Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The new Ford 5-litre V8

Hold everything you Nagari builders! Ford are coming out with a new 302 cu in for the up-coming Mustang GT.It features an alloy block and alloy heads, double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Ford are bragging about the increased performance and increased efficiency. The former is really worth bragging about - from 315 bhp to 412 bhp, but a move from 23 mpg to 25 mpg doesn't seem like much. Then there's the Boss version.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ceramic coated extractors

Remember this car? The headers were wrapped in fibreglass which wasn't really ideal to say the least. So off they went to Jet Hot Coatings in Castlemaine for the ceramic treatment. They coat them inside and out. We've been waiting for a while for them to come back but it turned out that when they tested them they found rust so around the corner they went for repairs. Anyway, they're back and don't they look great in their "Ford Blue".
You might also notice the plug wire resting on them which hasn't damaged it at all although something will be done about that anyway.
Castlemaine is a great place for just about any specialist automotive application and Jethot Coatings are no exception. Same with Castle Auto Electrics who did the repair work on the pipes. They also make headers.
While I had the camera out I couldn't resist a shot of the BBS wheel. I reckon they're great. The back one on the other side goes down after a while, so that will have to be sent to Melbourne to be sealed, there being only one place in Australia that will repair these wheels. The car came with six wheels, 2 each of three different sizes. The two not being used are the smallest. They can go on the front and the fronts to the rear. A clever way of changing ratios.

Kevin sent me these.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Variations on a Buchanan body - No.1

Dick Willis wrote this sometime back.THE GLADIATOR was built by Barry Taylor of Sydney in 1957 using the modified engine and gearbox from an MGTC he had raced at Mt Druitt earlier in the 1950's, a tubular chassis built by Arthur Rizzo using MGTF front and rear axles, suspension and brakes, and a special fibreglass Buchanan body. The Buchanan bodies had used a mould taken from Tom Sulman's Aston Martin DB3S, but the Gladiator differed by having only one door, a large headrest behind the driver, no bonnet scoop, only one hump on the dash, no bootlid, and was fitted with an undertray.
The car took its name and identity from the unit of the Royal Marines of which Barry Taylor was a member in WW2.
The Gladiator's first race meeting was at Bathurst, Easter 1958, also running at the October meeting, but the MG engine proved to be unreliable and was replaced in 1959 by a modified Holden motor, later that year the nose was lengthened in an effort to alleviate front end lift on Bathurst's Con Rod straight. In this form the Gladiator was quite successful, usually being placed in the first six in Bathurst's then popular sports car races.
Late in 1959 well known MG racer, Holt Binnie acquired the Gladiator and proceeded to race it at every opportunity until 1964, mainly at Bathurst and Warwick Farm, in later stages the car was known as the Vandervell Holden in deference to Holt's crankshaft reclaiming business.
In 1973, Don Simpson who lived at Blaxland in the Blue Mountains answered an advert for an old racing car at Concord for sale for $30. It was the Gladiator and it was a mess. Undeterred, Don paid up, took it home and began the lengthy task of restoring it to its former glory. It was virtually completed by January 1977 and had a shakedown run at Amaroo prior to its debut at the Historic race meeting later that month but Don was tragically killed in the Glanville train disaster while travelling to work on Jan 18th, 1977.
His widow, Narelle intended to keep the Gladiator but in 1989 John Tresize of Sydney became its fourth owner. John raced the Gladiator regularly in Historic events until selling it in August 2000, to Dick Willis of Coffs Harbour.
As the Gladiator had by now become somewhat tatty, Dick completely stripped and restored the car, hoping to be able to have the car relive its glory days as raced by Barry Taylor and Holt Binnie.
Its first appearance after restoration was at the HSRCA's Historic meeting at Oran Park GP circuit in April 2001 where it took pole position, and it has since been successfully raced at Wakefield Park, Goulburn and at Queensland Raceway, Ipswich and at the Grafton Hillclimb and Leyburn (Qld) Sprints.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Our friends, Lenore and Greg Barrett at JB Wines, over at Bethany, released their "Sparkling" at just the right time before Christmas and we went over for an enjoyable tasting before going down to Norm's for an end of year BBQ. The result was the loading of a dozen into the ute which might help to get through the Christmas break. It's a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier and we love it. Most people know I'm a bit of a bubbly fan and just as many know that I have had to endure some funny accusations but that's OK, if it makes me a "poof" then so be it. This new release is called BUNCH and I'd recommend giving it a try. If you can't find it, let me know.
Right on top of this, Wayne was over to supervise the bottling of some of his wines at Vinpak. An excellent opportunity to share a few pales and return his Nagari nose I'd borrowed some time ago to make a mould. Anyway, Katnook make a "sparkling" too. They have for some time. So it's been a bit of a bubbly week and that's not hard to take.
Sitting in the gallery waiting for somebody to part with their money is a good time to get the emails of the day out of the way and reflect on the artwork around you. This particular one is one of Roger Kalleske's. Like a lot of paintings, you either love them or you hate them and I've said that on this occasion because I've heard comments in both directions, but note the red dot, this one sold before the opening.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This is TREV

