Monday, March 30, 2009

Reduced for quick sale

I see the Ron Cheeseman Nagari is now down to $68,000. Ring Ron on 0419 655425 or check it out on Carpoint for more details.

The Mighty Vanguard.

This extremely well restored series 2 Vanguard belongs to a former Nagari owner who lives on the Gold Coast. How he came to "progress" from a Bolwell to a Standard Vanguard is unclear but there are others who have advanced the opposite way, myself included. My first encounter with the Vanguard was when I was a member of the TSOA in the 60s. When a young woman I knew rolled my 100/4 Healey (with me in it) I replaced it with a TR2. Many people are amazed when I say I had no regrets in moving from such a beautiful car to one considered less so but in my opinion the TR handled better and had a better turn of speed - so there! Anyway, I joined the TSOA which I found to be a very motorsport oriented club (as were most of the sportscar clubs back then - and the rivalry among them was huge). Most of the TR2, TR3 and TR3A owners in the club seemed to have a humpy Vanguard as their everyday car. Both the TR and the Morgan Plus 4 (and the Ferguson tractor as Garry Warren liked to point out when he bought his Fergie) used a derivative of the Standard Vanguard motor which was a four cylinder, but quite a big one (about the size of a grey Holden 6). So apart from being excellent tow cars, they were handy for nicking the odd bit from to keep the Triumph going. I heard Ron Westren enthusing recently about this although I'm sure he was a member of the MGCC at the time - When the very first 6 hour relay race was proposed at Winton, the guys in the TSOA-SA decided to enter a team of Vanguards, just for a bit of fun. Anyway, they subsequently went on to win the whole thing.
The Standard and Triumph gearboxes to me are quite distinctive and have a really nice feel to them. I continued to have the odd Vanguard right up to the six cylinder, four speed version (forerunner to the Triumph 2000) we had as a family car at the same time as the Mark 5. When I lost patience with the 3 speed Holden box I bought a gearbox from a TR3A which, with the electric overdrive unit on the back of it meant that the tailshaft had to be only about 6 inches long. Also with the normal Triumph remote control unit it would mean reaching into the back to change gear. Even shortening it to the max still wasn't quite good enough. Vanguard to the rescue. The gearchange went straight into the top of the box so it was just a matter of bolting the gearbox top on and cutting off the big long bent gearstick which would have touched the roof.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Brian's Mark 7

A while back, when BD's MK.7 appeared in some group photos, Pete G said it would be good to see a profile shot of the car. I didn't have one but was able to take a couple yesterday. We had an impromptu fundraising BBQ at the Autobarn on Sir Donald Bradman Drive. In the first photo, the height of the rear is noticeable against the tail of Roger's soft-top. It looks pretty racey in this shot with its flat bonnet etc. It is powered by an XU1, complete with triple Strombergs, which is mounted fairly low in the chassis and set well back.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Remember in the comments somewhere I said the Milano GT wasn't the only JWF in Europe? Here's the other one, an Italia GT, racing as an historic sportscar in England.

A cool Corvette

Roger T sent me these photos with the comment "how's this for a fibreglass sports car?" I remember seeing them somewhere else before but there may be others who haven't and they are certainly worth sharing. It was built by someone who loved the features of the 1959 Chevy and decided to incorporate them into the very latest Corvette. I think the results are fantastic. If I remember correctly there was limited production planned. The 1959 Chev was assembled in Australia, only in one 4-door model and only with the Blue Flame engine. I think they arrived from America in CKD form so they were kit-cars in a way.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to inflate a tyre.

Chris G sent me this one a couple of weeks ago. It's worth a look. Now for an admission. I've been all night trying to post a short video about Peter Wherrett and it won't go so I thought I'd try another one just to try and prove that I'm not completely useless. Well, I'm not completely useless - just fairly useless.

