While Campbell Bolwell was putting his mechanical theories and construction skills to the test, brothers Graeme and Winston had become interested in the use of fibreglass as a suitable medium for creating lightweight bodies for sports cars. The car that is now most commonly referred to as the Bolwell Mk3 belonged to younger brother Graeme. The Bolwell Mk3 started life as a Jag/Healey special originally built by Graeme’s dentist.
It featured a new Austin-Healey chassis with Austin-Healey front suspension, rear axle, wire wheels, and had Dunlop SP racing tyres on it. It came with a hotted up Jaguar Mark VII engine and gearbox that had D type valves, cams and other go faster gear, and it performed very nicely. It would do a standing quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 102 mph. By comparison, Linley Hughes claimed that in Campbell’s MG special he could beat Graeme off the line but would soon run out of puff and only manage 19 seconds, which was still pretty quick.
The original fibreglass body was a bit heavy and was generally considered to be “ugly”. Graeme didn’t like it so eventually he put a body of his own design on it. This was to be the first fibreglass body built by Bolwell. There was a centre bulkhead made out of tubular steel and covering that in aluminium. The doors were made out of steel but fibreglass was used for the bonnet and back panels. Graeme utilised the rear window from an FE Holden as his windscreen. Graeme’s Bolwell Mk3 was eventually put up for sale in December 1963 and subsequently became known as “The Elgaram”.
Not to be outdone by his younger brothers, Winston, who had an Austin-Healey 100/4, pulled the four cylinder engine out of it and put in a six cylinder Jaguar engine. Somewhat confusingly, this car is now often referred to as the Bolwell Mk3A, with Graeme’s car being the Mk3B. Winston modified the front bulkhead and built a fibreglass front which made the car look a bit like a Ferrari or E-Type. He also hand-made an aluminium egg crate grill, a hard top, and a large flip-top petrol cap for the back shroud. As a young married man and father of two young children, Winston eventually arranged to swap his special with his good friend Paul Morton for a Mini 850, believing the Mini to be a bit more sensible for a family man than the Jag/Healey.
In June 1962 a small sign appeared next to the letter box at the Bolwell family home in Frankston. It read simply, ‘Bolwell Cars’. Campbell Bolwell, aged twenty, was open for business; and fulfilling his dream to design and build sports cars. For the next six months he kept his job at Coles while saving money furiously and planning the ultimate sports car. Finally, in December 1962, Campbell sacked his boss and with start up working capital of ₤200, went out fully on his own as a sports car manufacturer.