The Bowdens Collection - A carnut's Paradise Down Under

© The Bowden family  Wolfgang Kohrn - Last updated on February 13th, 2006 would like to thank the Bowdens family for their outstanding hospitality for my wife and myself, 
a deep insight into australian racing and the gratitude to see the full scale of their restoration facilities
 and car collection of about almost 90 cars. We enjoyed our stay very much.


Deep Nose Coca Cola racer, the heartbeat of Down Under in the 70ies followed by a rare Falcon 351GT HO with fuel injection. Look at the stance of the Moffat car - optimized aerodynamics with a sectioned fender and engine side wall - a trick back in the late 60ies/early 70ies.

A first impression from the Main Hall, the Bowden's so-called office, rear left you see Paul Faheys 1966 Shelby Group 2 car #14 restored to its glory days in 1969, on the right a true 289 Cobra and a Competition 289 Cobra, right rear Pete Geogheans Mustang Hardtop racer. 

The Bowdens typically don't make a big show out of their cars, at least not in its entirety. Most invited enthusiasts get a glimpse of the collection in the main hall, the show-pieces of their collection that of course includes the most famous Australian race car - the Coca Cola sponsored Alan Moffat race car. 

This car had been featured in a last years Australian Muscle Car magazine and its documentation in the Bowdens archive goes still way beyond the 15 pages article that readers could enjoy.

The full collection might be around 90 cars, I did not have much time to count ... listening to Chris Bowden, who gave me an insight into each of the cars race history like a tour guide. Being not so knowledgable of the australian race scene it was tough to follow, but at the same time very interesting to learn more about Ford, Holden, Toranas, GT HOs Phase 1 to 4 and whatever might be just a word for you like it was for me. 

What drives the Bowdens is the preservation of Australian racing history for the time to come and mix the best ingredients to do so. Research is the basics, the archive is unbelievable, David Bowdens 40 feet long desk (it looked like that to me) plus numerous shelves and cabinets in a separate room contain probably the biggest private racing library, photos, documents, letters, drivers reports and anything you can think of and you'd like to have. It would have taken certainly 2 weeks to browse through this material. This research is the base for a perfect restoration, trying to find genuine people, drivers, mechanics and team leaders to add details about specific items on the car. 
The Bowdens also have one of the best mechanics available to do the restoration work, who joins forces quite often with genuine people that worked on a specific car in its heydays. At the time of being there a Camaro was in and its past driver was reunited with it and working on it. Others in the shop were a white/blue Race Falcon and two 67 Shelby Group 2 cars.

One of the most famous australian race car of the early 70ies - The Coca Cola sponsored BOSS 302, driven by Alan Moffat. Through Alan the Bowdens got a lot of insight in the cars history and a big lump of parts in addition.

An original GT40 #?1034 as raced by Paul Weldon in the UK

Pete Geoghegan's Mustang racer restored to its glory days

Another "shed" on the Bowdens Estate - any race car that got a name or a decent finishing place in Australia, is right here. 
Pete Geoghegan's 351 GT Falcon in which David Bowden used to be Navigator on the right. (e.g.Bathurst 1996 Rallye Legends) 

Lotus Cortinas have played a major role in AUS as well. Plus two John Player Specials BMW were brought by BMW Down under and left there because of the return costs.
These 2 BMW's were actually race shells built up by Frank Gardner's race team here in Australia and raced by Jim Richards.The Bowdens put finally their hands on this nice couple that will certainly increase its value in the time to come.

A nice pair of Falcon 351 GTs, both Alan Moffat cars 

A few of the Porsche rarities, a very valuable Porsche Carrera RS included

Another look into the resto-shop, where a Falcon is just under close inspection and restoration.

The Bowdens Paradise - 
A car enthusiasts dream

Nestled into a beautiful greenery  and surrounded by rivers - hardly visible in the neighbourhood of Buderim down under in Australia is one of the most interesting car collections on display that has been ever accumulated over almost half a century. David Bowden started this collection a long time ago, when he was active in the australian racing scene and so his kids got the virus instantly. No wonder if you grew up in between High Performance Fords, Holdens and a number of other brands of the 60ies through 90ies.

The Bowdens make their living out of high-level car care stuff - called the Bowdens Own, with special formulated ingredients, that are  well dosed to withstand the outbacks baking sun and salty coast environment  protecting the treated cars. The extreme environment of Australia makes it quite logical that this stuff must be made in a different way than the typical soft perfumed skin care moisture stuff, that you put on in other countries around the world with a picnic basket next to you. 
Real Men use Bowdens Own. All others are Kids Stuff - a statement from my own experience that might explain the difference. 

Well enough of PR, but rest assured, the Bowdens are a true car enthusiast family and they like to talk car stuff to other enthusiasts - speeking the same language without an attitude. Chris and Dan are the nice guys from around the corner and so is their father David. Although he was not present himself, his presence is felt all over the place and I'd like t thank him again for making the Frank Gardner interview possible last year. There will be some news about the Gardner BOSS to come in the near future.

Some nice clean performance cars without a race career are the background to the more famous ones. Here is a white  390 cui powered Fairlane Coupe.

A 427 Galaxie deserves its place in this environment - prepared by Holman Moody back then. John Goss XC Cobra is nearby in this part of the garages.

A quite standard Mustang convertible that has a special value to the Bowdens, it was David Bowdens every day drive car for a long time.

The Moffat Boss 302 race car hauler is used quite often for events at Bathurst.

Sneaking into the workshop - Nobody was allowed previously. A rare 1967 Shelby Hardtop awaiting further restoration. There was a second in this shop. Up front another famous Ford car under restoration with help from the original driver. The Bowdens walk the extra mile to get things done right. History research and discussions with the drivers is essential to any Bowdens restoration.

One of the few surviving early Porsche 356 race cars.

To see the other sheds you have to pass 2 well-trained dogs called Carroll and Shelby and the best alarm goose you can ever find, but not only these of course. 
Still they looked quite scary and we took our heels to reach the next shed. Safety is a big concern on the Bowdens estate, so just don't try to enter by yourself. It will hurt either way.

Finally ending up in the main house, we were guided through David Bowdens office, featuring a NOS 427 cammer and a NOS GT40 engine on saddle crates in the entrance next to his personal race car a Gullwing Mercedes 300SL. David used to race this car in the past years quite often in public events.

We'd like to thank for all the additional story Chris and Dan Bowden narrated us and all the time they took off their business to make our day.

A true NOS 427 Cammer engine

..and a NOS GT40 engine

The Gullwing 300 SL personal race car of David Bowden

BTW - Did I mention it yet -  The Bowdens are selling the best car care stuff you've ever seen - with a sense of humour, their booklet is worth to read, probably the only one in the car care booklet world, that is worth to read, just for a good laugh alone.
And no, I don't get any rebate nor provision. I just tested a set of their stuff and it works. 
All I can say and enough said.

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