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MIMS 2008 Bolwell Nagari


Born of a Ford V8 and a man’s idea of a sports car, the Bolwell Nagari Mk8 first hit Australian roads almost 40 years to this, the year of its reincarnation.

Its maker, Campbell Bolwell, founded his company in 1962 with his two brothers and an idea of what an Australian made and built sports car should be – still an Aussie V8, and rear-drive, but lighter than a tonne and made to hug corners as well as haul on the straights. It is arguably one of the timeliest, and timeless, sports cars ever built in Oz.

Much in the same way as its forefather, the new Nagari prototype – yes, this is still essentially a concept - is lightweight at about 900kg, powerful thanks to a supercharged V6, and maintains exclusivity through a limited number of hand-built beauties, and with a triple-figure price tag.

Another tradition is its borrowed body parts. While the engine is no longer supplied by Ford, the company still has a hand in parts of the car – in the shape and cues of its late business partner, Aston Martin. Some of the interior and instrumentation is pure DBS.

Instead of a V8 up front, the new Nagari features a Supra-style supercharged Toyota V6 located behind the seats for optimal weight distribution and handling. Matched to a Toyota manual, it should be similar in performance to the 3.5-litre supercharged engine in the TRD Aurion.

Bolwell are also investigating an electric powerplant for the car. Its low kerb weight and moulded engine bay makes it a sure-fire prospect for full-electric battery power.

If the interest in the vehicle adds up to justifiable sales, Bolwell will go ahead with Nagari production in the next few months. The numbers will be kept small to keep both the boutique manufacturer moniker, and to avoid lengthy and expensive crash testing and ADR requirements.

If built, the car will cost "somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000 depending on options," said company director Vaughan Bolwell.

They may build 25. They may build 25 a year. But whatever they do, it will be different from the norm, and deliciously Australian.