Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ginetta G50

You may have noticed a link to Ginetta sports cars in the links section. While Googling, Peter G came across the release of the Ginetta G50 (pictured above). It immediately reminded him of the Mk.7 - similar nose, tail and profile. It's RWD with a 350hp V6. He wonders if this is what the Mk.7 would be like if it had been continually updated. What do you think?

Stanley Bridge Hotel

A little bit of advance notice. On Sunday the 3rd of August lunch has been booked at the Stanley Bridge Tavern for about oneish. The Stanley Bridge is at Verdun. Verdun is in South Australia. Don't be put off, all you Bolwell owners in other states. South Australia is centrally located. Just take a look at a map of Australia.

Rob's Nagari project

I just wanted to say how sorry I am for Rob Luck and his helpers with the Nagari project in regard to the fire at the warehouse where the car was stored.I'm sure everybody will be relieved however, that the damage to the car itself was minimal even though everything around it was destroyed. It is a huge setback nevertheless.

Mystery solved (maybe)

Remember Nagari number B8/82 supposedly given to both Dave Jackson's coupe and Bernie Van Elsen's sports? Well, the plate that came originally on Bernie's car (and it's still on it) carries the number B8/86. Accoding to factory records, there was no B8/86. Well this is why. The funny part is that the blank line at number 86 on Bolwell's list was common knowledge and there was more than one pirate that stamped 86 on their car.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bolwell Hoverjet

This came from Peter G:-
I've had this article on the Hoverjet (made by Bolwell) for ages. I was wondering, if you care to publish it on your blog, that someone may recall which issue of Aust. Playboy it appeared in. I suspect early to mid eighties.

Well, I remember the Hoverjet and I remember that you rode on it like a horse, a very wide horse, Clydesdale maybe. I also remember the Playboy article, it was written by NSW Club member, Rob Luck. I have a copy of it somewhere, I'll try and dig it out. Meanwhile, by the time I do that, hopefully someone will have answered your question via the comments provision.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From Car & Driver magazine, September 1967

Here's a page from Car and Driver - September 1967. It's interesting what the yanks have to say. Bad luck for them that they didn't take it any further.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


With all this talk that has been going on in the website forum regarding replica Bolwells, I thought you might like to know that the practice is not just restricted to Bolwells and is not a relatively new phenomena. The car in these photos is not a Mangusta with a vinyl roof. It is somebody's creation.
I took these pictures at the Goodwood Road tramstop about forty years ago. The place has certainly been tidied up since then. You probably didn't recognize it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


About 6 weeks ago we South Aussies, as part of a spirited run to Walker Flat, stopped for breakfast at Birdwood and our promised FOC annual tour of the National Motor Museum. The date for this event was chosen to coincide with the Holden display which featured the Torana GTR-X. Our particular interest in the GTR-X is that Bolwell were reputed to have had a hand in the construction of the body, or bodies. This exciting machine was publicised as a one-off (or the only remaining) vehicle. Here it is and I think you'd have to agree that it is quite sensational with very advanced styling for its time (1969-70).

But wait a minute, it's white. Now this photo below was taken by me at Sandown in 1978. Holden used to take their specials on the road and this particular display, as you can see, features a tricked up Gemini panel van. I remember this particular occasion well as it was when Fangio ("the maestro") raced the W196 Mercedes GP car against Sir Jack in the BT19.
Anyway, this car at Birdwood was a white one but it didn't look freshly painted. In fact it looked remarkably like the white car in the GTR-X brochures. Then I started to think - wasn't there a time when the one and only GTR-X had a permanent home at the National Museum? Now that was a silver car. It stands to reason that there are two cars. I remember in the publicity of the time that they were supposed to have produced 3 cars. There was also talk around about then that there was an unused body out the back of the factory for ages. Everyone would have loved to have gotten their hands on that!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The original Bollee

Pete G has found the oldest Bollee. 1898 would you believe.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

B8/59. Where is it now?

I'm reading a library book at the moment called "The Cobra in the Barn". We don't have barns in Australia, we have sheds. We don't have trails either, we have tracks. I'm off the subject already. Don't get me started on the decline of the Australian language by American crap TV. Anyway, I'm enjoying the book and learning bits and pieces like who Griffith, of TVR Griffith fame, was and where the Brabham sports cars went (I knew of one in Sydney and that was a story that needs to be told one day) and lots of other interesting things about sports cars hidden away in the USA. All of this reminded me of B8/59 because that was found in a shed in one part of its life.

B8/59 is well remembered by older South Australian Bolwell followers because that is where it began its life and because it was, and probably still is, a very formibable (change that to awesome) vehicle. It was put together in Daryl Siggs' workshop and used a GENUINE Cleveland Phase III HO engine, clutch, close ratio gearbox and LSD. Daryl was very generous in sharing his car and those of us who haven't driven it have certainly ridden in it. Many can attest to its ability to reach 90mph in 1st gear. In the hands of Keith English and Claus Malusczak it became a very brutal drag car and its battles with the 454 Corvettes in the early seventies are still remembered by ardent drag fans. Talking of Daryl's generocity, B8/59 became a self-drive wedding car for Ken and Monica Stratton. Locally, both the News and the Advertiser featured articles on this car and nationally, it appeared in Sports Car World on more than one occasion as well as Classic and Sports Car magazine.

