the 6 th of April 1972. This was
basically a full chassis jig, body moulds and a complete new body with all
doors, boot, bonnet and some suspension components. But crucially it also
contained a complete chassis believed to be what was left of the first of two
Peter Warren race cars. Both of which shared the number B8/46.
This shipment was held by customs on the 31 st of May 1972 because duty had
not been paid. It was still there on the 7 th of July. And eventually released.
This was just the beginning of an on going nightmare for anyone involved in
the business of importing bits or, for that matter, complete Nagari’s into South
In the meantime in a letter dated 29 th of October 1971, Campbell Bolwell had
not only given McGill & Weston sole rights for 3 years to import and market
the cars in South Africa, but also a contract letter with Ford to supply engines.
But customs had other ideas. A letter dated 13 th of Jan 1972 from the
“Department of Industries” informed George that:
“Phase 3 rules do not permit the introduction of a new model to the South Africa
So this was basically the end of the whole plan to sell Nagari’s in South Africa.
Mainly because of this, things did not go well between the partners and they
broke up. George McGill sold Nagari B8/44 & the kit that was B8/46R to a Mr
Nicolas Loubser but Rudolf Weston repossessed both back from him, as he
was the rightful owner. In lieu for all his trouble on the 19 th of November 1972
Rudolf Weston eventually signed over the unfinished project that was B8/46,
to Nicolas Loubser including and relinquished all claims and rights thereof.
It was around this time the two Nagari’s went their separate ways.
Mr Weston and B8/44 had moved to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to 72
Rhodesville Avenue Salisbury and registered the car there as 131538A.
At this point the trail of B8/44 went cold until the mid 80’s in Spain.
In early 1973 a certain Harry Roscoe met up with Louis Loubser and he was
offered a body, chassis and any remaining parts of a Bolwell Nagari. This was
the on-going project that was B8/46. Harry made contact with Linley Hughes,
the sales director at Bolwell, via a letter on 19 th May to clear it with him and
make sure all was as it appeared to be.
Linley was glad to hear something about the project after nothing from McGill
and Weston for almost a year. He even offered Harry the rights to make
another attempt at importing the cars.
He even fitted a Jag rear end instead of the Ford one and designed and fitted
his own front air dam.
Right up until 1979 he was still trying to get parts from Australia, the door
glass being the major problem. Harry did manage to get a front screen and
rubbers after 6 years.
Lucas/ Hillman ones.
Phil Howie, a local Historic Racer. According to his son Rob (a well know
international off-road Dakar competitor with Toyota) Phil never completed
the task. After nearly ten years he also threw in the towel.
This is where Pete du Toit, a well know racer and car collector appeared and
took on the project. With the help of John Ten and his various connections
(Pete owns Zwartkops Race track in Pretoria) B8/46 was completed painted
blue and raced by Pete in 1990 to 92.
flexing. It was a nightmare to drive and always ran hot. With lack of attention
and development we rated it as unsuccessful in our hands.”
Well, I guess that’s being honest.
Pete eventually sold the car to Brian Tyler of “Rolo Motors” Standton
Johannesburg in 1995. I’m not sure what Brian did with it until it re-appeared
for sale in 1997.
At this point Chris Camp in Kent UK, Bolwell Club member & Mk7 racer with
the HSCC purchased the car and shipped it to the UK. He registered it EKP
224K and added an orange stripe and gave it chassis number B8/04471.
The extra numbers must be for compliance with UK registration. Or were they
“officially” issued by BCCA-VIC ?
You’ll notice that B8/44 is in there. Chris was sure at the time that this car was
the “only” South African car. But as we know this is not the case.
The real B8/44 had re-appeared.
John Low, South Australian club member and fount of all knowledge Bolwell-
related, found a red Nagari hiding in the garage of a certain Ramon Lopez of
“Hispakart” fame, in Madrid Spain. Ramon was a Renault dealer at the time,
now retired. The owner left the Nagari there for some work (33 years ago)
and never came back!
