Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More on the yellow Mark 7

From Peter has come a follow-up to an earlier post today.
"Thought I might provide a bit more information about the car and the roofline. The roof was raised about 25mm at the B pillar. The floor was lowered 25mm under the seats. This work was done by Richard prior to my purchasing the car. The seats are 928 Porsche and were gutted and custom fitted to me by the upholsterer to be as low to the floor as possible. I really needed the room. With a helmet on my head still touches the roof.

On the basis of your before and after photos I thought I might include 2 of the interior as well as a profile shot. By the way it's the same steering wheel in both shots.

Also thanks for the help with registration as the car has passed and is now registered."
I was wondering about the rego. I'm glad that part is out of the way. Doesn't time fly. Jane and I were up in Brisbane when Richard was doing the alterations to the roofline. He's a very tall man. That was about 10 years ago now. Makes me think I'd better get cracking on my cars. They won't be much use to me in Resthaven.

Car cleaning products

Not being an Amway person, it's taken me 18 years to discover this page of their catalog. Have all of the collectors of everything Bolwell got this one? Already the car has been identified as B8/73 which is the red one at the head of these pages.

The Kordic Mark 7 V8

Following the previous post, Peter sent me this photo of his completed car. The suspension problems were sorted prior to to the Cootha Classic. However, a bearing went in the diff and wasn't able to be replaced in time. "Believe it or not the diff was the only thing I did not completely rebuild as we did the car. Murphy's law I guess. Still sorting through a lot of minor bugs though."
I think the finished car looks magnificent don't you? The revised roof line is evident but also looks good. Below is a photo of the same car taken before Peter bought it. It was taken by a Queensland dairy farmer, "Elgindale", a Flickr friend who posted it for a while in the "Australian Specials" group. "Elgindale" and I seem to share an interest in windmills, Chamberlain tractors and old International trucks among other things. He's heavily into Peugeots. He took the Bolwell photo at a field day. The Prolube sticker and the number plate leaves no doubt who the owner was at the time.
For further clues, if you need them, are evident in this little display that accompanied the car.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mt. Coot-tha hillclimb

This is the inaugural hillclimb at Mt. Coot-tha and is called the Cootha Classic (don't ask me about the spelling, I'm only a croweater although I haven't eaten much crow lately). This is not to be confused with the other UQ hillclimb on the same road which is an event for pushbikes. There was a hillclimb there for a few years after WW1 and the records show that the likes of Boyd Edkins and Wizard Smith with their famous Vauxhall and Essex record-breakers respectively were the ones to beat. However Mount Coot-Tha was called One Tree Hill then. Mt. Coot-Tha is a national park very close to Brisbane and when you get to the top you can look out over the Brisbane skyscrapers not far away - a bit like Windy Point or Mt. Lofty. There was a fabulous entry for this event run by the HRCC(Qld.) and here are some significant ones. There were actually 3 Bolwells entered but the yellow one was "no appearance your honour". This was the V8 Mk.7 of Peter Kordic. He had run the car at the Mt. Cotton venue a week or two earlier but there were problems with the suspension being set too low so maybe the adjustments hadn't been made.
If you Google Mt. Coot-tha you'll find lots of Flickr albums and magazine reports but Mike Coppola lets me use his pictures. You'll notice a link to his gallery on the right. If you want to buy any of his photos, I can't believe how inexpensive they are, starting at about $3.00. Michael is an ex-pat South Aussie and MX5 Club/MSCA member. I know Peter Hall has shown him where to to get all the best shots at Mallala.
Anyway, here's Jim Fogerty in his smart looking Mark 7. This was before he tangled with the barrier. Fortunately John Davies had a nice big roll of red racetape left over from taping his headlights so Jim was able to get another run although I believe he's up for a new nose now. Those vents behind the rear quarter windows look interesting. Click and enlarge. Here's John in good old B8/26 getting another outing.
This is the Hinton Milano GT. Look at the power bulge. This might be the one with the Chev V8 in it maybe. I heard there's 3 JWFs in the Hinton family.
For Gordon Cowley's benefit here's the Rochdale Olympic owned by the editor/publisher of RACE magazine (a good read). There's some Youtube footage of this car in the video bar.And I had to show you this - the Suzuki Might Boy. I was looking around for a Mighty Boy to make an electric car but this looks like more fun. It would need a decent cage in it though, I hear they were made out of jam tins. In their day they were deemed to be the most unsafe car on Australian roads.