In 1974, when Bolwell ceased producing the original Nagari and the South Australian dealership turned to other things, B8/59 and the coupe B8/90 were sold to a West Terrace prestige car dealer, Roger May Motors. This dealership was the subject of a bankruptcy petition and all the vehicles in the showroom, including the 2 Bolwells, disappeared overnight. B8/90 did reappear in another car yard some time later and some Jaguars turned up years later in Sydney but B8/59 was gone forever we thought. It did, however, reappear in Sydney as well and was used by Peter Wherrett in his "Torque" program on the ABC where we used to see it burst from a tunnel each week at the beginning of the show. Wherrett also wrote of it in his book of the same name. Part of that chapter referred to its penchant for overheating but I do recall that when it was driven it had the front opening filled with a "Torque" sign. After Peter Wherrett had used the car, we were informed that its owner had written it off in an accident, never to be resurrected.

I don't know who that Sydney owner was but I do know that it came to be owned, in 1976-77 , by a young woman in Surfers Paradise. She married a farmer who had no interest in it so for 2 years (1978-79) it was stored in a farm shed in the Armidale area.

Mike and Kerrie Pett, school teachers from Armidale, were out for a drive in the countryside in their MGA when they spotted the nose of what they thought was a Jensen-Healey sticking out of a shed and went to investigate. It turned out to be B8/59 and despite the roosting chickens, they bought it, with only 29,000 genuine miles on the clock. For two years, (1980-81) they used it regularly, even venturing to South Australia, where a number of us enjoyed their company on a winery tour of the Barossa Valley.

This is the car with a couple of familiar coupes, the yellow one being Garry and Rosemary Warren's B8/37 and the red one is B8/26, then owned by Deb and Udo Selter. B8/26 used to be yellow too and those two cars were almost twins and there's another story there too.

B8/59 was subsequently sold to finance the building of a new house and the new owner became Max Ullrich of Sydney. Many people may remember that Max brought it to the Mildura Easter weekend that year and I took a yellow Austin-Healey 3000 Mk.1. However, Max drove the Healey back to Sydney and the Bolwell came back to Adelaide as we swapped cars. B8/59 spent most of 1982 with Leah and me as Max went overseas for that time.

Here the car is sharing the company of B8/107, our silver coupe of the time. There's some interesting stories about that car too.
The above picture shows Max and one of his sons leaving our place (with an over-full boot) for the long drive back to Sydney.

Max sold the car soon after, as he became interested in racing Group N. All I know about the next owner is that his name was Les and he, too, was in NSW, but some time later the car went to Western Australia when it wa acquired by the Extravaganza Esplanade in Albany wher it was housed in the Paul Terry International Collection, until 1993 when the now red car was one of the major items in the Sotheby's Auction of the 12th of December. This is the relevant page from the catalogue.
It was bought at the auction by a Sydney man, over the telephone. I have never known who that was. Daryl Siggs tells me that he heard that he was a wealthy manufacturer of jeans. Who was he and does he still own it? Does anybody know?

Saturday, July 5, 2008


B8/44 is the Nagari coupe currently raced in Europe by Leo Kusters. I know a little bit about the history of the car but not heaps and maybe there's a few people out there who can fill in the gaps. Despite newspaper reports of a healthy export market in South Africa, B8/44 is the only Nagari I am aware of to go to that country. It must have been sent there minus engine and gearbox because as late as 1997 there was no engine number stamped on the chassis plate. It is my belief that it lived in that country for many years, but in the nineties it turned up in the UK. Victorian branch member and UK resident, Chris Camp, owned it briefly in the early nineties but it was advertised for sale in Nov/Dec. 1999 English Motorsport magazine.
However, in between those 2 occurrences it lived in Spain. On the 14th July 1997, Ramon Lopez Villalba of Andorra, Madrid, wrote to Australian Automobile Association in Canberra asking for information to assist with the restoration of his car, Bolwell Nagari B8/44. This letter was passed on to the NSW club at the time. Ramon was the proprietor of a company called Hispakart, competition kart fabricators. It is interesting that Leo's young son, Jordy, races karts. I wonder if there is any connection. Leo has campained B8/44 for some time now. I wonder if he bought it in England or whether there is another country on the way to Belgium/Holland/Germany.

Meanwhile, UK Bolwell fanatic, Chris Camp, is racing a Mk.7 in historic events over there. (At least I think he still is). His car is featured in the gallery section of the UK Holden Register website. Hence the link.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

V8 Mk.7 for sale.

Here's an ad for Steve Rowley's Mk.7. I'll pass it on for Slipstream and for the website but meanwhile here is a brief description. Bolwell Mk. VII coupe 1969 - first registered July 1973 with Ford V8. Now fitted with fresh 351 Windsor, close ratio toploader, Mercedes 630 SL IRS rear end with locked 3.89 diff, power rack and pinion steering, 13" and 12" vented disc brakes, hatch back rear, BBS wheels. Sensational performer with many more features and spares. Will consider part trade with Mk.4, Mk.7, interesting Aussie special basketcase project. $35,000 ono. Ring Steve on (08) 8767 2640.