Mark 7 replica

We've all been aware of the odd Nagari replica and Mark 4 replica but how many people are aware of Mark 7 replicas? The photo below was taken in 1978. The car has a very well constructed chassis which was a copy of a Mk.7 chassis. At the time of the photograph the body was brand new. It was not a Victorian club car I dare to say because the rear window was not rounded at the corners. The window frames on the doors were rounded and the bonnet was cut out to facilitate a V8 (although it has a Holden 6 in it these days). The car was found on a farm south of Warragul and eventually sold to a couple of brothers in Pinnaroo. Ringing any bells? Yes, it resides in South Australia's South East and we are hoping to see it again this Easter in Tanunda.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Valano

Peter G found an article on the Valano in the July 1965 SCW. Happy reading. well as this photograph of it in a newer colour scheme.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Yesterday, Chris Gascoigne sent me this email with the title "Milanos and suchlike":-
"If it's any help I remember a beastie called the Valano - I don't know what model it was but it was a Milano with a Valiant slope 6 in it. I know of the car because it competed in some sprints (I think they were standing 1/4 miles times) and my Father made himself unpopular as a scrutineer by reckoning there was some irregularity with the engine - I think it was to do with size. (I guess for the question to have arisen it must have been pretty quick.) Anyway the upshot of it was that the poor bastard had to pull it down in our back yard. I don't know what the outcome was. Believe it or not I was a bit young at the time."

You are so very right, Chris. It was a very quick car in those days. The word 'awesome' hadn't emerged back then, but if it had, it would have been used for the Valano's performance I'm sure. Avid readers of this blog (if they exist) would have noted that I have mentioned it in a bit of rambling about my days at Chrysler Australia Ltd. in the early to mid sixties. Even though the factory was established at Tonsley Park, our offices where administration, experimental, motorsport, publicity etc. operated from was at Maple Avenue, Keswick where LeCornus are now. This was the site of the T.J.Richards motor body factory prior to the Chrysler take-over. It was a great place to be for a young man with an emerging interest in all sorts of different machines (I would have been driving to work in a Vauxhall Vagabond convertible or a 1926 Buick tourer back then). In the department where I worked we had to deal with many interesting items like the Chrysler jet car and the rare (to us Aussies) Plymouth Barracuda. Among the vehicles that we used for publicity because of its Valiant engine was the Valano. I'm certain that I personally did not get to drive it but I do have recollections of the difficulty in squeezing into the driver's seat despite being lots more agile than I am now. I seem to recall taking a photo of it one day. It wasn't easy to have a camera in those areas. Anyway, I can't find the photograph any more. I wonder if Bernie Van Elsen may have. I don't even know if he keeps a photograph archive. I know Mike Connell at Orange Photography does (or did). Bernie used to be the photographer for Chryslers, producing the photographs for their brochures. So the only picture I could come up with was the Valano at Collingrove at about the same time. You will notice that it is just that tiny bit out of shape. It had lots of power and a relatively short wheelbase and was a bit of a handful if I recall. In more recent times there was a bloke in the Barossa who ran a Milano GT1 up there and at Mallala in Historic events that was just as powerful and just as hard to keep pointed in the right direction. In fact Norm had to do the odd job on the bodywork to attest to that.

Monday, March 23, 2009

On Four Wheels

Yes it's on 4 wheels now.That's a nice feeling.

Earlier Milano GTs

Well, I said I'd post a picture of the earlier GT but you probably didn't expect me to go to Switzerland for it. This car belongs to Bruno von Rotz who describes himself as a "petrolhead from Switzerland". Only a few weeks ago I noticed that Jane Sanders had posted a series of photos on the last Goodwood Revival meeting on Flickr that included this very car. Bruno contacted me after reading the GT2 post yesterday. He, of course, is very keen to gather up as much information as he can about his car's history and about the JWF marque in general. I'm sure we can help him out can't we? I see it has NSW on the side and also a 179 badge. It is the 3rd Milano GT built and apparently raced in Prodsports in the early 70s powered by a Buick V8. Among others, I am hoping when Peter Smeets and Steve Rowley read this their Milano recollections will go to work.
In addition to the Milano, Bruno has 3 TVRs, a Grantura, a Tuscan V8 and a 3000S as well as a Devin-Triumph. Devin was a builder of fibreglass bodies in the US and Bruno's example is mounted on a Triumph TR3. It bears a remarkable resemblance to the Milano roadster which, I've heard, is no coincidence. Devin also built complete cars. I really like TVRs. Don't be surprised to see the odd TVR and Devin thread in future.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


