Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tasmanian archives (3)

A couple more from Rob.....
This wasn't Rob's car but he did get to have a drive of it. Many years ago a mate had the job of respraying it. It then became a red car with gold wheels.
This is B8/67. Remember a number of people's outrage at the "high" price of $6,500 being asked for it in Melbourne in 1980? This photo was taken during Leigh Mundy's ownership. Leigh is in Hobart. Rob would have liked to buy it but couldn't afford the $14,000 asking price at the time and it was sold to a well heeled "Airforce Pilot in S.A." Well, Ross is certainly a pilot and may well have spent some time in S.A. The car did spend its early years in S.A. before Leigh's or Ross's ownerships. From start until now the owners have been Don, Dennis, Shirley, Kym, Colin, Shannon, Lynne, Carl, Leigh, Ross and Guy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kapunda - week 12

The Kapunda Show was today. Here's the judges checking the wool clips and the best of the grain crops.
But I really like this picture.
Main reason is that I once had a jinker just like that. It was red and not all painted up so beautifully but it was pretty well identical even down to the model T wooden wheels and the extra long shafts. There was a good reason for them and one of the reasons my dad bought it in the first place. If you were breaking in a young horse to harness, it could kick as much as it liked without doing any harm to the front of the jinker.
I should have (but didn't) taken some photos of the ute muster. It seems that the serious ones had the biggest National and Bundy flags. I also noticed that part of the judging was the mike up the exhaust pipe, looking for the loudest growl.

Sabrina for sale

This fabulous Australian special well known in Historic racing is reluctantly on the market. Powered by a supercharged Austin Healey 3000 motor in a tubular chassis with a custom built fiberglass body this is a very special and competitive sports racing car, the quintessential Australian special. Sabrina’s history has been extensively documented and has featured in many reviews including the April 2010 issue of Vintage Racecar. The car is in great condition and comes of course with its CAMS Cof D and logbook, a customised trailer and an extensive spares inventory including body moulds. The asking price is $A80,000 for the complete package and all offers will be considered as it must be sold.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Doesn't muck around.

hi all,
to those of you that kindly offered to house the mk4 because my perceved lack of shed space (ie-ben), you will be impressed to know i have achieved what you thought not possible- i have found space.
have removed the roll bar and am in the process of fixing diff with help from baz. not a cortina as thought but bmc as per original mk4's. 
want to try to get it over the pits before xmas- dont think i can do until dec because from mid next week i will be having my butt hanging out working 6 days a week for a while.
pete, you are right -i will fabricate a new top a arm- but apart from that all seems ok.
yours truely 
the happy pres.
ps- roz wants a better exhaust note-told her not until it is over the pits....and passed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

McArlus Cars - 10

I have started assembly all of the bolt on bits to the newly painted chassis, which is really quite fun actually, but more on that shortly.
In the meantime, I have cleaned up the spare engine that I will use and take the opportunity while it is still out to do some work on the clutch, before it is installed for, I hope, for the last time!
Ever since I started the first car, about a million years ago, I had been concerned about the clutch. Initially I was worried that a clutch that was designed to carry a 250-300kg motorbike and rider would struggle with a 550kg car and driver, particularly as were now driving two 7” race Tyres and not one relatively narrow motorbike tyre. Standing starts were always a worry.
Fortunately it appears that Honda have built in a fantastic margin for error in the clutch and it has proved to be most reliable. The only trouble has been due to my own doing.
In the yellow car I used a quality car engine oil in the engine, forgetting that the clutch is also running in the same oil. After about 12 months of use some clutch slip started to creep in, mostly with an over  rev as each gear was changed up.
Initially I feared the worst and that we were in for a constant clutch issue, but since chaging the oil, clutch springs and friction plates (which had been soaked in the wrong oil) I have never had any more trouble.
So in the picturews you can see the cltch plates and springs.
The new springs are on the RHS and are advertised as being about 10% stiffer that the standard LHS spring. That may be an issue on a bike hand clutch , but has been fine on our foot clutch.  I check these on my trusty bathroom scales not so much for accuracy, but to at least compare the springs. There is nothing worse than changing a failing part with one that I inferior!
By clamping the cross piece of steel onto the two blocks on each side it is easy to compare two springs at the same compression.
The standard springs read 16kg and the new springs read 20kg.
You can also see in the picture the discoloration on the steel plate on the LHS. This plate was quite blue and had clearly been overheated. Compare it to the new plate in the middle. The overheating is possibly not caused by us but may have been, because it is second hand engine, but I have replaced all 9(!) of these plates any way.
I also replaced the 10! Friction plates (RHS of photo) as these had been soaked in the wrong oil, although they still had plenty of friction I didn’t think it was worth the risk.
Hopefully the clutch will now be fine, so I will install the engine and shoulid have a complete rolling cahssis by the end of this lkong Cup weekend.
Lots of assembly happening now. More on that soon.