An interesting event.

From: Andrew Dickson <>Date: Dec 23, 2009 4:38 PMSubject: Team Trev and Zero RaceTo:
Hi John,
Would it be possible for you to forward this email to your email network? It is for a unique project which will take an innovative South Australian electric car onto the world stage in 2010.
Andrew Dickson
Team Trev,
You are invited to attend a special event on the evening of 7th of January 2010.Team Trev (, a team of (mostly) South Australian volunteers, is preparing to race a small green electric car around the world.Zero Race ( is the first race around the world for electric cars powered by renewable energy. The race starts in June 2010 in Shanghai. Participants will drive 30,000 km around the world, passing through 20 countries. The aim of Zero Race is to highlight the need for sustainable transport and showcase electric vehicles to the world.The director of Zero Race, Louis Palmer, will visit Adelaide from Switzerland on 7 January 2010 to give a presentation on this amazing event. He will also talk about his trip around the world in 2007-8 in the solar powered electric car SolarTaxi ( If you met Louis ( when SolarTaxi passed through Adelaide, you will know that he is a very interesting person with a fantastic story to tell.Come along at 7pm and hear about Zero Race, learn all about Team Trev and inspect our unique electric car Trev.This event is a fundraiser for Team Trev. The entrance fee is $10 ($5 concession).The venue is the University of South Australia’s City West Campus on North Terrace. RSVPs to would be appreciated for logistics purposes but are not essential.You can download an invitation with venue details here: <>We hope to see you there!
Andrew Dickson
Team Trev

I'll be there.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The things you find!

This Mark 5 can be found on a music mixing forum, posted by someone going by the title, "Brain". What we are able to discover about Brain is that he lives in Asia somewhere and is partial to hot Asian chicks. His dad bought the Mark 5 when Brain was in high school and fixed it up. Then Brain crashed it into the wall at Mt. Panorama while driving in a hill climb event. they fixed the front up and put it on top of a shipping container where it has remained for the last 10 or 12 years. When he was home in Australia last Christmas, 'Dad handed me the keys and said "Happy Christmas!" ' That's about all I know although Graham Nichols tells me that it is in the Canberra area.

Clubman Christmas run to Hahndorf.

From Norm and Ken have come these photos of Sunday's Clubman run.
50 Clubman sports cars took part. That's not a bad rollup. That afternoon I was down at Semaphore teeing up a batch of team shirts for a race team. This was taking place in ideal conditions on the verandah of the coffee shop/kiosk on the edge of the sea on the esplanade where one couldn't avoid noticing the passing parade of hotrods, vintage cars, sports cars and bikini bottoms. Among all that were more than a few Clubbies so it would seem many were making a whole day of it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

2010 club calendar.

A sneak preview. What does everybody think?I'll email the various state organisers tonight about numbers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Morgan Aero Supersport

This new Morgan would have to go on the Dino instigated top ten list. Doesn't this take the flying buttresses to the extreme?
....and the GT3 version even more so.

Fibreglass beginnings, at least in UK.