More inspiration from Peter's Sydney Seaforth GP photos. This time the Milano GT2. The GT2, in my opinion was a relatively simple car yet for 3 years in NSW was a front runner in sports car racing among some very formidable company. Milanos were the most popular of the various kit cars built by JWF through the late 50s to early 60s. The Milano started as an open car but later they came up with a roofed version and called it the Milano GT. The name JWF came from the three partners, "Sam" Johnson, Geoff Williams and Grant Furzer but by 1962 Geoff and Grant had gone their separate ways. Sam continued on with the JWF fibreglass business, moving away from sports car bodies and concentrating more on industrial products (does this sound familiar?). However he did go motor racing with a couple of mates, earthmoving contractor Bruce Leer and Moss Angliss. Sam and Bruce ran 179 powered Milano GTs on fabricated twin tubed chassis and Moss raced a Lotus Super 7. For those that don't know the original Milano GTs looked nothing like the GT2 and maybe I'd better post some photos later. After a lapse in racing for Sam and Bruce, they became bitten by the bug again probably inspired by the bits in the workshop left over from the racing days. They were also inspired by the success Moss was having with his clubman and thought about how that style of car would go with a 179 in it. The GT2 doesn't look much like a clubman but you will notice that the cars have long noses and the driver sits right back in the clubman position. Two cars were built, Sam doing the bodies and Bruce doing the chassis. Some of the bodywork was actually bonded to the chassis for additional strength. The cars were ready to race in late 1970. By then Sam's wife didn't like him racing any more and Moss, who had helped build the second chassis, mainly drove Sam's car. Both cars were painted black and looked stunning. The motors were almost standard apart from being fitted with triple one and three quarter inch SUs. Yet they were front runners. I used to follow their performances with enthusiasm, often through the pages of RCN and Auto Action. In 1972 in round 3 of the Australian Sports Car Championship at Warwick Farm, Bruce came a creditable 6th and Moss 7th behind such cars as the Elfin 360s of South Australians Phil Moore (3rd) and Henry Michell (5th) and the Elfin ME5 of Charlie Occhipinti (4th). The ME5 is the awesome car that we are now following with equal enthusiasm in the hands of Trevor Lambert. When the emphasis in sportscar racing shifted to Production Sportscars, you might recall Charlie came out with that monstrous Corvette and to this day, Chris Clearihan is still grumbling about Charlie flipping his ex-Canon Nagari at Hume Weir as he came up to lap him resulting in the car being rebodied in LHD form. I've digressed so much that I might as well do so even more. On the subject of the 1972 championship, in round 5, 7th place was taken by Barry Coleman in a Bolwell Mark 7 which might be of some interest to the friends of Dave Hamlin. Meanwhile, back at the GT2, pressure came from everywhere for replicas to be made but Sam was adamant that they just weren't viable as they would be too much work. There was just one exception. A cousin of Frank Matich was able to convince them to build a third car for him and that car is still around today in the hands of Scott Whittaker I believe. In 1973 both works cars went to Western Australia. Firstly Sam's car, but it wasn't long before the new owner pranged it and wanted to buy Bruce's which went over there too. I'm not sure which car it is but former NSW Bolwell Cub president, Andrew Kluver, owns this GT2 below. It would be great to hear from Andrew about the recent history of his car.
In more recent times I came across Bruce Leer when he came to SA for a round of the speedcar championship with his speedway team. I have a feeling he was building speedcars and supporting his son in that endeavour as was my old friend Bruce Howle (another Bruce from Sydney).

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Jim S is wondering if this house is owned by a car collector. Must be a car collector who's lost his licence. It reminds me of a bloke in Adelaide who built up an Austin 7 in his loungeroom. He had to knock out a wall to get it out. I can't talk. When I was a teenager I built an engine in my bedroom.

