Friday, October 31, 2008

That German Mark 4

Glenn K. sent me this. It's still for sale. It must be at least 2 years since it went on sale. Must be too expensive for the Germans as well.

A potted pictorial history of the SR6

With the SR6 under new ownership, it's a good time to reflect on its evolution.
Picture 1 shows the car under construction at the old Bolwell factory in the 60s.

Picture 2 shows Alan Newton about to gobble up (hopefully) the big blue Elfin in its heyday.Picture 3 is taken at Calder when John White was its custodian.
Picture 4 is from Queensland when it went up there for a crack at the big time Group A sports racing. Note the big wing on the back. In this photo you can see that they are in the process of extending the wheelbase.

Picture 5 is how it looks today basically, back to eligibility for historic racing. Ken Messenger transformed the car and campaigned it for a while before passing it over to Trevor Lambert who enjoyed a fair amount of success with it. Trevor has moved up to the big black Elfin ME5 which he bought in Germany (if you watch this space long enough, I'll have to do some stories about this monster) and now Colin McAskill is the new owner. Colin intends to keep it pretty much as it is except for the fitting of a larger driver's seat perhaps.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Veloce Today

You will notice a new link. It's Veloce Today, an American magazine on French and Italian cars and is a very good read, especially this month as there is an article on Lobethal. Just scroll down a bit and you will see "Sweet Adelaide", not far into it you can click on "continue reading" or something to that effect. Among other things, there's some excellent photos of Tony's Alfa and Smeetsy's Milano.

Door handles

Does anybody know the donor car for these door handles? Not that we need replacements. I'm sure the yellow paint will come off OK, even out of the keyhole. I'm just curious that's all. My guess is very early Toyota but I'm often wrong. We have Heintze's wrecking yard near here, over at Koonunga, which is acres of old cars hidden away in the middle of nowhere. It's been a good source of Mk.1 Cortina blinkers, "Aston Martin" tail-lights and early Toyota Crown tail-lights (although these are thinning out a bit). I might go for a wander on Saturday and see if I can spot them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Resurrection of B8/91

Today's guest author is Jim White.

Here's a few photos of B8/91, "before and after". Peter Jones discovered this car in pieces somewhere back of Cairns. It was a very original car that had been stripped down after a front end smash and the owner never got around to rebuilding it. I was looking for an original car with ID plates etc to restore to add to my sports (B8/81) and after following a few leads, eventually Paul Smith put me in touch with Peter and a deal was done. The problem of getting a damaged car, fully stripped, down from Cairns to outback SA, was solved ingeniously by Peter. His business in Cairns shipped auto parts to the south sea islands and had an industrial shrink wrapping machine. From the photos you can see the tape holding the panels to the body and the shrink wrapping still intact after the journey from Cairns. The only extra damage was to the front suspension, which collapsed on the way to SA. All the bits and pieces were safely cocooned inside the shrink wrap and all arrived intact. One photo shows the car after body repairs. This car was originally sold new in Adelaide, then travelled to Sydney before ending up in far north QLD. It took me almost 5 years to restore it and I drove it for a year before deciding that two Nagaris were one too many. I sold it to the Healey Factory in Melbourne and I believe the car is in Victoria.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mark 5, Tuesday 28th Oct.

Here's the transmission all bolted up and the new starter motor in place and behaving nicely. It was just a matter of alignment after all that. It can go back in the car tomorrow and we'll see how it goes. Thank you to all those who thought about posting an answer to my query the other day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy campers

I'm starting to get old pictures from others lately. Thanks Susie for these. It's only fair that I share them around. This was in Mildura or Renmark or somewhere like that. Who are these people?