When I was young, a great way to have a cheap sports car was to get an old Ford Prefect/Anglia/Popular, whip the body off, lower the steering column, make a rather Spartan lightweight body frame and clad it in sheet steel or aluminium, depending an what was available behind the shed. Those old sidevalve, 4-cylinder Fords were great for that and certainly were quicker without the burden of a sedan body. People were doing that long before I became old enough to show an interest. In fact these home built specials were the REAL beginnings of the Clubman. The UK was no different to Australia in that regard although here in Australia there were lots of people messing around with V8s and straight 6s as well. Anyway, it was a surprise to me to discover a British built fibreglass bodied sports car built in 1951 called the Martin and nothing to do with Aston Martin. They were messing around with fibreglass in America back then but the Poms were still making a name for themselves with specialist metal bodies.
Anyway, just like the above-mentioned home grown specials, this car was made by dropping the body onto a Ford 8 or 10. Despite the strange looking pointy front, the body looks rather smart. It appears everything from the Ford rolling chassis was used, right down to the stock wheels, which, I learned the other day, was the same bolt pattern as the VW Beetle.
This car is for sale on Ebay at the moment in Monaco of all places. And speaking of Ebay, back here in Australia, I presume everybody has seen the rather unusual Mark 7 currently on Ebay that we featured on this blog some time ago. It was built in Tasmania, has been living in Queensland and is now available to be viewed in Victoria.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A couple more shots of B8/82

Here's another one of the car in the Jackson era and I'm pretty sure that's Jim Shanahan scratching his head and checking it out.
And here it is as it is today, in the hands of Paul Ewins.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Isn't it always the way - you truck happily along for nearly 40 years, confident you knew the origins of something - then ka-pow, someone comes along and blows it all up into a 'controversy'. And so it is with Nagari - the name.

And all because some trendy Japanese car stylist working for a very large car company decides to use a name that bears a striking resemblance and (apparently) has a similar meaning. Zoom zoom, just like that, someone is trying to pull the skids out from under your beloved Aussie icon.

I'm talking of course about the Mazda Nagare. This Johnny-come-lately concept car/showcar arrived on the scene last year and immediately became known not so much for its future-shock design (actually it's pretty nice) but more for the tornado of public debate it created over the the origins of the word Nagari.

For some extraordinary reason, normally sane people sided with Nippon on this one. Suspicious fingers were pointed at Bolwell - could they have just 'adapted' a Japanese name, called it 'Aboriginal' and made it an instant Aussie icon?

A few factors were conspiring to promote this bizarre conspiracy theory. First, it was an'amazing' coincidence that Nagare (Japanese) and Nagari (Aboriginal/Australian) could both mean 'flowing'. Next, since the Japanese written culture was embedded with plenty of references, surely it had to have come first? There again, Campbell Bolwell, when quizzed on it, had only a vague memory that he 'got it out of a book of Aboriginal words' at the time. (When I pressed him on this, he admitted the reference book 'had long since gone'). Another unhelpful factor was the apparent absence of any word Nagari in the most popular Aboriginal Dictionaries (this subject alone is worth an encyclopaedic treatise). On the other hand the Japanese designer could quote chapter and verse on the origins of 'his' Nagare. (Interesting that nobody bothered to check him out).

For the record, this is what van den Acker (the designer) actually said: 'Nagare is one of a hundred or more Japanese words that describe the embodiment of motion - such as how wind shapes desert sand, the way currents stir the ocean's floor or the way waves lap at the shores of a lake'. He didn't describe it as 'flowing', but some of the Mazda PR flunkies - in the interests of brevity - apparently did.

In truth, there does not appear to be any word Nagare in Japanese that means 'flowing'. To check it out we input nagare into eight different on-line translators and most produced 'stream', while some added 'current'. Not too far a jump to 'flowing' but not actually 'flowing'.

We also checked out some Japanese language coaching schools (two in Australia, two in Tokyo), and the Sydney Japanese School - all said 'stream'. When we reverse-searched (using 'flowing'), there was no nagare. However when we asked the schools they said 'Ah so, someone is adding another syllable or word such as nagare-ru - that could mean 'flowing'. Nagare-ru or Nagareru is indeed a Japanese word which, when translated into English means 'free flowing'. However it is not used in the physical sense, but in the abstract sense, such as in martial arts (free flowing movements) or spiritual (the flow of spirit/s).

