More odd cars from Down Under

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Anonymous

A couple more cars that may be of interest that would probably not be seen outside Australia.

The Giocattolo was a bold attempt at building a high performance sports car that did not last long. Between 1986 and '89 they made fifteen examples based on a much modified Alfa Romeo Spint with initially an Alfa V6 in the first few, but this was later replaced by a more powerful and cheaper Holden V8 built by Holden Special Vehicles and these were reputedly good for 160 mph (260kph). Thirteen are known to survive, one was destroyed in an accident and one is unaccounted for. I snapped this one at a car show at Eastern Creek, which is where I also found the other car shown here. And it could not be more different if it tried.

According to Georgano's there was an Innes listed briefly making cars in the USA, but I found another reference to this one in 'Giltrap's Australian Cars from 1879' and it states that George Innes & Co of 141 York Street, Sydney were in business from 1903 and built single-cylinder and four-cylinder cars using imported components. Like many others Innes started as a bicyle dealer later also dealing in motorcycles, and was known around Sydney driving an early Winton. The Innes was powered by De Dion engines. Although Innes cars were still being offered as late as 1907 it is doubtful they were still being built and this may have just been left over stock as by then they had a Humber agency and soon after a Vauxhall franchise too. The car pictured is VCC dated as 1904 and therefore as an eligible Brighton runner would seem a bargain as it has been recently advertised for sale at $70,000. It is known to have taken part in an early Dunlop reliability trial from Sydney to Melbourne in 1905; no mean feat considering the state of the roads back then.

The car next to it by the way is a 1908 Cadillac. I have no interest in the sale and am not listing it in the for sale section, but if anyone is looking for a London to Brighton contender of proven reliability I can pass on details.

Chris Martin

 

James Elliott
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Give us some Bolwells Greasemonkey! Many years ago, I drove all of them from Mk4 through to Ikara. It was going to be for an article, but the pictures didn't come out so I could never do it. Shame, because they were brilliant, even though the Nagari on a damp road was not much of a contest between power and grip.

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GreaseMonkey (not verified)

James Elliott wrote:

Give us some Bolwells Greasemonkey! Many years ago, I drove all of them from Mk4 through to Ikara. It was going to be for an article, but the pictures didn't come out so I could never do it. Shame, because they were brilliant, even though the Nagari on a damp road was not much of a contest between power and grip.

Bolwells he wants, Bolwells he gets.

Coincidentally most of these photos were taken at the annual Shannons Classic Day at Eastern Creek Raceway, and the next one is this coming Sunday. Not sure if I can spare the time this year, so may have to miss it for the first time in years, but for anybody around Sydney in late August it's definitely worth a trek out west.

The Bolwell story is interesting as unlike most minor car makers who have a brief spell in the spotlight the company has gone on to thrive and from their early forays into the world of glass fibre Bolwell is now a very successful business making truck bodies, scooters and even those multi-coloured kiddies mazes you find stuck on the side of McDonalds. There was an attempt recently to make a new Nagari sports car but I don't know if that is in regular production, I haven't seen one.

For more on the company and the car club check;

http://www.bolwell.com.au/    &                      http://www.bolwellcarclub.com.au/

 

Of the cars shown below, the most popular survivors seem to be the MKVII and the Nagari, but the blue racer is a rare MKIV. I have not encountered an Ikara, (not sure I want to either!).

These are Nagaris;

 

A MKVII

 

A MKIV Racer

 

And a line up of club cars

Hope you like 'em, there are loads more on the club website.

I'll be back with more local rarities.

Chris M.

GBt
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Blimey I feel my car knowlege somewhat bereft after seeing those, never heard ofs before!

Well one does hopefully learn something new everyday.

. I have a vcr, but nothing to play it on now, albeit a sailing mate who produces art film vids, said he would convert some of my stuff to DVD,of a classsic run to a watering hole in Burke?sville, New Queensland??? and some stallwart hardy perenials in all manner of metalworks, a Fintail Merc may have won it,that time late 80s-it was part of a channel 4 Uden productions series on classic vehicles,  but at one stage en route to a pub watering hole in  Burkesvillle I'm not sure thatis correct, ,they were required to cross a gully known to be inhabited by fresh water crocks and have to devise various ways to cross over.

I also sat watchinng a film into the wee small hours about an Actor Eric Banon??? who had raced and crashed his beloved Falcon GT Coupe, and its subsequent revival. Quite touchingly he had his Dad's laid up 67 Tbird sympathetically restored for him too, nice one.

