Sunday, August 30, 2009

Alfa Romeo TZ2

Peter G suggested I take a look at the TZ2 and consider whether I thought Bolwell took some inspiration from it when designing the Mark 7. Hmmm......maybe I guess.
However, take a look at this shot below of a derivative of the TZ2, the Alfa Canguro (Italian for "Kangaroo" would you believe?). It was built in 1964 and was due for production but a mechanic wrote off the prototype so they abandoned it (somebody rebuilt the wreck decades later). I can see Bolwell in that, even the wheels in a way.Remember, Kevin Bartlett raced a TZ2. You'll find pictures of it in Autopics or Old Race Photos I'm sure.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mark 7 with Nagari doors - 2

Not much more info on this car but everyone must have a copy of this picture because they've been rolling in. Maybe they found it on an old Bollyblog post. One suggestion was that the NSW rego number, QYW-566, might be a starting point. Several people have suggested a Fibrecar connection. Unfortunately we can't ask Roycey about it.

....and while on the subject of Astons

Also at Monterey was this DBR3S but I'm not so sure it's not a copy of a Buchanan.


Here are a few shots of SA member, Ken M's, Aston Martin DBR2 replica. An Australian Special in its own right, it is a faithful reproduction of the DBR2 created many years ago in Queensland.

My reason for showing the photos to you is that a real DBR2 turned up to race at the Monterey Historics this year and here it is. The "Special" really is a faithful reproduction don't you think?

This is why you can't take your dog to the track.

Phil Moreau sent me these photos. Matt Kenseth was testing his NASCAR sedan when this coyote got in the way. Looks like Phil is a bit of a NASCAR fan, the A.J.Foyt story in Slipstream came via him. He says this is shades of kangaroos at Bathurst.
Jane and I used to do a stage of Rally SA called "Latvian Spy". The stage doesn't exist any more I don't think. Anyway, just as one of the hotshots (might have been Possum Bourne) took off and built up a head of steam, this kangaroo jumped out from behind a bush. Evasive action is a bit tricky on narrow dirt tracks.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Platypus Porsche

Last year at Monterey we had the Echidna sports car, this year we have the Platypus. It turned out the Echidna had no Australian connection. The constructor's wife found the name in a crossword puzzle and liked it. The Platypus is one of three built at Manhattan Beach. I can't find an Australian link to this one either but I'm happy to be informed.

Poor old Rusty doing it tough.

This is Rusty's set-up at Laguna Seca last week.
....and here's Rusty hard at it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Looking for a Mark 4 coupe windscreen, I asked the question on the forum, does anybody know what the windscreen is from. One response (from Jim S) who reckons it is the same as the Mark 5 windscreen - Austin Freeway back window. Well, here are both cars. The jury is still out as far as I am concerned. What does everybody else think?
I'm sure I've been told at some stage what it was. Can't remember where I heard it now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Italia spyder.

Rob, in NSW, sent me these photos of a JWF Italia spyder his dad is restoring. It's nearly finished.
Now we can make some comparisons.

Italia roadster

These are the photos that 'Reid' was referring to. It does look to me to be a JWF Italia.
Any more thoughts on it? What's more, does anybody recognise the car from long ago?Apparently it has been stored for over 40 years.

Mark 7 with Nagari doors

Last week I had an email from Craig (no other details). Craig is the owner of the Mark 7 with the Nagari doors. He knows very little about the history of the car and would love to know. Don't know much myself except that it lived some time ago in NSW. This is an appeal for information. Anyway, I was going through some material from Peter M last night, preparing it for the archive website, and lo and behold, what do I find? A couple of photos of the Mark 7 with Nagari doors.
In these photos it looks like it had been standing around for a long time. Peter might be our first call in the history stakes. I don't even know which state Craig is in but I do have a hotmail address.

Monday, August 24, 2009

JWF Special

"Reid", in a comment in my post last night about the WA GT2s, asked the question about the identity of a car that he has that has been stored for over 40 years. It has very little known history. I've had a look and if it's not an Italia then I'm very much mistaken. I'll ask him in a minute if I can post some pictures. Anyway, I mentioned another JWF Italia that was a bit modified. Steve Rowley had it for a while and before he bought it, someone had cut the roof off. You may have seen some pictures of it when it was advertised in Slipstream a while back along with a Milano roadster. Be that as it may, Colin saw the comment and remembers the car as one that he had in the seventies and had a lot of fun with. Here are the photos he sent me.
Colin must have had almost as many Aussie specials as Clive Hill! I remember the car being identical to that in the mid sixties. It lived in a block of flats just off the top bit of the Anzac Highway and just around the corner from a girl I was going out with at the time so I used to see it quite regularly. I even took a black and white photo of it with the instamatic. I must dig it out. Anyway, back then it had TR3 running gear with a Skoda diff. It's still got the Skoda rear end but has a four cylinder Datsun engine and gearbox that's been in it for some time. Matt, the present owner would love to see these photos, I'll bet. I must tell him about them just in case he's not reading the blog.