From Stacey

Bringing it home. The Mk 4, or how to amuse yourself on a long stretch of road.

When I decided, very quickly and after a glass of wine, that I would pick up the 4 and drive it back I did not realise the interest it would create. It is only to pick up the 4 and I have done this trip  heaps of times before, including in the Hunter a couple of times. I booked the flight, organised with a reluctant John Low (I now know why), Dean and Peter to get the car ready and quickly checked for the drive back. At no stage did I have (maybe stupidly) any doubts that I would have anything but a smooth trip. Dean and Cheryl said I would be staying at their humble abode and I had no choice in the matter- I was happy with that as you who know me know that I would rather be fed than feed another! Dean could not pick me up from the airport, but that was not a worry as that gave me time for a friend to pick me up and have a couple of hours catching up.
Dean and Cheryl picked me up later that afternoon and we where to drop Cheryl off before going to Peter's home to pick up the Mk4. First hitch, Cheryl wanted to stop off at Bunning's to grab some seasol. It is her therapy store (I know Dean, it's a Saturday arvo, it will be busy and time will be eaten away- Roz has the same affliction as I was that was not the only thing they have in common)! Eventually, after a long wait and a whinge, we got to their home. I was shown my bedroom and I did find my bed under those damn cushions.(another thing in common with Roz).
Cheryl is slowly renovating the house and her tastes are similar with Roz. I sympathise with you Dean. Out with all those things you and I hold dear but seems not to translate to their tastes.

I had a look at Deans Mk7 roadster- there are some very nice touches and I for one can not wait to see it next Easter on the road.
We had a phone call from Peter asking for us to stop and grab a radiator hose as the top one was u/s. Not a problem. We got to the store just as the guy was closing the door...I quickly jumped out and knocked on the door- luckily he opened, but said a carton would be required! We found the hose just as Peter phoned again- no not 1 1/2 but 1 1/4. great. did not have one- eventually we found a foot long piece. Very helpful guy.
When I arrived at Peter's after a really great road there (we from the west will pick you up on the way Pete, just to drive it and to see you to I suppose) I saw the 4 for the first time in the flesh. I though I can see myself in that. After a bit of more work by Pete, Dean and I went for a ride. I actually fitted in, but the top frame of the windscreen was right in my line of vision. Ah well, will sort that out later. It did drive really well and was quite easy to operate. First impression, good and that is important.
After a cuppa and biscuits from Shirley (thanks) I looked at Pete's shed. I like, but he could use a bit of bitumen on the drive to the busy bee?
I followed Dean home, a bit slowly as I was getting to know the beast. It felt right. 
I parked the 4 in Deans garage, next to the 7. Now that is a garage.  
After a lovely pizza and a nights sleep and a great breaky, I was ready to go. Cheryl could not let me go with fruit and some brilliant sandwiches. Thankyou.
I followed Dean (he was on his way to Mallala for the day) to the highway to fuel up and grab a fuel and water container. We said our byes, he wished me luck and said if needed help to phone him. Well he said that and I did believe him...
I was on my way- I though Kimba would be a good first days drive, so there I headed. W.A Easter Bolwell cap on, full tank of fuel-onward. First thing to remember- don't have a cap on forward in a convertible- off it went. Somewhere in Adelaide, someone has a Bolly cap. I call it public relations, others call it- you stupid bloody idiot.
I reached Port Augusta with no hassles but a noisy diff (I already knew that but knew it would get me home- well I hoped it would). I topped up with fuel, grabbed a crescent, screwdriver, racing tape, silicone etc as back up. After eating the sandwiches,off I went to the far distant landscape.
Apart from the noisy diff, and a temp that sat around 195 it was a really quite driver. Sun came down, on went the helmet and sunglasses. I reached Kimba and there was plenty of sun, so I thought why not. Ceduna could be possible. 
Ceduna was not only possible, but was done. Got bloody cold closer to the ocean though and the sun was right in my eyes. No worries- racing tape on the visor of the helmet made a great adjustable sun visor and I used that for the rest of my trip.
I filled up, grabbed a cabin and checked the car over- everything was fine, including the fluids, despite the high water temp.
I was off right on dawn and thought  the border would be great. The interest the car created was brilliant- waves and smiles everywhere- possibly as acknowledgement to the craziness of it.
Two very large trucks carrying over width boats passed and this was to happen all the way across from Ceduna. They appreciated me in pulling to the edge and waving them in and I appreciated checking the trucks wheel nuts and treads as they passed! One of the escort drivers was mighty impressed when we crossed paths at Cocklebiddy. Could not believe I just kept on toddling along . I found around 95k was comfortable with the diff wine. So there I sat. All day.
I got to Nullarbor roadhouse and there mid morning. All was going well and I was putting smiles on strangers faces. Felt good to educate them on Bolwells.
I just kept on feeling ok, and I reached the Border lunch time. Got checked and the copper in his Landcruiser leaned out and said I was a long way down- I said he was up mighty high and would he like his tyre pressures checked- he appreciated the humour and wanted to know what my sun protection was- I lifted the helmet- again he laughed and said go for it you mad bugger.
At this rate I though I could make it Half way across- off I went. Got to Cocklebiddy and decided to stay for and hour- did not realise it then, but that was to cost me later.
again off I went- maybe to Balladonia! 
Do you realise you can see things from a different perspective from a 4. Forget the Roo's, its those bloody huge eagles that you look up at and wonder if they are going to pick you up, the lizards that run across the road on their hind legs- you can actually see the fear in their eyes, you can lean out and grab snakes, sheep trucks take on a new meaning of smell, truck wheels are huge, you look up at everyone and thing, including bicyclists', you can stretch your arms really easily- legs are another matter, you hear noises from nature you did not know existed.
It got dusk rather rapidly and the 4's lights are not brilliant. I was going to have to camp on the side of the road as Balladonia was not on (that hour would have got me there). Ah well, that is what I did. I think I am the only person to ever seep in a Mk4. Don't believe me- ask the caravaners who didn't believe their eye either.  I actually did sleep and it was cold. I left right on sunrise. very heavy mist, so for the first hour, I drove very carefully. Made Norseman around 9. Filled up, phoned Roz, the Curries and Pete (friend who works in Kambalda- it was south oz to Ceduna- my prob to the border, then Pete's prob from there if I needed help- well that's what I sort of planned).  From there the road was bad- real bad. Thought if anything was going to break or come off it was from here to Merridan. It did not. Topped up at Coolgardie, and headed home. Bloody hot-but funny thing- the water temp dropped to 180 when it got hot. Go Figure. I got to Merridan and thought there was a rather brilliant red car out of the corner of my eye's-and there was some deck chairs- Bloody Curries where there to escort me home! great to see a familiar face. Again the rest was easy. Roz had made us dinner and wine. It was great to sit and reflect what I had just done.
There are some changes that will be made over time- electrical, windscreen, steering wheel, dash, wheels. But overall, the basics are great. Roz has claimed it as hers (it really is an extremely easy car to drive) and Micheal was driven to school in it the next day with a huge smile-kids love it. 
Overall a huge thanks to Peter and Shirley, Dean and Cheryl, John and the Curries. your help, advise, hospitality, humour and questions of my sanity where well regarded. What a great club across Oz we have.  The car- it amazed me.  
Now to all you that complain you have a long way to travel in your Bolwell- no you have not. If a 4 can do a trip half way across oz...............  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

