Better late than never, as this visit actually occured last Sunday. Thought the details might interest some here.
Bowden's Car Collection are kept in large sheds on the family property, so visits are purely by invitation only. The QLD Cobra Club & Club GT40 were lucky enough to get an invite. Considering they only have a few visits organised a year, we were very lucky...
From our clubs we had well over 100 people attend, at a guess there were around 30 Cobra & half a dozen GT40 replicas in the convoy. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] They actually had enough parking for all of this, plus the numerous tin tops.
We were able to view approx. 2/3rd's of their collection(around 50-60 cars), around AU$9 million dollars worth. The remaining cars in their collection were either away in museums or currently being restored/worked on.
We were broken into 2 groups and each son took a group on a tour of the cars. The tour was very comprehensive and each car was described in detail, with some very interesting stories added in. Tour took at least 4hrs I reckon. We were then set loose to go back and browse the cars on our own.
In summary Bowden's love cars, strong belief in perserving Australia's historic racing cars and believe in keeping cars original(unrestored) if possible or alternatively restoring required areas that are no longer original. They also have collection of some classic road cars. Where possible the vehicles are used, raced and taken to appropriate events. So I had seen some of these vehicles before.
Highlights(for me anyway):
We were able to get up close and personal with GT40 P1034. They even started it up for us and gave it a few revs(after warming up of course). Now that sent the pulse racing... No joyrides though. It's registered, driven regularly and was initially heavily raced, now just raced in select events. The Bowden's purchased the GT40 in 1999 at Silverstone Historic Race Meet. Apparently it was passed in at auction and they went in and did some serious after auction negotiation for it. They were preferably looking for one of the 4 GT40's that had previously been imported into Australia(so they wouldn't have to pay import taxes) and after looking around(for some time I imagine), this was the only suitable one of the 4 that was available.
They told us many interesting facts about their GT40:
* like how the customs guy was a fan of their driver(Kevin Bartlett) and was able to push their car through customs in less than an hour, enabling the family to take it immediately out to a race meet at QR
* another story about it attending Adelaide Classic Rally in touring class(non-race class) and how driver Kevin Bartlett drove it to the limit anyway, recording times fast enough to win or come close to winning the event.
* an interesting tid bit, is that the car runs a reproduction front & rear clip and drivers door. The originals are stored. To fit tall drivers in, the drivers door had to have a gurney bubble installed, so a copy of the door was made for the purpose.
* they had recently been offered US$2 million for it.
They contacted a fellow local collector and organised for his 427 Cobra to be shipped to their place for us to also experience. It was sat beside their MKI & MKII Cobras, making it the first time they believe a MKI, MKII & MKIII cobra had sat beside each other in Aus. The collector did offer to bring over his GT40(P1109), but for reasons I won't disclose here it was thought best for it to not attend. They ask owner of the only 427SC Cobra about bringing his car over, but that owner declined.
All I can say is it was an amazing experience...and very thankful to Bowden's for putting on the best of days. And the trouble they went to in organising the other Cobra's.
For more information about their cars and especially the GT40, see http://www.bowdensown.com.au/cars/cars.html
They also have great car car products...but that's another story.
I'll add more detail, if anyone wants it. Ask away.