Albany 2009

This photo turned up among my emails this morning. That's Barry in the blue Nagari.
I know the true blue Mark 7 was at Albany again this year. Were there any other Bolwells?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Bash

Yesterday was the finish of the Variety Club Bash in Alice Springs. It started 10 days before that in Bendigo I think. Doug Lehmann goes in it every year. He's got a nice blue 1929 Buick, see below. He seems to be a man after my own heart. I have a real weakness for Buick 6s. My last one was a 1926 Std. 6 tourer and I wish I still had it. It was about the same blue as that. This photo is from the "Northern Argus", the Clare newspaper. Clare is significant because that's where Goodey lives and he has a restoration business. He likes Buicks too. He's been "rally prepping" the Buick for the Bash. That's him standing there seeing the intrepid travellers on their way.
I've heard no results. I don't even know if the Buick made it or not. I presume it did. They're pretty rugged machines. Who knows?

Automotive artwork.

Bruno, in one of his blogposts, has been talking about the features of car design that are really sculptures, absolute works of art and great to look at. To reinforce his statement he used this bit of an A110 Alpine below.
I get moved by shapes too and took this photo of a TVR at last year's Climb to the Eagle. I love it.TVRs are great for finding these shapes. Perhaps that's the real reason that Bruno has a few of them.
When I was a kid I used to look with wonder (I still do) at the front beam axles on Mr. Bugatti's cars. They were actually forged and were absolute works of art. My grandfather was a blacksmith and he taught me to make my own horseshoes which I used to take great pride in. Blacksmiths were artists too, I reckon. That may be the reason I have trouble throwing stuff out. I used to make horseshoes out of secondhand fence bolts and all sorts of things out of the scrapheap.
Anyway, enough of that. I bet I'm not the only one with photos of nice shapes. Send me yours and I'll put them on the blog.

GT2s in WA

I received a new comment on my GT2 post on Friday. As the original post was some time ago I'll reproduce it here as it provides an important link in the GT2 chain. It's from "Speedwest" who operates an interesting and informative website and forum documenting the history and nostalgia of motorsport in the West called
The Milano GT2s were owned in WA by Russell Lamborn. The first car was destroyed against the entry to the old pits at the top of the hill at Wanneroo in June 1973. I don't remember what caused the accident but I do remember it was something which had been put together back to front in the rear suspension or brakes. I was there on the day and it was a very, very big accident, with Lamborn requiring several stitches to his forehead after slamming into the steering wheel. the car was always campaigned in its original black and gold livery in WA.
Lamborn re-appeared in mid 1974 in the bigger engined Milano, which had been painted in a lovely red orange colour always listed in the programme as 'red pepper'. The second car had a rear wing which the first didn't have, and was campaigned by Lamborn until 1976 when Perth jeweller John Blennerhassett purchased the car. John ran the car until 1981. After that the thread goes cold in WA.
I do remember loving both the cars. They were really gorgeous. I would love to have plenty of money to make a handsome offer for one of the two existing cars.
There are images of both cars during their stay in WA at my website, I hope this helps your history of the cars."

I can understand Speedwest's love of those cars, I feel the same way really, as does Andrew Kluver and Scott Whittaker of course. I have been told that the wreck of the original one still exists somewhere in WA. The second one must have gone back to Sydney soon after John stopped racing it because it had been deteriorating in a leaky shed for years and years before Andrew was able to get his hands on it. These 2 photos below are on the Speedwest website, as are a couple of others but I had found them on the F1 Bulletin Board, "the greatest forum the world has ever known". The photographer was Terry Walker.
What was up with the entry to the old pits? Brian Rhodes also destroyed the ex-Murphy Bolwell Mark 7 against the pit entry armco around that time. This is the car that is being rebuilt by Dave Hamlin.

Enzmann 506

Bruno von Rotz gave his Milano GT an outing last weekend, taking it to the prestigious Altburon Bergprufung 2009 hillclimb in his home country, Switzerland (where Colin McA happens to be at the moment). He was pleased to report that the car went well but it also received considerable attention due mainly to its rarity over there and people were drawn to it by "its remarkable sound and beautiful shape".
In his blog he mentioned some very fine cars that were there, including an Aston Ulster and a very nice Matra coupe (I've only ever seen one like it in Australia) but he also mentioned how amazing it was to see 3 Enzmann 506s all in the same place (see below). Well, I don't know about you but I had never heard of an Enzmann 506.
So a visit to Wikipedia tells me that the Enzmann 506 was a Swiss automobile manufactured from 1957 until the late 1960s. The company purchased new Volkswagens, unbolted the Beetle shells from the floorpans, and refitted them with elegant fibreglass bodywork produced by a boatyard in Grandson. (Note the lack of doors). Some 100 cars were produced, and you could also buy separate fibreglass bodies to make the assembly yourself.
The car's name-506-was nothing more than the stand number under which Enzmann debuted their creation at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Volkswagen engines, naturally, were fitted as standard, but the similar Porsche 356 powerplant was also easy to fit into the Beetle chassis. Some owners were bold enough to add Okrasa tuning parts to these engines, with MAG or Judson Superchargers.
In 2009, it was reported that one could still buy an Enzmann body kit from the descendants of the car's creator.
Website :

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Well, there was some Australian representation at this year's Monterey "historic auto races". It's Rusty French with the 1979 Turbo 935.

