The Bolwell MK VII marked the start of something big.
It was a sleek, fastback coupe that maintained the Holden
components theme with more than a hint of Ferrari styling.
Like the Lotus Elan, it had a backbone chassis, formed
by folded sheet metal.
The rear axle was held in place by trailing arms and radius
rods, with coil springs and telescopic dampers. The top
speed broke the 200 kmh (125mph) limit and was an exciting
car to drive.
During a six year period (1967-1972), 400 units received
registration plates, making Bolwell Australia's fifth
largest vehicle manufacturer.
It was still predominantly manufactured in kit form, but
a number of complete cars were also built by the factory.
Just before the model hit the market, Graeme left for
a working holiday in the U.K. where he spent five months
working for Colin Chapman at the Lotus factory in Cheshunt,
just north of London.
Lotus at that time was making track winning cars from
Le Mans to Silverstone
and even formula one. Graeme took
a keen interest in the new Lotus developments, as well
as the competition.
He saw the possibilities of combining
European elegance with the Australian grunt of a large
But it was also the small things that he wanted in the
new Bolwell. MkVII's already used folding steel hinges
for the bonnet, but Graeme was amazed to see that Lotus
glass cast ferrules into the body work, with bonnets
and boots anchored to them.
You guessed it, the Mk VIII
would soon follow.
Text and Images courtesy Bolwell
Car Club: www.bolwellcarclub.com.au