Le Mans here we come

Last night while I was contemplating the previous post about Le Mans, an email arrived from Tom Drewer containing his latest press release (hot off the press see link below)
Tom is going great guns and has just been testing with Panoz Team PTG which probably means a step up to ALMS GT2 from Lites 1 and Lites 2. Next step Le Mans itself.
The press release is headed by this cartoon by the world's greatest motorsport cartoonist which will be in this week's edition of Auto Action. I just love Stonie's cartoons and the way he reads body language. Doesn't that just look so much like Vern Schuppan, with his hands in his pockets and that grin? Stonie co-ordinates the monthly "old farts" Friday lunches at The British and Vern turns up from time to time (so does Norm Beechey of late - he must be an honorary South Australian aging revhead).

This year's Le Mans

A couple of significant things about the 2009 Le Mans 24-hour. Firstly, Peugeot at last has climbed over the top of Audi and finally won the event outright. And they did it in fine style too, taking the quinella. Secondly, David Brabham, who has been around Le Mans for what seems like forever, with class wins and an outright second to his credit, has finally made it to the top step of the podium where he belongs. Last year and the year before, David won the GT1 class for Aston Martin.This Aston Martin wasn't in it for long and neither was the Lamborghini.
However, this smart looking GTP version stuck around much longer. That car is on my wishlist I reckon. I imagine getting it out every day to go down to Mo's to pick up the bread.
The last time Audi's stranglehold on Le Mans was broken was in 2003, by Bentley with the Speed 8 (below), and that was a one-two as well. After that, they withdrew from racing, having achieved their objective, a sixth Le Mans win, the fifth being with the Speed 6 in 1930. There were two teams running the Bentleys that year, the Joest team and the "British" team. David was driving the "British" car, which experienced electrical problems and only came second. As I mentioned before, he didn't get the chance to go one better as they closed it all up after a short 3 year program.
Audi must get some credit in all this because this massive Bentley V8 (hence the Speed 8) was Audi derived.
This Bentley is a magnificent looking unit and I'm sure it gets at least a demo run at the Goodwood Speed Week either now or soon. In the past, Le Mans cars make it onto the road on occasion (e.g. Bentley 3-litre, four and a half and Speed Six, the Talbots, Ford GT40s etc.). I'm waiting for a Speed Eight to turn up on a classic rally. In a way that's not all that extraordinary when you think about that bloke throwing all that money at turning the extra Veskanda (or is that one just a "Kanda"?) into a road car.

Friday, June 26, 2009


A couple of weeks ago I had an email from Michael Mira, a doctor who lives and works in the Balmain area. He was wondering (as you do) where his old Nagari might be. As it turned out I was reasonably familiar with his "old Nagari". He was able to tell me that he had "bought it in 1974 from a Dr. Opie in Turramurra who had had it built up by the garage in Haldon Street, Lakemba, the NSW Bolwell agents at the time. It had a warm 351 Cleveland (personally I'd say it was warmer than warm!), red in colour, green carpets and an airconditioner which extended through the bulk head into the boot. Can't remember the build number but, when it was sold to a Paramatta Rd dealer in 1980-1981 (to finance my final year of medicine) it was still registered OP 009."
Well, Michael's old car was B8/76. I recall Dr. Opie as being quite a character who already had a 302 powered Nagari that he used to race. When he decided on a road car it had to be much more powerful in case he had the need to outrun the cops.
Somebody in Brisbane bought it from the Paramatta Road dealer and eventually sold it to Peter Ingram-Jones in Cairns. Peter had the car for 20 years before Peter Schmidt from South Australia bought it in about 2006.
I sent Michael some photos of the car which were taken when it was living here with us in Kapunda for a while so I thought I'd share them with everybody else, see below.
They look fairly nice when you click on them to enlarge them. So nice, maybe, that Michael wanted to know if the present owner was sick of it yet. I can confidently report that the answer is "no" to that one. Anyway, Michael is in the market for a Nagari and last I heard he was checking out B8/5. B8/7 and B8/49.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This looks more fun than bungey jumping

Think about the water though.