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Seaforth - Ferraris this time

A few more of those photos from Peter G - a couple of great Ferraris including the legendary Scuderia Veloce 250LM. Peter poses the question "Do you think that Bolwell may have taken inspiration from the nose of the LM?"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

GSM sports cars

While searching for the missing Ikara that was sold new to a customer in South Africa, I have been contacting sports car club secretaries over there and searching websites. In my search I have found a South African sports car that I knew nothing about - excuse my ignorance. It is the GSM (Glass Sports Motors). These cars were designed and developed by 3 South Africans, Bob van Niekerk (a well known racing driver), Willie Meissner (an automotive engineer) and Verster de Wit (a car designer). They were produced from 1957 to 1964 and aerodynamically were considered way ahead of their time. They were raced successfully in both South Africa and England. Two models were produced, the Dart and the Flamingo. 116 GSM Darts were produced in Cape Town and over 60 in England (where they were called the GSM Delta). Approximately 128 GSM Flamingos were built in Cape Town. They were powered by 4-cylinder Ford Cortina engines, 1200cc at the beginning before moving on to the 1500cc unit. There does exist a prototype V8 with a Ford 260 cubic inch engine and overdrive gearbox which was built in 1964, just prior to when production stopped.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Customline station wagons

A few weeks ago, Feb. 22nd to be exact, a pile of interesting cars turned up in Kapunda's main street. It was the Gawler Car Club looking for morning tea on their way to the Barossa Junction motor museum (** see note below). Little did they know that on a Sunday morning only one of the 4 cafes in town would be open, at least until after church. The pubs are all open though. Maybe it was a bit early to be hanging out in a pub. Anyway, what caught my eye was a red and white Cusso wagon but while I was digging out my camera it drove off. Thanks to Trevor Unsworth who seems to photograph anything that moves, and with his permission of course, I nicked this picture of the wagon from the Gawler Club's report on that run (see links). My interest was, although it is a very rare vehicle in this country, compared to the sedans, it looks identical to one that is in our club, belonging to Peter R who has a farm property in Keith.
**The museum at Barossa Junction, in addition to the large array of Ariel motorbikes, is a comprehensive collection of Chevrolets, so complete that it even includes one of the Chev V8s made in 1917-18. A lot of people didn't realise that Chevs made a V8 way back then. It's a pity others don't share my interest in vehicles so diverse or we could have gone and had a look at Easter time.

Great site.

Jim Shanahan passed on a link to a "great site". well, that's my opinion anyway. I've just been browsing and enjoying the interesting cars for sale cheaply in America. I'll put it in the links shortly. Meanwhile, take a look at

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Learning all the time

So this is how you lock a diff. This is the one out of the V8 Mk.7. It's lead I think. Nope, it's aluminium according to Steve.


Earlier in the month Peter G sent me some photos from the Seaforth GP (Grand Parade) about the mid to late 80s. Among them was a couple of pictures of a fairly rare DeTomaso Vallelunga. The Vallelunga preceded the Mangusta and only about 50 or so were produced (in 1965-66). Peter made the comment that the rear window would be of similar size and shape to a Mark 5. There are though, other Bolwell characteristics in my opinion. Like the apparently well built fibreglass body and the backbone chassis. I have read that there have been long arguments about who came up with the chassis idea first, Allesandro DeTomaso or Colin Chapman. I believe Chapman wins. These cars were powered by 4-cylinder Ford Cortina units, mid mounted, and used Volksy transaxles with Hewland gear sets.
Here's a couple of other thumbnails of another Vallelunga living in California.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Coming Together

It's been a long saga but the diff for the V8 Mk.7 is almost together and going in. I really admire Colin L's patience, feeding all those tiny little rollers down those grooves. I'd have lost patience ages ago. The next patience tester happened today when that horizontal coil spring went "sprong!" and Colin's got a lump on his forehead like an egg. Below is the offending diff about to be manoevred into place.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The South-East Flyer

This is the historic racing car Steve is rebuilding. Read all about it in the next edition of Slipstream SA.

Off the air.

I've been off the air for a few days, reason being I haven't been near a computer much (the laptop's still coming). On Thursday Andrew and I set off fairly early to go down to Casterton for the funeral of my long time mate and former business partner, Jim Kelly. Jim was an Austin Healey man to the end. His particular Healey was a reasonably well known Australian special called the MelMac (built and raced by Mel McEwin) and started life as a 100/4 but has a great big Rootes supercharger from a Commer Knocker mounted ahead of the engine with two carbies sitting on top and modified front bodywork. No Robbie, it won't be for sale. Jim has 5 sons and it is their intention to restore the car and keep it in his honour.
I took the photo below to show Chocko, my little chocolate coloured kelpie, where her heritage began, and all my kelpie owning friends can do likewise. On the way home we detoured slightly via Mt. Gambier and called in on Pat and Alec at their heating/cooling shop in Sturt Street. The matt black Mk.7 was tucked away out the back where the big hatchback is undergoing modification and the old VG Valiant ute fuel tank is being replaced with a purpose built aluminium one. This is it in the car and about to be hooked up.
Those who went along last Easter will have seen it but lots haven't - their ceramic reproduction of their car. The guy who does them has a website and I'll see if I can get hold of it and post it in the links. He only charges about $150, I think, for these personalised little beauties. It's plain to see that this is the Hamilton Mk.7 with the correct flares, wheels, front grille, bonnet scoop, door window frames, hatchback hinges, numberplate etc.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pretty in Orange