Needs a lowering kit?

Thought you might like to see this. It's about the same height as the Factory XY Falcon 4x4 ute down the road from us.
Peter G has already refused to do a photoshop job on a Nagari sports on that setup. Tell you what, Peter, you're not the only one who has had your sports mistaken for a Jensen Healey.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Monterey 2009

While we've been messing around with Elfins and so-on, California has been busy with a week of Classic racing and concours events. The whole thing kicks off mid-week with the "Concours on the Avenue" at Carmel by the Sea which was famous for having Clint Eastwood as its mayor. This is the car that won the "Best in Show" award (image credit Wouter Melissen). It is a 1957 Ferrari 250 TR Prototypo.
As you can see it has copied the open front guards of the Buchanan. We all know that Buchanan copied nothing with their styling don't we. These concours events are noted for their mandatory dress code that sees all the blokes getting around in their dark blue blazers looking like Yacht Club Commodores (they probably all are). I'm still saving up for the blazer!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Leyburn pics.

These have come from Peter Kordic with the following:-
Have attached a few photos from Leyburn. I regret I have none of John & myself on the start. The photographer was my niece. John is right about the surface. At the end of the first run I had half a dozen stone chips on each side. I taped the sides up as you will see in the photos. One of the Milano's also taped up. Two of the Mustangs taped foam on the inside of their mudguards to try to limit the damage as the metal guards were being dented from the inside out.
I'm still developing the car and learning to drive in these events while keeping the car undamaged. Was consistently 11 seconds behind John all day on the second day.
I appreciated the friendship and assistance from John Davies and other drivers at the event.
The red Torana in the pics is Reg James who you met in SA with myself earlier this year. He has developed a tough little car. Missed first in his division by 4/100 sec, and came 37th overall. Quite an achievement when you consider that it has a new engine that had not even been started or run in before we got to Leyburn Thursday PM.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Elfins at Mallala

