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Thread: Wanted: Group A Commodore NZ History / Bowkett / Billington / Barrow

  1. #1
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    Wanted: Group A Commodore NZ History / Bowkett / Billington / Barrow

    Hi to all on this great site.Always lots of great threads to read.This is my first post as I only joined up a few weeks back.I am currently in the process restoring a Group A commodore that has had a long history in NZ in the group A days.I have done a large amount of research on the car since I purchased it back in 2006.I have not had much success with finding any photos of it during its racing life.Any other info would also be greatly appricated.A brief History on the car is as follows.
    Built Brand new by Roadways Racing Services [RW02] in 1985 for the new group A era for Grahame Bowkett and Wayne Wilkinson as a VK. Backing came from Sleepyhead Beds and ran the 4 round Australian Endurance Championship in 85 before be bought to NZ for the NM series and NZTCC which it ran in the 85/86 season winning the Championship with Bowkett.Wilkinson Crashed the Car in Practice at Puke NM meeting damaging it badly in the front.The car was Sold to John Billington and Chris Castle and ran the following year.The car ran the Sandown 500 with Billington and Castle and WTCC round at Bathurst with Billington and Grahame Crosby in 1987 as a VK with DFC backing.In 1988 Billington updated the car to a VL with Perkins engine and other go fast bits[drive train etc] [Pink white & purple VL] In 1990/91 Dave Barrow ran the car in Group A and Sport Sedans.After this the car went to Alan Mason in Auckland then sold to Lindsay Routham in Nelson.It ran a few races in the Mainland endurance series then went to Grahame Johnson in Timaru who ran it in Sport Saloons.In the late 90s the car was purchase by Steve Ross in Dunedin.From what I understand the car went back to Auckland to Wayne Baker?? before be purchased back by Steve Ross.I purchased the car from Steve in 2006.This car has a long racing History in NZ motorsport and any further info,Photos,Articles would be greatly appicated.I intent to race the car when restored at Historic meeting in NZ and Australia.For now it is a slow process with time being an issue.Wife,3 young Kids,House renos and Business all slowing the Process but I will get there.It will just take a bit longer.
    Feel free to contact me.
    Regards
    Warren Davis

  2. #2
    Great to see you finally posting on here about this car Warren. I have a couple of photos of your car, will scan and post them on here. Have you checked through Nigel Watts photo thread? I'm sure there are photos of your car in there. http://www.theroaringseason.com/show...s-from-my-past

  3. #3
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    Here's a shot from the October '87 Nissan Mobil 500.
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  4. #4
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    ... and here's some more info from a Sunday Times Newspaper special supplement promoting the Jan '87 race.
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  5. #5
    the bottom photo is interesting
    what was the story with that damage?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogered View Post
    the bottom photo is interesting
    what was the story with that damage?
    The Jan'87 Sunday Times Supplement has no more info on the photo, but from the 1986 Nissan Mobil Yearbook.
    "Wellington .... Bowkett gets away cleanly, immediately slotting into 8th place, right behind Hulme. But that's about as far as it goes. Into the second lap he crashes heavily going into the main straight, smashes the suspension beyond the realms of a repair today and simply limps the car back to the pits to retire."

    "Pukekohe.... a repeat of the disastrous Wellington experience is just around the corner - around Rothmans, that is. Wilkinson says, "There was a big bang and she just took off - dead straight." From the entry to the corner the car spears straight off into a clay bank, writing off the left-front and folding the car back to the passenger compartment. There's so much damage there's no telling what it was that let go. ..."

    I think it's safe to assume the photo is from the '86 Wellington race.

    Malcolm.

  7. #7
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    Hi Malcolm

    Thanks for the photos. Do you have any in VL trim.The the Bowkett pic will be from Wellington in Jan 86.the next weekend was the last weekend for the Sleeyhead car before be sold to Billington and Castle.The article note a few gearbox problems.Billington latter updated to a Getrag .