Flex plates and torque converters

To say that I'm not real big on automatics is something of an understatement so I'm calling out for advice. Here is the problem with the aforementioned starter motor. The flexplate will not bolt up to the torque converter properly. When the centre (the automatic's equivalent to the site of the spigot bearing) is right up tight it is 3/16" out. The 3 bolts can pull up tight but that warps the flex plate and the the gear on the starter motor only touches on the very end. Just as I'm typing this, Colin McAskill emails in with the suggestion that the "locator" is missing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


This is just a little advance notice about the Classic Adelaide street party in Gouger Street on Friday night the 21st November, for SA people and others who may be in the area around then. As is traditional, we have a table booked at Stanley's, on the footpath, out the front. This year it's a bit different because we have only one table, not two. Remember last year as people drifted in throughout the night, even though we may have had lots of people there on the night, there was only ever enough people there at any one time to fill one of the tables. A table is for 10 people which can be stretched to 14 or so if necessary. I think it will work out OK as we drift up and down the street checking out the cars and come in at varying times to eat and good on Stanleys for being this flexible.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mark 5 steering wheel

I found this hanging up in the shed. It's the original steering wheel from my old Mark 5. The leather and the stitching are in pretty good condition and the spokes just need a bit of a clean. It's 15" in diameter. I reckon it will make the Mark 5 look just that bit more authentic rather than the fat little flat bottom modern one that came with it. When my old Mark 5 left our place, it had graduated to a late model one too and now, having seen the photos, I see it's still on it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bolwell mags

With a new batch of reproduction Nagari mags coming out, some people might find this interesting. Robert H. Grant were the manufacturers of the Nagari alloy wheels and in 1978 offered the dies and rights to me. I had a small role in the design and marketing of a few SA made wheels at the time and I thought the price seemed pretty right. However, when I called around to have a look at what was on offer, they had difficulty finding the stuff. Eventually, it was located way down the back with grass growing up through it and it was all so badly pitted and corroded that nothing was really salvageable which seemed a shame. Bolwell, it appeared, after initial batches were produced, had never returned for any more, so down the back they went.

Robert H. Grant don't seem to appear in the Yellow Pages any more and I'm not sure if they still exist. I haven't checked 274 Ferntree Gully Road on Google Maps to see if a foundry is still there. It's quite possible because these days EPA issues preclude using land like that for most other things. Well that's the situation around here anyway.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some Movement in the Bolly World

The yellow Mark 4 has been sold. I was just looking at the photo below. It's got a little boot at the rear. And long doors. Ben K tells me that his blue Nagari sold last week as well. He misses it already.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dad, Mum and the kids.

Isn't this how a family of four always arrives at the beach in the 80s? Or was I a bad parent?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mark 5, Tuesday 21st Oct.

Lots of teeth missing on the ring gear and the new starter motor's not faring too well anyway. The motor has to come out. Here it is all jacked up, ready to lift the engine. A bit later on, the engine's out. Might as well do a bit of housekeeping in there while it's out. There's a few other things that can be done, too, while you can get at things, like putting the guages in the dash where they belong.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Paint peeling

I thought we were in for a hard time rubbing back and sanding the Mk.5 body after seeing the craters in various places but it turned out to be in the paint. The yellow paint with blue stripes must have been enamel or something that wouldn't bond to the 2-pack underneath. Below is a photo of the forward section of the roof where it meets the windscreen. It was possible to peel the paint off in great sheets like a big sticker revealing the hard red surface underneath. It's in really good condition under there. This second picture is just forward of the rear window. It must have had a tricky red and blue colour scheme.
Below is Colin (Lucas not McAskill) using a razor blade on the bonnet to get back to blue with a big wide red stripe up the centre. When it is all off it will be interesting to see what this colour scheme is like. It is difficult to walk past the car without compulsively peeling a bit more off, a bit like biting fingernails I guess.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Haven't done a post for a few days, mainly because we were away for the weekend taking in lots of stuff, including the Lobethal GP re-enactment. For me, Lobethal was great, catching up with many old friends, and there were some fabulous cars (and bikes) there. Numbers were less than expected and it's a pity that it was on the same weekend as Australia's greatest car race. Nevertheless, the quality of the vehicles (and the historical significance of a lot of them) was something to be seen. To increase the numbers, a few concessions (like vehicle age for example) had to be made, and if they have it next year, there might be space for the odd Bolwell, especially ones with a bit of racing background and this would be very worthwhile as the track itself gives the opportunity for some decent leg-stretching. I'll show you a couple of random pictures.
This one, above, is a monstrous Australian Special which is now called "Big Red" mainly due to its Barossa connections. It was built in the 50s on a Mk.4 Jaguar chassis with a Customline motor and it goes like the clappers. Carl Lindner owns it and Doug Lehmann gets to drive it.