Ramon now runs his own classic race car restoration business at the same
address. He did race a TVR, a Ginetta, a Corvette, a Turbo Porsche and a SEAT
in touring car events. He'd be well into his 80’s by now. They dragged the
Bolwell out about 5 years ago and started work on it and have since put it on
the back burner.
John said “I had to gather up a number of parts including a windscreen and ship
This can only be B8/44. How it got from Zimbabwe to Spain in the early 80’s is
unknown at this point. And who was its ‘owner’?
Tracking this down sounds like a good project.
Chris Camp kept B8/46 for less than 2 years and he never appeared on the
racetrack with it. He sold it via Chris Alford’s historic race car business to a
Dutch chap living in Belgium, Leo Kusters. Leo wanted something special to
race in FIA events.
He exported the Nagari to Europe in Jan 2001 and after much correspondence
with Bolwell and CAMS he managed to get the full FIA papers for the car in
April 2001 as a 1971 model (strangely he gave it or was given chassis number
B8/42, this belongs to Barry Currie’s car back in Western Australia). Leo set
out, with driver Ab Flispe to compete in the Euro Youngtimers Trophy GT
series and the Belgian Historic Cup.
Over the 14 years of ownership they won their class several times. And with
various sponsors the car went from red to blue and green and then finally
This is where I joined this merry band of enthusiasts/adventurers.
I was looking for another Aussie car to race in the UK (I sold my JWF Milano
GT in 2009) and asked Chris Camp what ever happened to that Nagari he had.
After a little online search I found it in Belgium for sale at Classic Cars Roes in
After two visits over two years between Christmas and New Year (my wife’s
Dutch) I took the plunge and purchased the beast in May 2015. And imported
it back to the UK.
Upon arrival and with closer inspection it was a proper mess. Bart Roes had
attempted a restoration and had made a proper pig’s ear of it.
He’d only really managed to spray it yellow. (including the tyres)
The “new” engine was seized and (apart from the body) the whole car needed
There were some hilarious home bodge jobs done to it over the years. I have
no idea who was responsible or in what order it all occurred, but here is just a
- The roll cage was mostly made of 2” exhaust pipe tubing.
- It had 11” AMC rear brakes adapted to the Fairlane axle with 10mm spacers
“inside” the drums!
- The tie rods had an extra 8” threaded piece welded onto the ends (badly) to
extend them because the rack was not wide enough. Bump steer anyone?
- There is a square box section bonded to the bottom of the car to mount the
roll cage into and a bracket welded to the engine mounts for a bolt on brace
across the bottom of the “Y” just in front of the bell housing. This might
actually have been useful in an attempt to stop the chassis twisting.
- Someone drilled 3” holes throughout the engine bay to remove heat.
- And a hole was cut in the floor to drop the seat down. Ab the Dutchman was
It’s December 2018 and the beast is finished and road legal. Once more
registered as EKP 244K and I kept chassis number B8/04471 to simplify the
UK registration process.
I won’t list the work that’s been done or the pain and expense suffered by me,
let alone the 9 or so previous owners. But I think the end result will be well
worth it as she continues into her 48 th year. Not only will it be once again the
only Nagari racing in the northern hemisphere but the only one in the world
with FIA papers.
And what’s more it will work as an historic race car. I’ve returned it as close as
possible to original. Using as many Ford Australia parts as I could get hold of.
With its 10-point full FIA cage mounted to the chassis to stop the flex.
A wider Mustang steering rack. A bigger radiator, extra air intakes in the nose,
exit vents in the bonnet and the headers powder coated to help with the
engine bay heat. And with some Dynamat around the tunnel and floor, it will
be tolerable (just)
The plan is to race it with the Historic Sports Car Club in HRS Class A with the
rest of the V8’s. It should show TVR Griffiths and Moggy +8’s a clean pair of
heals, if I can keep it in a straight line.
I will also try to get to as many UK & Euro FIA events as I can afford.
Watch this space.
Aussie ex pat living in London