In 1962 Campbell Bolwell transformed his hobby of building special sportscars into a business. Developing hands-on skills in fibreglass moulds and moulding techniques his first commercial model, the Bolwell Mk. 4, sold over 200 units and is testimony to entrepreneurial flair and dedication to a dream.
Just when everything was looking rosy, came the oil crisis in 1974. The drop in demand for very high powered vehicles, combined with new Australian design rule changes brought in by the federal government, made survival very difficult for Bolwell. For example, safety standards required a new car to be crashed into a concrete block for test purposes, which was not an economic proposition for a small manufacturer producing less than 100 cars a year, but the party was over.
Because the factory had experts in fibreglass manufacturing techniques and production, Bolwells began to design and produce a wide range of other fibreglass products, from small vehicle components to ocean going yachts. Graeme’s main interest had been in cars, and he left the business with Campbell remaining in charge.
By the time the last Bolwell vehicle was delivered more than 800 units were sold. Registration figures give less than 200 Bolwells still on the road. Many more remain in the workshops of enthusiasts, waiting for alterations or even to be finished for the first time.
Bolwell Car Clubs exist across Australia, and we constantly hear from people around the world that own a Bolwell, from Spain, Germany to the United States.
By the time Bolwell Cars began its diversification into other fibreglass products the five different commercial models produced had earned for the Bolwell marque a unique place in Australian automotive history.