In this picture is the DBR2 inspired special of club member Ken Messenger (Ken is a former owner of the Bolwell SR6). Alongside it is the Ricardian which every ageing SA racegoer will be familiar with and will have to be a subject of discussion in a future post one day.

Here are two identical Healeys (well, almost). They are both genuine 100S models and both painted in that familiar white and dark blue livery. One of them, and I'm not saying which one, donkeys years ago had a crash which required a reconstruction of the front panel. The job was done to perfection and the untrained eye would not notice that the grille on one is in a lower position than the other.

Tony Cullen (of Ikara fame) has built this Alfa as a tribute to the one he used to have as a boy. He's not afraid to give it a bit of stick either and the lighting up of the tyres on the few corners of the Lobethal circuit were something to be seen. I reckon this would have had to have been the most photographed car of the weekend.

I don't seem to be able to present a collection of nice old cars without including a Vauxhall 30/98, or "Thirsty" as we used to call them. There were 2 there this weekend, the other one was a yellow Velox bodied one. In the twenties, when they were built, there were as many sent to Australia as there were remaining in England. Many of them are finding their way back to the UK these days. Must be more money over there. Patrick Ryan's 30/98 sticks in my mind more than his early Bolwell special, I'm slightly embarrassed to say. I've never owned one, but did have an example of its little brother, the 14/40.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where is it now? - No.7

This week's "Where is it now?" is a Mark 5 that we discovered in about the early 70s when in Melbourne for a 6-hour. It was in a dark corner, right down the back of the Speco-Thomas warehouse/factory. The engine was out, the back window was out and it was painted in that baby-poo coloured undercoat.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lots of passing.

Dino sent me this. I love watching it. So does he. Just thought I'd share it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mark 3 again.

Barry Main sent me some pictures of the "Elgaram" Mark 3 soon after it had changed hands to its present owner. I can't put my hands on them at the moment but I thought I'd include these photocopies before they faded into obscurity. This was after the original bonnet was discovered but, as you can see, it's a bit short one end.

Monday, October 6, 2008

That Mark 5 again.

Here is the same car a few years later. By now the chrome windscreen surround has gone. Now you can see why they had sliding side windows. You had to reach in to open the doors from the inside on this one.
I wonder where this car is now.

Colin's photos

Here is the car Colin mentioned yesterday with the chrome windscreen surround. He calls it the wide track Mark 5 because Rob Wilson fitted HQ front and rear ends. Before we call it a day on this car I'll dig out some photos of it with the wheel humps completed and the car repainted. Have a look at the tail lights. They're old Fairlane ones turned around sideways.
Meanwhile, here's some photos I found of the same car when it used to live at Roger and Carole's in Northcote, home to some pretty good pre and post 6-hour parties.

