Sparesbox Blog

The Nagari 500: The Return of Australia's Supercar

By Mitch Babbs

Wed Oct 23 2019

A little while back we highlighted one of the final production cars ever manufactured in Australia and the price tag that it was expected to fetch at time of sale. Connected in spirit is the newly unveiled Bolwell Nagari 500, debuted in its pre-production form at Motorclassica 2019 recently in Melbourne. 

Billed as the home-grown alternative to foreign high-end supercars, the Nagari 500 is expected to go into production in 2020. Despite many production details still not being set in stone, there are a few details to go off that make the 500 an exciting prospect to keep an eye on as we move into next year.

The new concept from Bolwell will be rocking a Chevy-sourced 6.2L LS3 V8 engine, the same engine you’d find in Australia’s final Commodore SS models. The typically 430 horsepower LS3 has had its output increased to 500hp, or around 372kW. According to founder Campbell Bolwell, it should be good for 0 to 100 in under 3s. 

This, in conjunction with the car weighing in at under 1000kg, means the handling and responsiveness should be in a field of its own. Speaking of the weight, it’s been made possible by Bolwell’s history of producing exotic supercars and their investment in the technology necessary to refine their cars over the years. 

A staple of Australian automotive history, Bolwell’s signature iconic vehicles from the 60s and 70s featured sleek lines, high wheel arches and curved chassis. Those cars rocked Ford’s legendary 351 cubic inch V8 instead and were for many the pinnacle of Australian supercars at the time, both in style and power. The design for the modern iteration has been modernised, with a vacuum-sealed body more reminiscent of a Ferrari (sans the iconic red) than the muscle car-inspired Nagaris of the free love era. 

This isn’t the first attempt at a comeback for the Nagari, however. Some of you might remember the Nagari 300, a six-speed auto that emerged in 2009 sporting a Toyota-sourced V6 that was intended to be an alternative to the Lotus. With a price-tag just shy of $200K, it didn’t find the niche it was looking for and disappeared soon after without much fanfare. Bolwell hopes (and believes) that the 500 will be a different story.

“We’ve had it out for a few drives, and it’s a real supercar,” said Campbell Bolwell. “As with the original Nagari, this is a proper road car — it’s hugely powerful, but you can drive it to the shops. It even has a boot.”

While a number of details remain up in the air, there’s enough here to get excited for the Nagari 500: the lightweight frame resulting in impressive braking and handling, the potential for a moderately priced supercar, as well as the prospect of an Australian supercar finding its feet once again. 

The Nagari 500 is expected to go into production sometime in 2020, with final information on costs to be confirmed in the new calendar year.