Since you probably have a headache by now, I won't go much further down the Japanese road except to note that (a) there are three different forms of the language and (b) words tend to be formed phonetically (that is by their sounds) rather than by their spelling (so a word that sounds like 'Nagari' could be spelt in many different ways, some of which wouldn't resemble 'Nagare' at all). Finally, to confuse things further there is a character in the popular and controversial Japanese Manga cartoon series called 'Nagare'. It also appears in a Manga-style video game where it is used to communicate the concept of 'Ki' or 'energy'. Again - could be interpreted as 'flowing'.

Now let's rewind a few millennium and look for some 'origins'. If you Google 'Nagari' you will get a few million references and hundreds of thousands of them are Indian. You will find Villages and Towns, Counties and States, you will find a type of dance, you will find Christian (?) and surnames, music, highways, rituals and festivals. In fact, if you want to do BIG NAGARI try this one on - the largest religious festivals in the world are held in India where temporary cities for between 5 and 70 million pilgrims (yes, that is MILLION) are set-up in selected areas every 4 years. One of them, the Kumbh Nagari had 25 million Pilgrims. Almost as many as a Bolwell Car Club meeting....not...

The reason for the prominence of the word Nagari in India is the fact that it is derived from an Indian language or script - Deva-Nagari, which is derived from the Neo-Brahmic scripts of central Asia, with geneses in Nepalese, Tamil, Thai, Laotian, Javanese, Balinese etc. Deva-Nagari can be traced to the 8th Century, but its predecessors can be tracked thousands of years in written forms with much of the alphabet, vocabulary and grammar similar to original Sanskrit.

Nagari in Brahman is a singular feminine adjective meaning 'urban' or 'city'. Deva-nagari means Royal City. OK, a long way from flowing, but try to stay with me here...

If you go back to the end of the last ice age (which ended about 10,000 years ago) the Asian continent was joined to much of Indonesia, to New Guinea, and to northern Australia (Tasmania in the south was also part of the mainland). It was rising sea levels from the icemelt that divvied them up into the island structures we know now.

If you track 'Nagari' in Asia, you will find it occurring right across Nepal, Tibet, down through Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia (AndraPradesh-Tamil) and across into Indonesia (Nagari is a system of government in West Sumatra). In Mingagnkabau culture it is a large village with satellites.

Prior to the end of the iceage, there was land passage from Asia to Australia and many anthropologists believe that the aboriginal people migrated from somewhere in Asia until the iceage put a big moat around Australia and the Aboriginal people were cut off, creating their own unique culture. So if aboriginal languages owe anything to any other culture it is more likely to be the middle-Asian ones (and anyway, even Japan probably got some of its language and culture from middle Asia).

So that means we ought to be able to find our chosen word (Nagari) in some aboriginal language.

OK, but before we go there, let's consider something else. The aboriginal people didn't actually have libraries and dictionaries and they didn't even have tablets and stone lettering and such. So none of this stuff (words, sounds) got written down.

We all know what happens when you play 'Chinese whispers', just with a small group in the same room. How about 'Aboriginal Chinese whispers' played out over thousands of years, across a land of millions of square kilometres, with hundreds of languages (over 270 Aboriginal languages have been identified).... Get the picture?

Then along comes white man. Communication with the black man immediately became a priority in many communities, and if you look at our slim and sparse history, you will find hundreds of attempts by white man to document aboriginal language.

Now think about this. You are sitting around the campfire, you have your little notebook and you are pointing at things, getting strange and unfamiliar aural responses from your dusky colleagues, and you are trying to write them down. Lets say someone points at a river and you get something like 'Nah-gar-ree'. So how do you write it down? Here's some suggestions...
(Actually - these are All real aboriginal words).

And that's before you have another drink or get whacked in the ear with a nulla nulla. Speaking of which, some authorities assure us that this is how the aboriginal weapon is spelled. Others assert that it is absolutely, positively spelled nula...or is it nala or....

