It’s dark now at 7pm, so the practice of displaying our special vehicles outside the clubrooms on meeting nights is fairly pointless, but it does mean that more attention is focused on the vehicle inside. This month we invited Jim McNiven to bring along his recently acquired 1967 Bolwell Mk.7 and tell us a little about it. However, on the way from Leongatha Jim hit what must have been a massive pothole, destroying a tyre and damaging one of the wheels so badly it wouldn’t rotate past the brake caliper. Luckily for Jim, his Bolwell carries a space-saver spare wheel rather than a tyre repair kit, so he was able to change the wheel and continue on his journey. Hopefully the damaged rim will soon be re-rolled and the wheel refurbished, enabling it to resume position on the front left corner of this classic Bolwell.
This particular Mk.7 Bolwell is fairly unique. Like many kit cars, owners are able to personalise their build to a certain degree and with this example a previous owner has fitted doors from a later model Bolwell Nagari. These doors, as well as being ADR compliant with intrusion bars and burst-proof locks, allow easier entry and egress from the car because of the opening which extends into the roof panel. The rear window has also been turned into an opening hatch like on the Nagari, which gives easier access to the luggage area. Mechanically, the Bolwell is powered by a well-developed 202 cubic inch Holden 6-cylinder engine breathing through a brace of three side-draught Webers. Power is then transferred through a Celica 5-speed gearbox to a Holden rear axle running a 308 final drive ratio, wider track and 17” wheels. Steering is courtesy of an Austin 1800 steering rack and the brakes came from a VR Commodore.
Jim bought the car in a “cash only” sale from the Gosford Motor Museum which are liquidating assets after an investigation into their affairs by the Taxation Office. After languishing as a display piece for many years Jim recently took the car to Bolwell’s 50th Anniversary gathering at Philip Island where it received the people’s Choice Award. On the road, Jim says the car drives very well – surprisingly well for a 50 year-old car. Let’s hope the wheel repair goes well, allowing Jim to continue his enjoyment of this iconic Australian classic. Thanks for bringing it to our meeting Jim.