The Cortina air extractor vents are evident in one of the pictures. They lived with the car for a very long time. I like the front blinkers. This must certainly be the car from the Mark 5 brochure, because, apart from the very rare (for Bolwells) Rudge Whitworth hubs and wire wheels, the bar through the centre of the mouth is noticeable in one photo.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More on the Mark 5 screen

From Jim S in Tassie comes the following:-
"I'd be willing to bet a considerable amount of your money that it is the Austin Freeway/Cambridge rear window! I had heard years ago that it was the Austin one but can't remember from whom. Maybe George or Royce." Not only the Freeway and the Cambridge, but the back windows were also shared by a particular model Morris Oxford and the Wolseley 24/80.
I used to have a photograph of an Adelaide based Mark 5 (whereabouts now unknown) that even had the chrome surround. It looked very smart. Beven may now have the photo because I remember seeing that very image on the cover of the August 2005 SA Slipstream.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

EK back window

Here's an EK Holden back window. See what I mean.

Some windscreen observations

This is the Mark 5 windscreen. Unlike the Mark 7 and the Nagari, which had dedicated windscreens, the Mark 5 had something derived from another car. Years ago, when we all had our Mark 5s, we learned that they were Holden FE/FC back windows turned up the other way. Here's an FE back window and that looks pretty true.
Someone told me that they were from FB/EK model sedans, then somebody else reckoned that FE, FC, FB and EK were all the same. I've just had a look at an FB up the street and neither is true. They seem to have a bit more of a curve in them. I remember Campbell saying years ago that he thought they had used Austin Freeway back windows. Here's an Austin Freeway back window below. Maybe he's right. I still support the Holden notion.
I've never broken one so haven't had to worry about it really.
I recently read in a Jaguar Club publication that the "Elgaram" windscreen was also an FE/FC back window. There are pictures of it elsewhere in this blog. What do you think? It doesn't look much like a Mark 5 but by comparison, it has much more of a rake on it.

Look what's turned up in Kapunda.

This is a great little Mark 5. It's about to become even greater. It's not really mine, it's Colin McAskill's. He bought it in Bairnsdale as the stickers say but it can live here for as long as Colin likes. Meanwhile it's up for a rub down and a few coats of Sebring Orange, some period mags, a rewire and lots of other refurbishments, all in time for Easter next year. Here it is about to come out of the trailer. This trailer has just been built (also in Kapunda) to house the SR6. Anyway, the front spoiler has already been removed so at least you can open the bonnet. As it is going to be a road car, it's doubtful if it will ever go back on.

And here it is being pushed into the yard. I get to steer. I get all the easy jobs. Yes that is a WW2 Willys Jeep in the background (being tidied up for the Bay to Birdwood the following Sunday). The Mark 5 has now been fitted with a brand new starter motor so at last we could start it up and it sounds great. It has a Commodore rear end, hence the flares that were on it, but unlike the front spoiler, they will go back, but will be moulded into bodywork. I will keep posting photographs from time to time as progress is made.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The restoration of B8/49

These photographs are fairly self-explanatory but do serve to illustrate the extent to which the restoration has taken place.

A plug for a very fine car.

You may have seen these images elsewhere on the internet, like Carpoint for example, but I wanted to elaborate a little further on this coupe, B8/49. This is the final product of one of the most thorough restorations I have seen. When I have finished writing this I will dig out a few work-in-progress pictures I have in my Picasa album and post those as well.

From time to time I have had a bit of a hand in sourcing some of the parts that make it authentic. Steering wheel, steering wheel centre badge, gearshift boot and chrome surround, door handles, window winder mechanism, interior mirror, switches etc. etc.
Peter Jones found the car in Tasmania where it had been stored in a shed since 1984 and had it transferred to Cairns where he was then living. He and his good friend and co-owner, Ron Cheeseman, then set about a meticulous rebuild that involved a complete strip down with everything being restored and replaced bit by bit. The only things missing are the "Bolwell" and "Nagari" badges for the rear panel which somehow got lost in the process. New ones have been ordered and will be fitted when they arrive. It would be fair to say that they have over-spent on this car and would never be able to recoup their outlay. It would also be fair to say that the $72,000 asking price would be very realistic because it is better than new as everything is new or restored anyway. It drives very, very well.
Any interest can be directed to Ron Cheeseman on 0419 655425 or 07-4032 2622 or email him on