OK, so now you probably wish Bolwell had just stuck with numbers and called it the Mk8. But you may also be getting a bit of a handle on the situation...

So how about those 'authorities'....

One of the most popular reference books is the Macquarie Aboriginal Dictionary. Its authors assert it is 'authentic' but for all that it only covers a handful of the 270 aboriginal languages and hundreds of dialects. And - surprise, surprise - it does NOT have the word Nagari. Not as such. So does this mean Nagari doesn't exist? Hardly. Here's an example of some other 'well known aboriginal words' that DO NOT EXIST at all in the Macquarie Dictionary (at least not in aboriginal form)...
(etc - there are scores of examples).

So if Macquarie doesn't have Kangaroo and Boomerang, fat chance of Nagari or (worse) Ikara huh?

There are scores of reference books on aboriginal languages and I have skimmed through many of them. I once went through 38 at a single sitting and didn't find one 'Nagari'. But then I still hadn't covered more than about 50 of the 270 languages. I did find some extraordinarily similar words with some amazingly varied meanings. Here we go...
Ngare - white ant/termite (Kabi - South Queensland)
Ngari - dance (Yugumbir - South Queensland)
Ngarri - name (Yugumbir - South Queensland)
Ngari - mine (Wakka - South Queensland)
So there. Four different versions of 'na-gar-ree', all completely different meanings and all from tribes just in south-east Queensland. Gives you an idea of the size of the problem.

But wait, there's more...

The Paakantyi people from out near Cobar use Ngari as a 'mine' and Nguri (similar pronunciation) as 'grease'. Some other words, from other languages...
Ngarra - corners of the mouth
Ngarrai - sleep
Ngarri, ngarri - breathing fast (as opposed to you, who are now almost asleep)
Ngarrie - honey
Ngaria - black swan
Ngarri - rope
Nakarri - black swan
Ngaree - awake
Ngarri - casuarina
Ngare - duck
Ngarri - to sit
Ngare - to give
Ngarri - half sewn
Ngarree - childish
Ngairi - sky (oh yes, and Ikari and Ikara are also 'sky' in other languages)

Lots of Nagari look-alikes and sound-alikes but still no 'flowing'...
Somewhat suspiciously we found several hundred words beginning with ngarr, many of which belong to the 'Dreamtime'. Difficult to imagine accurate translations from something that comes under that sort of heading...

But where there's life there's hope, and just short of giving up, there it was...

NAGARI - flow

The reference is
Australian Aboriginal Words and Place Names and Their Meanings.
Compiled by Sydney J Endacott
By Acacia Press
(Ref: Page 249)

The first editions of the book were 1949-1959.
But it also appears to have been reprinted in the late 60s when it was popular as a tool for people to name outback properties/farms, houses, even children. And just about perfect timing for one Campbell Bolwell to lift from a local bookshelf, scan through 3000-odd entries and settle on...Nagari. (By the way, Campbell can't remember if he picked it for the sound of the name itself or the concept of 'flowing'). and does it matter?

As you probably know, there were no Henry Fords amongst the aborigines, and they certainly weren't tearing around the countryside in jalopies. So it was quite interesting to find another genuine automotive connection with the name...Woy Woy, on the Central Coast, north of Sydney, has its very own Nagari Road.

So there.

What about Ikara? Campbell Bolwell says it was named after the missile program at Woomera. He is well supported by the Feds who describe Ikara as 'an Australian designed and manufactured anti-submarine guided weapon system' and 'named after an aboriginal word meaning throwing stick'.

There is no such word as Ikara in the Macquarie Aboriginal Dictionary or in dozens of other aboriginal reference works, but let's look at the possibilities....

OK. OK, let's not.
Maybe next time.