Saturday was a great day for me. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. It was the Mallala day which formed part of the Elfin reunion and there was a very good representation of Elfin models both on the track and in the pits. The race meeting was a one day event with the title "The HQ Enduro", the perceived highlight being two separate one hour races for HQ Holdens with supporting events for Improved Production, Formula Vee (1200 and 1600) and Elfins (the REAL highlight). Amazingly, there were HQs still running at the end of the second enduro, the condition of the drivers I can't tell you.
The Elfin inventory consisted of 2 Monos, 2 NG FVs (1 racing with the Vees), 3 Streamliners, 1 300, 1 360, 3 Clubmans (this is what you say - e.g. not CLUBMEN), 2 623s (although Vern's red one looks vastly different to Stan's blue one which was running at Collingrove the weekend before), 2 622s, 1 600B F2, 1 700, 1 Catalina, 1 ME5 (you'd start to worry if I said there were 2) and 1 600FF and I think all of that lot were around the place on the day. Disappointingly, there wasn't a Mallala and no F5000s although Bill Hemming had the MR8 quietly sitting on a trailer behind his transporter, obviously to go into the display at the showgrounds the following day. Also sitting on the top level of Bill's truck was the Traco engined T400 which is undergoing a huge restoration, understandably after such a history and a number of owners. I don't think it's finished yet but I dream of its completion and seeing (and hearing) it mixing it with Trevor's ME5 and Steve's 360 Repco.
Because of the speed differential of the various models (I guess), the Elfin track time consisted of two twenty minute Regularity events. In Regularity, passing is limited to the straight bits, of course, but it was a spectacle nevertheless. Especially the ME5 and the 360 gobbling up the other cars. Then suddenly in the first session in comes the black ME5 - black flagged for going 2 seconds under its nominated time. A lap or two later the red 360 is in for the same reason. As far as the "powers that be" were concerned, that was it for the day but a bit of fast talking allowed an adjustment of nominated times and they were out for the second session without hassles although most of the time they weren't running together this time.
Something I noticed was all of the really old blokes in their Elfin baseball caps, some even on walking sticks (even making me look spritely!), but that day they seemed to have a spring in their step and smiles on their faces which seemed to get even wider when the ME5 roared into life. Talking about the ME5, it looked beautiful in its "1983" livery, Ansett signage and all. Only trouble is the Ansett sponsorship money doesn't seem to be forthcoming. That must be the most cleaned and polished car ever. Trevor is lucky to have his two mates that dote on it as much as they do. Maybe all of that dusting is because there was nothing else to do after burning the midnight oil getting it running correctly after the latest engine rebuild. Still getting grief from CAMS over "unacceptable" wheels, Trevor is getting some made up. Ron Lambert (I think the reunion was his idea), a former Elfin employee now living in Tasmania, has the original moulds for the Elfin wheels, and he brought over the first one, straight out of the mould and unmachined, but I reckon they're going to look great.
The Elfin 360 is no ordinary 360, it's the Repco V8 one. Steve Webb has had it for 30 years, actually racing it in National Championship events when it was competitive, then putting it away, only to bring it out again when it became eligible for historic racing. Most of the capital cities have their own little Bolwell history and long term personalities (hierarchies if you like) and Sydney is no exception. Steve is part of that Neil Stevens mob and so is Howard, his long term mate (who fabricated each and every Ikara chassis) and Greg (who has spotted a mystery black Ikara down a drive in Balmain).
Another notable Elfin was the T300 that Bill Hemming was driving. It looked beautiful on the track. It's not the Ramsay one or the blue one in that famous photo at Warwick Farm where it is leading Newton's orange Bolwell SR6. I'm pretty sure it's the one that went to South Africa in 1967 and was raced by Garth McGillewie even winning a Championship or two. That car was found in Zimbabwe in 2001 and was smuggled out of the country in the middle of the night. There is a large number (150 or more) of photos in a Flickr album, documenting the restoration of the car and the rebuilding of the Coventry Climax engine. If you have trouble finding it let me know and I'll give you the reference.
I had an enjoyable chat with Vern Hamilton and his wife (pit crew of one), Elaine, who is secretary of MGCCQ and has written a book on the 40 year history of the Mt. Cotton hillclimb. I don't know how old Vern is but I remember him driving an Elfin open wheeler when I was in my early twenties (a 600B). Later he raced a 622. In recent times he tried to buy back the 622 but wasn't successful. It lives here in South Australia. He did manage to buy a 623, also from South Australia and it's a beaut little car. Vern and Elaine trailered it down from Queensland, thus missing the Leyburn Sprints but they'll be back for Speed on Tweed. Vern is impressed with Mallala, never having raced there before.
These 4 photos are stills taken from Norm's little video camera. The videos themselves can be found on YouTube in the collection entitled clementeclubman - "Elfin 50 Yrs at Mallala" and "Elfin 50 Years 2".
Garrie Cooper's dad, Cliff, the number one worker at Elfin, is 101 and still going. I hope he got to at least some of the celebrations.
A couple of people asked me if I was Bob Mills. Bob was over from America for the reunion and was around the place somewhere, not that I saw him. He must be a striking looking man these days to be mistaken for me........don't you think?
I believe Ron Lambert was behind this reunion and his son James worked tirelessly to arrange it with some help from his sister Jo. They need a round of applause.
One thing I don't really understand is the lack of media attention for such an important event. If it was a footy match we'd be overwhelmed. There was a half page article in the motoring section of The Advertiser on the day, but I didn't see much else. Maybe it's our culture and that's why Sir Jack is more widely accaimed overseas than he is here. There were Elfins that turned up at the MSCA Super Sprint at Mallala the folloing day that weren't at the Elfinfest because the owners didn't know about it. Better luck next time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Halstead Pantera For Sale.

Paul Halstead still heads up "Adaps". Bolwell Club Easters were sponsored by them in the 80s. (Remember the "Idaps People" trophy presented every year? I wonder what happened to that.) Halstead also ran the Toy Shop in Sydney. Among other things, they imported Panteras and put 351Cs in them. When supply of 351s dried up in America, Halstead arranged for the remaining Panteras in the world to be fitted with Clevelands from Australia. Also, his company, along with Barry Lock (Kaditcha Cars) built the 15 Giocattolo cars and more recently, in partnership with Autotek, the HAL Monaro. Paul occasionally raced a black Countach in endurance races, one at Wanneroo I remember particularly. The Lamborghini roof was cut out so that Paul, who is a huge man, could fit into it. I recall the car going by at speed with Paul's helmet sticking out through the roof. A lot of Italian cars I reckon were made for legless dwarfs and the Countouch was no exception. I always felt uncomfortable in that white one that Chris Clearihan had and I'm a midget compared to Paul. (Never had any trouble with Panteras though!) Anyway, Paul had this white Pantera built at great expense for Kevin Bartlett to race and man! what a fire breathing monster that was. Well it looks like it's for sale.Peter G reckons that at $A550,000 it makes the Van Elsen KandA Nagari a bargain.