My Mus­cle Car AMC read­ers show us their mus­cle cars.

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

What is it?

“That’s what most peo­ple ask me. It’s a 1972 Bol­well Na­gari Coupe. It’s num­ber 71 of 120 built right here in Mel­bourne. They were all front-mounted Ford V8, Ford run­ning gear and Ford rear axle. The steel Y chas­sis was Bol­wellde­signed and built, as was the bre­glass body. When I tell peo­ple that it was de­signed and built in Mel­bourne in the late 1960s many peo­ple don’t be­lieve me.”

When did you buy it?

“I bought it on Sep­tem­ber 26, 1998.”

Why did you buy it?

“As a young kid in love with cars, I dreamt of own­ing a Fer­rari. As I grew into my teens, I started to hear the hor­ror sto­ries of Fer­rari ser­vice costs and re­pair bills. It was sober­ing. The dream faded and nally dis­ap­peared. In 1980 I was at uni study­ing Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing. A friend asked me if I would go with him to visit his friend, Fred, who was work­ing on his car at home. We turned up to a typ­i­cal sub­ur­ban home. At the end of a long drive­way was a garage and pok­ing out of that garage was the nose of a Na­gari. I looked at that car and thought to my­self, ‘It looks like a Fer­rari, but has Fal­con me­chan­i­cals. Can’t be ex­pen­sive to run or main­tain.’ A new love af­fair started. I drew Na­gari af­ter Na­gari, imag­in­ing what mine would look like. The lust­ing con­tin­ued but life, wife and mort­gages con­spired to keep it just that – a dream. Fast for­ward to 1998, I’m at home ca­su­ally thumb­ing through the Satur­day

Age car clas­si­fieds and see ‘Bol­well Na­gari for sale’. At the in­sis­tence of my wife, I called the Healey fac­tory in Mel­bourne and yes, they had a Na­gari and it was for sale. We drove out there and looked at the car of my dreams. Af­ter a drive and a bit of chin rub­bing, I signed the papers. It was mine!”

What do you know about its his­tory?

“Not a great deal. It’s hard to know what any car started life as and what mod­i­fi­ca­tions were made along the way be­fore you owned it, let alone a lim­ited pro­duc­tion one like the Na­gari. At var­i­ous times in its life, my Na­gari has had a 302 Wind­sor, was painted or­ange and be­fore that red. Some­one told me that they thought it had a six-cylin­der in it at one time. When I bought the Na­gari, it had a 302 Wind­sor. I al­ways liked the Ford rac­ing Cleve­land al­loy valve cov­ers

and wanted them on my car. Ev­ery­one I spoke to said that it was an easy swap. Af­ter all, that was what a Boss mo­tor was (Wind­sor block with Cleve­land heads). Trou­ble was that all the in­let man­i­folds avail­able were the high rise type and that wouldn’t t un­der the Na­gari bon­net. Even­tu­ally, a wise man told me, “If you want Cleve­land valve cov­ers, put a Cleve­land in it”. An en­gine swap would only take a week­end, two week­ends tops... right? As luck would have it, my chas­sis was the later Cleve­land type so it would t with­out mod­i­fi­ca­tion. Well, af­ter my best friend Fred do­nated blood, sweat and two years of his spare time, it drove out of the garage with shiny new al­loy valve cov­ers sit­ting on a new 351 Cleve­land. As well as a new ra­di­a­tor, re­built toploader, new drop tank and many, many more tweaks. And yes, that’s the same Fred who started my love af­fair with Na­garis back in 1980.”

How does it go?

“That’s usu­ally the se­cond ques­tion peo­ple ask me. When you tell them it runs a 351 Cleve­land and a toploader, peo­ple look at how small it is and how light it must be (same size as the rst gen­er­a­tion Mazda MX5 but 200kg lighter) their eyes open wide. My usual an­swer is: ‘It’s lu­di­crous!’”

Any­thing you’d like to add?

Noth­ing wakes you up more than slip­ping in be­hind the wheel and go­ing for a drive. All your wor­ries and gripes just melt away. I drive it most week­ends. I’m not pre­cious about get­ting it dirty. I was a mem­ber of the Bol­well Car Club long be­fore I even owned one. They have reg­u­lar events and I en­joy tak­ing the car for a run with them, or one of the many Face­book cruise nights or even just out for a cruise on my own. Next year is the 50th an­niver­sary of the Na­gari and we will be meet­ing at the Phillip Is­land Clas­sic, His­toric rac­ing meet­ing (8-10 March 2019) where Bol­well will be the ‘Mar­que of the Meet’. There will be Bol­wells from all over Aus­tralia there for the week­end. It will, with­out doubt, be the largest col­lec­tion of Bol­wells ever in one place. I am look­ing for­ward to be­ing there and meet­ing fel­low en­thu­si­asts, in­clud­ing cur­rent and past Bol­well own­ers and Bol­well lovers. Hope­fully many of you will come and join us. Drop by and say hello.” [ ED: You can con­tact the club’s Fred Pod­ner via bol­well­car­[email protected]]

Vic Garra Car: 1972 Bol­well Na­gari Home­town: Mel­bourne,Vic­to­ria

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