V8 Specials in America and Australia

In a previous post I mentioned the Monsterati and promised a picture. Here it is courtesy of conceptcarz.com. It came in the later 50s, '57 or '58, a bit later than the first Manning Specials. It handled well and apparently successfully challenged the Ferraris, Maseratis, Mercedes and Shelbys of the time. I've been told that the "Old Yella" cars that Colin mentioned were beating Testa Rossas in America. This is the Monsterati after its restoration at the Monterey Historics. Here's another American special with a decidedly Australian name. It's the Echidna. I wonder if there is an Aussie connection.
The following 3 cars are all Ford V8 specials in Australia and all were competing in the Cootha Classic as John Davies mentioned the other day. They are different to the American V8 specials we have been discussing because they represent a different era. e.g. pre-war as opposed to post-war.
These pictures are from the Mike Coppola collection and I'll tell you a bit about Michael tomorrow and post a link to his gallery which is really worth a look, especially his motorsport photos.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Marr website.

I'm just about to delete the link to Peter and Debbie's Bolwell website. The reason is that they are shutting it down. The pages were mainly descriptions of work done and I really enjoyed them and gained from them and I know I'm not the only one. Peter and Debbie's current Bolwell is a late build, low milage Nagari coupe - B8/113. I have read articles in Slipstream of updates and improvements to this car but generally it is a very nice original car and what more can you talk about? The main modification was made to the roofline by Peter Garvin on April Fools Day last year but that has been rectified now. Now that the site is closed I thought I'd leave everyone with a few photos of B8/113 from that site.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The truth about the Chuck Manning Special.

A chance remark about where Chuck Manning fitted into the equation in the previous post has sparked emails (2 from the U.S. and one from Australia) and I'm now better informed.
Chuck Manning was an aircraft stress engineer who built his own sports/racing car. He laid out a strong round tube frame and stacked parallel 2.75 inch mild steel tubes on each side (see photographs below), mounting 1939 Ford suspension, hydraulic drum brakes and a Mercury flat head engine. The car was very quick and won a major race at Palm Springs, California in 1952. Now here's the interesting bit - Manning never made a car for sale, but , as he developed his project, he wrote a series of articles for Road and Track outlining the design process and subsequently sold plans so that others could build replicas. I was thinking this may have been the birth of the kit car industry but I reckon it goes further than that - this is the birth of the Locost concept. Anyway, it appears several cars were built, including the car in these pictures and, it would seem, the cars built by David as mentioned in the previous post. This particular yellow one competed successfully in Quebec and "upstate" New York. In 1991 it was restored and ran at that year's Monterey Historics and continues to run in West Coast Historic events.
The photos of this car, the Schaghtcoke Manning Special, were taken at last year's or the year before's Monterey Histerics (where the old South Australian ex-Greeneklee Elfin Formula Junior also appeared).
Just up the road from Monterey is Santa Cruz and I wonder if it is a coincidence that at 1000 Water Street, Santa Cruz is a mechanical workshop called Chuck Manning Autos. Also in Santa Cruz is the high security Lockheed aeronautical facility. I started to think that all made sense as Manning was an aircraft engineer but he worked for Douglas I think. We have a daughter in Santa Cruz. I seem to recall her taking her Honda to that part of Water Street for work on her transmission. What a coincidence.
I'm starting to reminisce about the old sidevalve. Maybe I'll have to get Mike Davidson to keep an eye out for one for me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The "Chuck Manning Special".

This car belongs to Dan Margolien in the United States and I'm really only showing it to you because to me it is just so similar to the Ford V8 specials that were popular in Australia and built mainly before and after WWII. It wasn't just the V8s either I guess. There were also GP cars as well as sports cars that were built around side valve Hudsons and Dodges and even a Jeep powered GP car, not to mention the Maybachs, powered by engines from captured German army tanks. Anyway, we in Australia certainly had our share of Ford V8 powered specials in one part because the Ford V8 was around in reasonable supply but also in their day it was easy horsepower to be had.

Anyway, Dan's car is the Chuck Manning Special, an historic racing car fabricated by his father, David Margolien, in approximately 1951. (I don't know where Chuck Manning comes into it). It was built in Southern California for sports car racing of the time. It has a '48 Ford flat head with Isky cam and the familiar three Stromberg 97s, Offy heads and manifold, Merc crank and '39 Merc front and rear axles. It has a fibreglass nose and tail, formed in moulds which still exist. The rest of the body is aluminium. It would seem to me that fibreglass must have been introduced to America a bit earlier than Australia.