From Rohan.

Subject: Fishing NT Style

Swimming Anyone????
These photos were taken last week at Borroloola (Northen Territory).
It measured 6.325 meters and weighed in at 1855 kilos. 
That's a big reptile! 
It started annoying one of the local Barramundi fisherman by eating the prop off his outboard. 
He reckons it was circling the 5-metre tinny for 20 minutes before the decision to kill it was made by him and a very frightened deckhand.
I take it Rohan's just back from the NT. Hope he got some Barra.

Tasmanian archives (2).

All of these photos are of Rob's previous Nagari over a 20 year period of mods. It now belongs to Simon Peryer.
I like the matching red shoes.

Elfin had a GT too.

The amazing Centaur GT was a one-off built for a particular class devised by CAMS in the day. Elfin did one too with a special hardtop version of the Streamliner.

Norseman and going well.

As of about a minute ago Stacey had reached Norseman. He says "forget the low flying roos, It's the eagles with very big wings that worried me!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tasmanian archives (1)

These are some shots of Rob Wragg's very first Bolwell, a Mark 7with a turbocharged red motor.
Headlight covers, wipers in the LHD position, a big tacho, the early dash, tiny steering wheel, fuel filler in yet another spot and the reason car bras were invented.

Making good time.

Stacey and the Mark 4 were in Ceduna last night. Not a bad day's driving on the Nullabor crossing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

From awesome to ridiculous

If your Ariel Atom isn't quick enough there's always the new Atom 500 V8. 500bhp in a 550kg car. 0 - 60mph in 2.3 secs could mean it's the world's fastest accelerating car. You'd better be quick though, there's only 2 unsold in the initial batch of 25.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Wagonaire