*Rob Luck

A110 kits

Here's another page that Beven has managed to dig out of his archives or somewhere.
Must be about 20-odd years ago at least. Beven says that Robert Lee is still around the place. That little Alpine business was quite a viable one all those years ago. Paul Tolcher was an old mate of mine. He's somewhere in the Eastern states these days. Paul is one of all those brothers that formed Team Tolcher with their dad, Vern, an equal number of years ago. Team Tolcher was a rally team that was a pretty slick operation and were actually SA rally champions back when the Mark 2 Escort was the gun car.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The real B8/82

B8/82 left the factory as a coupe painted Condor Green and was sold new to a Sydney buyer. It later became two-tone black and gold and here's a photo of the car taken by Mark Cleaves in the early 80s, for sale secondhand, at John Thompson Performance Cars on Parramatta Road, a sports car purveyor of the era. So many Nagaris passed through those premises it was uncanny.
This car was bought by a young man who subsequently smashed it up rather badly. The wreck was bought by Tony Briton and here it is in his carport in Canberra.
Tony took the remains to Fibrecar and he and Royce rebuilt it. The blue back section in this picture was from another wreck found on a farm in Yass, I thought, although Peter G tells me that it was a Nagari racecar. That's Tony working on the car at Royce's. I was told that the body remains in the background was another Canberra car (Bob Henry's B8/48) which was turned by Fibrecar into a yellow sports, but it could just as easily be B8/107, yet another silver coupe originating in Canberra that is now a red sports living in Sydney. Both cars were accident damaged coupes acquired by Royce and rebodied as convertibles.
Anyway, B8/82 became a "silver coupe". I'm not sure of the circumstances but it was acquired by Dave Jackson of Melbourne who's had it for many years. That's Dave walking towards the car and nearby is Peter Bartolo (the Victorian Peter Bartolo - ex B8/35). During the rebuild the car acquired a bonnet with the old style narrow bulge.
The final photo is of the car in Peter G's old garage, now sporting the yet unpainted more appropriate bonnet.

Don't anyone complain about a Bolwell wiring diagram ever!

Here's a TVR Grantura one.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I just want to congratulate a few people who are going to be up for awards following the Classic Adelaide last month. Firstly, the following officials, Tony Earl, Cliff Haynes, Andrew Low, Debbie Reynolds, Glenn Whitburn and Neville Whittenbury who will be receiving their 5 year awards, and secondly, Jamie Denton, Lynton Denton, Stephen Mutton and Erik Talmet who will be among the recipients of 10 year awards.

The Nagari doors part 3

.........and just a couple of days later, another advancement.

The Nagari doors part 2

Now I know! Apparently the doors were so out of shape they were almost impossible to deal with. So Ramon has been building new doors, bit by bit. Here they have moved on to another stage.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Scarab (the Australian one).

Beven came across this when going through a pile of old papers. It's from long enough ago that there is no "8" at the front of the telephone number.
I remember a car similar to this (maybe the same) being produced on the Port Road. Then I recall the moulds being for sale. No idea where it went from there. A check of the white pages shows that telephone number allocated to a winery in McLaren Vale. Maybe it's the same people, maybe not. What is it about wineries and "specials"? Remember that gull-wing, wedge shaped car at Brands' "Laira" winery in the early 70s? Maybe they have time on their hands in the "off" season.
I said "the Australian one" because there are at least 2 American cars that have used that name that I know of. Strange, because my dictionary tells me that a scarab is a dung beetle. The first one was a Formula 1 car, the brainchild of Lance Reventlow. 2 front engined cars were produced and one of them did the 1959 F1 season. For 1960, an entirely new rear engined F1 car was made. It raced only once, in a Formula Libre race at Sandown, in Australia. It was powered at that time by an aluminium 3.5 litre Buick V8. That engine subsequently went into Bib Stillwell's Cooper Monaco and still exists today in an historic Rennmax sports car. Meanwhile, Lance went back to the US with his engineless Scarab to face Internal Revenue charges I believe. The Formula 1 cars still exist as do a couple of Scarab sports cars, one of which makes an annual appearance at the Monterey Speed Week. The other Scarab is a 240Z with modified bodywork and suspension and Chev 350 cu. in. V8, examples of which are relatively common around California.

A snippet from the UK.

This appeared in the Dec.,2009 edition of Sports and Classic magazine.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Front end rebuild

Look at all the bits you need to rebuild your LX front end. Isn't that amazing!

....and the office.

and this has nothing to do with anything but more flowers came out in the cactus patch last night and I think they look beaut.