Doesn't the new Bolwell orange look great! My favourite colour for a Bolwell.Maybe they've had a premonition that I'm about to win lotto. I'd better buy a ticket.

Easter in the Barossa

For and on behalf of the Bolwell clubs I'm going to outline the program for the Easter weekend. And the reason I'm doing this is to enable or encourage those who are not staying for the whole weekend to come to any of the activities that they may choose. That's why I am including the cost of the various lunches and dinners. If you want to come along to one or more of these activities please let me know so that we can provide for you. My telephone number is 0413 226 009 and my email address is PROGRAM
Good Friday, 10th April 2009
From 3 pm onwards guests will arrive at the Weintal Resort, Murray Street, Tanunda and the garden and tavern area will be open and licenced from 3 pm to 11 pm for the exclusive use of the Bolwell group with a BBQ taking place in this area.
Saturday, 11th April 2009
At 9 am assemble for a drive to the concours venue. This run will take in many worthwhile spots. The concours is to be held at the National Motor Museum at Birdwood on a nice little patch of grass across the river. There is a hut at this site where we will be having lunch which is provided for us by the FJ Cafe. The lunch cost is $15 per person. Admission to the Exhibition Hall will be provided free to everyone in our group. The "fun run" competition will be on foot in the museum. This will be followed by another "scenic" ride back to the Weintal to get ready for the dinner that night. At 6.30 pm approximately we'll gather for a stroll up the road to the Tanunda Club (now referred to as "the Clubhouse") for the Saturday night dinner - walking distance for most but there are inexpensive minibuses and taxis for the others. This fixed price dinner is $16 per person plus drinks.
Sunday, 12th April 2009
9.30 am drive to the gymkhana site at Nuriootpa. Lunch will be Maggie Beer packs at the gymkhana site. Lunches are $18.50 or $7 for kids. The presentation dinner that night is at the Weintal Resort and the cost for this, outside the package, is $79 and includes 4 hours of drinks or $27.50 for kids with 4 hours of soft drinks.
Monday, 13th April 2009
9.30 am is traditionally farewell time but there is the option of going to the Collingrove Hillclimb for those staying on.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Love the Beast

Haven't seen the movie yet. It comes out on Thursday. I've read a few reviews though. Can't you relate to it? Eric's a bit younger than some of us (OK, I'll speak for myself) but there are quite a few Mark 7 builders going way back, who had the mates around while the car was being built and ended up all feeling they were (and are) part of the car. He'd have been a good Bolwell owner. I guess it's all relative. My youngest son is almost 10 years younger than Eric and when he was building up his rotaries all of his friends were in the shed and part of it. The world continues on, only the cars change. The movie would be a good one to go to as a group. Unfortunately the previews finished yesterday. Eric used to be over for the Classic Adelaide a few times, the last couple driving a Porsche 944. That Falcon used to be white. Below is the photo Eric submitted for the entry book for the 2002 Classic.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Escort RS2000

Again from Matt J:-
I thought you may like to see the injection manifold, etc that George built for my RS2000 coupe. It was George that pushed me this way and I am really happy with everything he did including injection, Wolf computer, narrowed disc brake limited slip Borg Warner, Wilwood 4 spot brakes etc, etc. I have attached a pic of the of the engine bay.......looks nice and tidy with the injectors hidden underneath and 4 coils and 4 ignitors hidden under dash. George did away with the distributor and set up a crank angle sensor instead.....have I mentioned how good he is???? Also I greatly appreciated the time he took to iron out the 'bugs' once the car was trimmed and completed (bugs were in my work...not his!)