bolwell book bolwell an australian icon

Bolwell An Australian Icon – book launch

The much anticipated launch of the book “Bolwell An Australian Icon” was held at the Bolwell Car Club’s Christmas meeting at Bolwell Car Company’s HQ in Seaford Vic, on Tuesday 13th December 2016.

Campbell Bolwell has hosted the Christmas event for the car club for many years so it was an ideal opportunity to launch the book, which is in essence a corporate history of Bolwell Corporation spanning over 50 years.

Rob Luck, publisher and editor of the book, flew down from Sydney and gave a brief presentation.  Other guests included John Latham and John Gourlay, both former Bolwell Nagari race car drivers; Vaughan Bolwell, GM of Bolwell Corp; several members of the NSW Bolwell Car Club; Glenn Everitt from “Man & Machine” TV show and soon magazine; Rob Rowland from The Healey Factory (Also a former Nagari race driver), a reporter from the local Seaford newspaper; several former Bolwell employees; and of course Bolwell Car Club members, partners and friends.

Campbell Bolwell, Rob Luck & Tony Shaw at the Bolwell An Australian Icon book launch

Campbell Bolwell, Rob Luck & Tony Shaw at the Bolwell book launch

Graeme Bolwell and Campbell Bolwell at the Bolwell book launch

Graeme Bolwell and Campbell Bolwell at the Bolwell book launch

Here’s what the official “blurb” has to say about “Bolwell An Australian Icon”:

This book is the result of 20 years of research, and 5 years of intensive production.

  • More than 150,000 words, hundreds of photos, documents and memorabilia – much of it never sighted before
  • Detailed Records of every one of the 10 models produced – as well as a glimpse into the future
  • Fascinating snapshots (pictures and history) of more than 80 beautiful Collectable Bolwell sports cars – still alive and well and running on road and track today
  • A look into Bolwell’s myriad of other projects including MacDonald’s Golden Arches, children’s playground equipment, truck bodies for Kenworth and Iveco, electricity substation housings, motor scooters, yachts, flight simulators and ride-on games, aerodynamic aids for cars and trucks, hovercraft, wind turbines, defence projects, caravans and more
  • Full-colour, glossy, ultra high-quality 250 page super-A4 sized book, individually numbered
  • Carbon-fibre fabricated slip-case and hardbound cover, silver foil stamped
  • Limited Edition, 50th Anniversary Collector’s Item

The publication of the book Bolwell An Australian Icon also represents the fulfillment of a personal long term dream for me (Tony @ Classic Car Photography).

My own involvement in this book project began literally decades ago as a “labour of love” when I started collecting material relating to Australian made sports cars including, of course, Bolwells.  Things ramped up when about 15 years ago I became a contributor to Australian Classic Car magazine and was successful in having quite a few stories about Bolwells published in the magazine.  I also became a member of the Bolwell Car Club and have since held a number of Committee positions.

It was at about that time that I was introduced to Campbell Bolwell and raised the notion with him of compiling a history of Bolwell.  Campbell was enthusiastic about the idea. Over the course of many years he and his business partner Linley Hughes were extremely generous with their time recalling their memories about how they started building sports cars, development of the various car models, when Bolwell went bust, their involvement in an incredibly diverse range of other projects, the expansion into Thailand, and so much more.

Graeme Bolwell also gave up plenty of his time as did many other current and former Bolwell employees, Bolwell Car Club members and other people associated with Bolwell’s many other projects.  Throughout this time I continued photographing as many Bolwells as I could, collecting magazine articles and advertisements, and borrowing other people’s photo albums for other long forgotten photos relevant to the Bolwell story.

Eventually things got to the stage where I had the start of a draft manuscript for a “Bolwell book” but no idea how to actually get it published, finance the deal, and so on.  Enter Rob Luck and his team.  Rob had played a vital role in the success of the original Bolwell car business in the mid-1960s in his capacity as Editor of Sports Car World magazine and other publications.  He and I had been in touch over the years as I conducted my research.

We eventually came to something of a joint venture arrangement where I would finish my research and then hand the manuscript over to Rob.  Rob would then add his own unique content and to make the resulting composite manuscript into a book.  Which he has done.  Many of the photos I took or collected have also been included.

So, special thanks to Rob Luck and his team for making my “labour of love” into the reality of a beautiful book, “Bolwell An Australian Icon”.

Here are a few photos to give Classic Car Photography readers some idea as to the quality and content of the book “Bolwell An Australian Icon”.

bolwell: an australian icon

“Bolwell An Australian Icon” can be ordered directly from the publishers – GMM Group.

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