GreaseMonkey (not verified)

Yes Bolwells are pretty rare, and probably few if any made it out of Australia, think TVR but rarer. In fact Mr Elliott's comment above re the handling in the wet, would sound about right, like the old TVR V8 Tuscan it too would have been a handful in the wet, with the directional stability of an olive on a wet bar counter. The Nagari was a nice car though and I suspect some of the smarter ones in the club have been upgraded with various handling improvements. For more on Bolwells, it's always worth a Google in those idle moments.

The film you are referring too was probably the 'Bourke To Bourketown Bash'. The idea of a charity bash is quite popular here, I believe the Variety Club do one, and the idea is to take an old car, suitably beefed up with plenty of spares, and follow a designated route across the outback, part rally, part treasure hunt, mostly party. That film from the eighties was made by Dick Smith a local entrepreneur and founder of a chain of electronics shops also known for crazy stunts, a sort of Alan Sugar meets Richard Branson (I hope he won't mind me saying). That 'bash' went up across some of the toughest desert through the middle of the country to the north coast near Darwin and yes, they did have to cross a croc' infested river without the help of Crocodile Dundee. The rules were basically, no rules. Cheating was to be encouraged and bribing the organisers helped too. The Fintail Mercedes you mention was crewed by three girls who always made a point of getting dressed up for dinner every evening wherever they were stopped in the outback, usually at the side of a dusty road. They even set up a candelabra and ice bucket for the champagne. That's style!

If you can find a way to watch it again, it's a cracker. Recommended.

Meanwhile, an even rarer local automotive has-been is the Lightburn Zeta...........

Wonder why it never caught on ? ? ?

Chris M.

GreaseMonkey (not verified)

On a different tack, there's a chap down the road who has three of these Flxible buses, (and no that's not a typo). He brought a couple along to a recent local airshow where 'Connie' the famously restored Constellation was the star turn.

Chris Martin

GBt
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I presume thats the Connie from Aviator. I have a book on Howard Hughes a bit of a tome, but fascinating reading.Fab pic and super old detroit diesel 2 stroke coach.

Yes all that stuff on The Bourke(did spell it that way to start off)bash, is coming back to me as the mind mists clear, and yep now I remember the Fintail lasses dinner parties. Was the destination a pub in a place outback called Birdsville?

 

 

Chris Martin
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GBt wrote:

I presume thats the Connie from Aviator. I have a book on Howard Hughes a bit of a tome, but fascinating reading.Fab pic and super old detroit diesel 2 stroke coach.

Yes all that stuff on The Bourke(did spell it that way to start off)bash, is coming back to me as the mind mists clear, and yep now I remember the Fintail lasses dinner parties. Was the destination a pub in a place outback called Birdsville?

 

 

I believe they did head for the Birdsville Hotel as one of the stops on route, but it was not the final destination.

As for 'Connie' check this link to the museum at our local airport;

http://www.hars.org.au/2009/05/the-connie/

Meanwhile, here's another Australian obscurity; the Buckle. Built in Sydney between 1955 and 1960 by Bill Buckle who had greater success with the Gogomobil Dart, it was powered by a 2.6 litre Ford Zephyr engine and it is believed about twenty were sold.

C.M.

 

GBt
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Did they run out of Peanuts to pay you with?

Anyway great link to the Connie, of course the Quantus Kangaroo should have been the giveaway, with the daft Aviator question I asked,however the corporate colour schemes don't seem dissimilar at first look to the Hughes TWA ones.

The car reminds me of an original post war Jensen Interceptor/ or a 541 from the front, maybe an Austin A40 sport, interesting, another car knowlege gap filled, keep em coming please

Chris Martin
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Yep, a bit of both in there I guess, but then the A40 was built by Jensen anyway. The Buckle is rather like a plainer 541 but smaller like the Austin.  Here's one of those, coincidentally it was photographed at the same venue.

That old Super Constellation is claimed to be the only example left flying and is frequently seen low over our place preceded by a familiar low rumble, but on display days the air is thick with them, DC4, Neptunes, Lysander whatever else flies in for the day.

And yes, we have no bananas! GreaseMonkey is having a well-earned rest, and I've come out (as it were).

C.M.

 

 

Chris Martin
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Just tweaked that Buckle photo as it was a bit dark, hope it shows better now. And if anyone is interested, that is a 1934 supercharged Graham lurking behind.

I can't see the Volvo similarity myself, but coincidentally, as with the Austin A40 sports above, Jensen also built the early Volvo P1800s. There seems to be a common thread going on here, I wonder if Mr Buckle had spies at Jensen, or the other way around?

C.M.