    Regards
    Warren

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPS View Post
    Thanks for the photos. Do you have any in VL trim.
    From NZ Motoring News 18 Nov 88:

    Promo 500 at Pukekohe. Photo credit Greg Olesen.
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    Nissan Mobil 500 at Wellington.
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    From Road, Race & Rally newsletter, 26 May 89:
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    By October '89 the price was $40k and by August '90 it was down to $35k.

    Mr Billington is a high profile lawyer here in NZ (Google John Billington QC) and should be easy to contact. Hopefully he won't send you a bill for his time

    Malcolm.
    Last edited by Powder; 11-26-2011 at 10:42 PM. Reason: Added more info.

  9. #9
    Here it is at Manfeild (I think), prior to its Group A updates.

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    Here is an awful shot of it in VL trim with white/pink/purple colour scheme. Certainly an aquired taste that one!

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Holmes View Post
    ... white/pink/purple colour scheme. Certainly an aquired taste that one!
    It looks like Dave Barrow wasn't too keen on the colours. This shot is from the 1991 Speedsport Annual's report on the 1990 Nissan Mobil 500.
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    Last edited by Powder; 11-29-2011 at 10:48 AM. Reason: Date correction

  11. #11
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    Hi Steve.
    The photo of the Sleephead car is from Manfield.This was the first NZ outing for the car only 2 weeks after doing 1000kms at Bathurst.It only ran at Manfield twice.This being the 20/10/85 in the first round of the B&H series being a 2 hour race which they Qual 6th and finished 2nd in the race.The next time it race was in Jan 86 with the fill 86 upgrades including engine.
    Im guessing the Billington shot is the 88/89 season.
    Keep the info coming.

    Regards Warren

  12. #12
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    Thanks Malcolm
    Keep the pics coming.The Barrow car is at Wellington in 1990.I remember Barrow having the car for sale at the end of the season for about $25000 and it took a long time to sell.Cheap now if only be new then what we know now.I have been intouch with John Billington a few times and he has been very helpful.Anything else you have would be greatly appicated.

    Regards
    Warren

  13. #13
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    Now the Sleepyhead VK, didn't it have to change one of the decals from Go to bed with sleepyhead over here in oz be3cause it was just too suggestive?

  14. #14
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    I guess this is also from the 1990 Wellington Steet Race. You'd better check the head gaskets when you restore the car
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by seaqnmac27 View Post
    Now the Sleepyhead VK, didn't it have to change one of the decals from Go to bed with sleepyhead over here in oz be3cause it was just too suggestive?
    I do recall sonmething about that.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powder View Post
    I guess this is also from the 1990 Wellington Steet Race. You'd better check the head gaskets when you restore the car
    Name:  NM500-1990.jpg
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    Thanks Malcolm
    Did you take these pics.As for the head Gasket that wont be a problem as it all coming well and truely apart.Most componets are completed with the bodyshell being the major with lots of new parts.Will post some photos in the new year

    Regards
    Warren

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPS View Post
    Thanks Malcolm
    Did you take these pics.
    The first photo (DFC sponsorship) was taken by my father. The black & white photos are credited. The shots from 1990 didn't have photo credits.
    It could be worth contacting Graham Blow or Euan Cameron (both from www.sportpromedia.com) or Geoff Ridder (MotorsPortraits) as they were photographing at the time your car was being raced and are still in business today.

    Malcolm
    Last edited by Powder; 11-29-2011 at 09:54 PM. Reason: Fix spelling

  18. #18
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    Hi Malcolm

    I have sent these guys emails tonight.Hopefully they will have a few shots.

    Regards
    Warren

  19. #19
    Hi Warren,

    Here's one I found from the '86 wellington street race - looks like practice day.

    Cheers
    Martin Smith.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  20. #20
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    Hi Martin

    Good to here from you.Thanks for the Picture.Got anymore.Are you still taking photos?The car on the left is mine.The other was Grices Roadways car which was co driven by Grahame Cameron.It had a black lower section with Yokohama signage which was one of Grices sponsors

    Regards
    Warren

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