This car was rebuilt in the mid-80s except for the engine to exactly as it was raced through 1953. Dan believes his dad built at least 3 and possibly 5 of these vehicles for others. A unique feature of the car are the "copper flow" brake drums in which David developed a process to braze copper fins to the drums for improved cooling.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Also from Simon

I've also included in the Video Bar another short video of Simon Peryer's other car, built to relieve the Nagari of track duty. It's a Mark 1 Lotus Cortina replica but with supercharged 302 V8 and Tremec.There are lots of photos and text on the Australian Mk.1 Cortina forum.

Nagari on Youtube

Simon Peryer sent me some Youtube footage of him and his Nagari competing in a sprint meeting at Pukekohe in NZ. You'll find it in the Video Bar. When I added it to the list I typed in "Pukekohe1" which was its title but I think that opened up a few more Pukekohe videos. However, you might find them enjoyable too. The car that Simon seems to be running with is a Redline Clubman which I presume is a New Zealand made car. Anyway, these two cars were the first and second FTDs and the meeting was organised by the Escort Car Club. After taking in the racing, my next impression was how different Pukekohe is from how I remember it about 20 years ago, but then again it's probably the same at any race track that's been going for a while. Just imagine if the last time you were at Mallala was 20 years ago and then you went back there today. Remember the WW2 hangar in the middle? This is a photo of the car from the outside taken with a couple of familiar Victorian Mark 7s before it changed countries.
A few months ago, Robert W in Tasmania wrote asking if anybody knew what had happened to his old Nagari no. B8/21 and we were able to tell him that it had gone to New Zealand and put him in touch with Simon. From this, Simon was able to discover that his car has more interesting history than he realised.
"The original car was built with no engine or gearbox, which explains no engine number on the body tag (I had assumed it was built as an early kit, being #21). It was then turned into a transam replica/show car, with flared guards etc (I'd like to see some photos). After Robert bought it, it was rebodied and a new chassis made by Royce Marion, since the original body was significantly altered (although I believe it is now being rebuilt). The chassis apparently was subject to a 100 page report and was designed for the toploader as opposed to the Japanese 5 speeds. Then the new body/chassis had a 383ci(?) Chev engine fitted. It competed in the first Targa Tasmania and won a plate. The original 302 was refitted and the front and rear spoilers removed when it was swapped for a Manta Mirage, which Robert still has. I then purchased it off the guy who traded the Manta. The car as I have it now is certainly nice and easy to drive, but Robert says it wasn't always so when he had it, so it's been great to have a chat to Robert about the developments over time." - Simon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

They were the days!

Just in case I don't get a chance to do a decent post this weekend, here's a few action shots to look at courtesy of John Low, Henry Stork and Racing Car News in that order. AIR - Edwards, Main, Gourlay, Harris.

Calder - Edwards leading Gourlay.

Calder - Hanns, Main, Bisseling, Fitzgerald.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

And now for something completely different....

I'm rather partial to utes. How about this one. It's a Chev ute and it's a 2006 model. I reckon it looks great. It belongs to a couple in the Chevrolet Club of NSW. They bought it in America and drove around over there in it. Now it's over here and being converted to RHD. What a beauty, running boards and all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


First photos ladies and gentleman. The next model Clemente.
More details as they come to hand.

Datsun powered Mark 7.

After yesterday's post about the 4-cylinder Bolwell, a couple more photos of the same car have arrived. One was taken by Henry Stork and one by Peter Garvin, both of whom attended the 1989 Easter at Perth. By this time it was turbocharged and Peter thought it was owned by Ray Julian's brother.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hillman Hunter 770 dash

Here's the Hillman Hunter dash in the TR4 Mark 7. See comment in previous post. Looks classy don't you think?

The 4-cylinder Mark 7.

We've had a 4-cylinder Nagari which was pretty unusual but I reckon a 4-cylinder Mark 7 is just as unusual. Here's one. Datsun powered of course. We all know about how quick Datsun 1600s and Datsun 2000s were, so this was a pretty reasonable choice really. It was the car that Rob Wilson's younger brother built. Bolwells were a big part of life in the Wilson family and included the Mark 5, the Mark 7 and the Nagari. This photo goes back to when the car was being built. It was completed and later both Wilson brothers moved to Western Australia. I presume it is still over there somewhere.