Warren, in Sydney, sent me some pictures of his 1963 Studebaker Lark Wagonaire. He has a crash repair business in Summer Hill (or smash repair business as they say in other states) and if he has restored it he has done a wonderful job. Anyway, he wants to sell it and here's a couple of phone numbers - 0417454044 and 02-9797 8296. I really like Studebakers and have fond memories of them running at PI and then Bathurst. When Max Ullrich raced his Compact Fairlane in Group N and it turned out to be the measure of the Mustangs (yes I know he races a Mustang now) his innovation inspired me to pick up a 1966 Lark (late enough to have the Chev engine) to make an Appendix J as well. When I bought it it still had rego on it and it was a really beaut car to drive to work, so much so that the race car idea seemed to go out the window. I ended up being a two-Stude man, buying a chocolate brown automatic version to keep the grey one company. Anyhow, enough of that, here's Warren's unique supercharged Wagonaire........  
The outstanding feature of the Studebaker Wagonaire, not to be confused with the Jeep Wagoneer,  from the same designer, Brooks Stevens, is the roof over the cargo  bay which manually retracts into and then locks into position in the forward section of the roof over the rear passenger seat. Very handy when you need to take your new refrigerator home from Harvey Normans in an upright position or the fruit trees home from the nursery. Marius, my Isabella owning friend up in Laura, had a Lark station wagon buy I don't remember the retracting roof.  Originally the Wagonaire was based on the standard Lark station wagon body, modified from the waistline up, but later and particularly from 1964 when Studebakers were only made in Ontario, Canada, the fixed roof was a delete option.
The other standout feature of Warren's Studebaker is the fitting of the optional Paxton Supercharger, sometimes referred to as a McCulloch Supercharger. They were designed and produced by Robert Paxton McCulloch who also manufactured lawn mower and chain saw engines. Just Cars describes it as the factory fitted Avanti Supercharger which is how Studebaker marketed the supercharger when fitted to Larks. Below is a close-op of the supercharger fitted to another 1963 Stude and also the Avanti badge. Also, the R2 badge which signifies the high performance level of this model. I think I detected the R2 badge in the bottom left hand corner of Warren's car's grille.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

McArlus Cars - 9

A rather significant step has taken place over the last few weeks.
The chassis has been stripped and painted!
This means that a large part of the remaining work is assembly and attention to details. There are a few other outstanding items, such as finalizing wiring and the radiator system and the body work, but basically all of the major construction is done!
The chassis is a nightmare to paint!
After procrastinating for ages I finally decided to build a rotisserie, for this job at least it was a godsend and in reality not that hard to make.
Painting though is a different story! There are so many tubes at so many angles that it is a nightmare to paint each one on four sides. It is also surprisingly difficult to reach “inside” the space frame in order to paint the inner parts, I now have a couple of windcheaters that have grey paint all up the arms!
From start to finish, including cleaning up, each coat took around 2 ½ hours to do.
After one undercoat and three top coats I gave up. At this stage I still had the rollbar to do. I decided that I would probably never get a perfect cover on the whole car, as it was getting increasing difficult to see what was and wasn’t painted with each coat, so it would have to do.
Although I can still find spots that have a small run or other areas that have that have that rough feel of overspray where I have missed a small section on the final coat over all I’m really pleased with the end result. Certainly the finish is good “race car quality” if not Pebble Beach Concours!
I’ll start putting things together over the next week so it should soon really look like a real car!
Can’t wait to clear all of the pieces out of the garage!

Simon's comment today was "it's downhill from here". I think I know what he means.
Anyway, I'm looking at all that barwork and thinking how basic my Ikara space frame is by comparison. On Rick's advice I've been contemplating some extra bits of tubing in certain places that need it. Andrew, my son, has been questioning the need. I think I'll  show him these pictures.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I can't pretend to know all the Australian specials and I certainly wasn't aware of the RQ but look at this!
It's a Jaguar powered special built by Robert Quelch over a 10 year period from December 1964 to 1974. He designed and made the whole car from the ground up. The wheels and even the steering wheel were made by him. The gull wing doors are hydraulically operated. The car is 40" high same as the GT40. Visibility is poor due to the height of the XK engine.

Haha seen this one?

Doing the rounds of Facebook at the moment............

Milano badge

The Peter Goers Milano GT Zephyr has been rebuilt following its shunt at Collingrove earlier in the year, all ready for the hillclimb championships this weekend. There has been some necessary chassis work, rebuilt front suspension and the remaking of the front bonnet and it's now pretty well complete except for the nose badge.
A thorough search of the crash site didn't find it and it may well have gone into a spectator's pocket. Was  this a genuine JWF badge and if so where does Peter get another one? Can Sam or Clark or Dick maybe, answer this question? If not, I suppose John at Australia Wide Badges could have a look at making a replica.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Here are a couple of shots of the 1968 DAF Formula 3. Well it's really an Italian Tecno chassis with a Cosworth engine but DAF called them DAFs as they were endeavouring to promote the durability of their Variomatic CVT transmissions. They were painted up in Dutch national racing orange and run by Racing Team Holland  but the CVTs weren't exactly durable. The drivers were Beckwith and Van Lennep and to be fair, they both won a race each the previous year on Brabham chassis.