Bowin P3

Bowin P3

In 1968, the Bowin P3 was a bold new project to give Australia a fully professional monocoque racing car. The P3 was designed for the Australian National Formula (under which it initially raced) and the Australian 1½ Litre Formula (where it never raced). After the capacity limit for Australian Formula 2 was increased from 1100cc to 1600cc at the beginning of 1969, the P3 found a new home in that class. The car was designed by John Joyce founder of Bowin Cars and assisted by Ray Parson's, better known as mechanic to Jim Clark.

This was the first and only Bowin car type to come out of the Joyce-Parsons association. The project took just over 12 weeks to complete.

Only one Bowin P3 was car ever built and it was driven by Queensland racing driver Glyn Scott, who fitted the car with a "spare" 1600 FVA Cosworth he bought from Piers Courage after the 1968 Tasman Series.

The Design

There were two major points about the Bowin Cars construction. The chief aim of the project was to build a car that was economical enough for Australian racers to afford and also easy to maintain - unlike most monocoques. Just as important was the fact that almost every component of the car, with the exception of the engine and transmission, was entirely manufactured in Australia.

Joyce designed his own magnesium hub carries, and all other suspension members, his own wheels, steering and so on. All components were either fabricated in his own workshops or manufactured by Australian companies - Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation cast the wheels and hub carriers.

Most non-local components simply couldn't be manufactured in Australia, although Joyce would have been willing to try local producers if they existed. Those non-Australian components include English FPT fuel cells, made of the rare material hycathane, the Girling disc calipers, fitted all round, and some other special fittings, including the lightweight aircraft battery that fits underneath the driver's knee.

The design programme for the Bowin P3 included as much planning for economic production and lifetime maintenance as for any other phase of the project. Wrapped up in the prime considerations of economics and adaptability was an intense dedication to the idea that this should be purely Australian Car.

To achieve this, Joyce borrowed no particular existing designs, but didn't consciously avoid them. Either, for the sheer sake of novelty. He believed all ideas on the car were based on sound, established practices and that the only innovations are logical and developments of these. If anything, Joyce felt the P3 may owe something to a McLaren, but the differences were really quite marked.

The monocoque chassis extends from the front bulkhead to the rearmost engine-transmission mount. The actual chassis projects forwards as far as the front suspension location, but the pedals, master cylinders, radiator and so on are hung on outriggers built on to the monocoque.

At the rear, the engine sits on integral monocoque rails, and the chassis is not an extension of the bottom or "tub"; of the cockpit part of the monocoque as on many integral chassis design cars.

The engine rails are cross-braced only at the rearmost point. The chassis is supplied complete with transmission (Hewland FT200) since the rear suspension is partly located on the transmission.

The fuel tank containers are an actual integral part of the chassis design and were built around the design intention of utilising only fuel cells as fuel carriers. The flexible cells are stuffed through apertures in the cockpit and clip into place on special mountings.

The seat is also part of the chassis and provisions has been made in its location for the installation of an auxiliary fuel tank to add to the twin 12 gallon cavities provided on each side.

The actual cockpit interior dimensions are wider than a Lotus and McLaren monocoque, although the exterior width is small. This makes for an extremely sleek and small body, with better comfort for the driver. A neat touch is the flared-out sides to the cockpit which Joyce hoped would overcome most of the driving problems associated with lack of elbow-room.

The aero-dynamics of the monocoque design basically hinged on a constant upward sloping flat line that carried through from the mouth to behind the driver's head. Which was influenced by John's practical experience with this type of design in his wind-tunnel testing work conducted on the 1968 Lotus Turbine car for Indianapolis. Many of the ideas on that car were Joyce's and he has adapted them for the Bowin P3 as well. [ Rob Luck, Racing Car News, May 1968 Page 40-44 ]

Race History

See the [ Bowin Cars] website for detailed histories of the cars.


CHASSIS: High stiffness monocoque, of high strength alloy and steel, utilising latest techniques in assembly with emphasis placed on ease of maintenance and repair.

FRONT SUSPENSION: Independent by double wishbones, operating entirely on adjustable rod-ends and a separate anti-roll bar. Springing by coil springs in conjunction with Armstrong dampers incorporating adjustable spring platforms. Suspension has built-in anti-dive qualities.

REAR SUSPENSION: Fully independent double wishbone and radius arm configuration incorporating anti-squat characteristics. Fitted with Armstrong adjustable dampers and spring platform adjustment. Coil Springs. Separate adjustable anti-roll bar. Outboard drive-shafts hollow to reduce unsprung weight. Rear hub carriers magnesium, cast. Suspension operates entirely on adjustable rod-ends with provision for toe-in and camber adjustments.

BRAKES: Discs all round, 9 3/4 inch diameter. Rear discs mounted inboard of hub carrier. Girling A.R alloy callipers. Twin master cylinders with adjustable ratio balance bar.

STEERING: Lightweight rack and pinion with adjustable steering column and lightweight 10 inch leather-covered steering wheel. Steering arms connected to rack by adjustable rod-ends.

TRANSMISSIONS: Hewland gearbox F2 type FT2000 with full magnesium casing. Five forwards speeds, plus reverse. Full choice of ratios. Gearbox inclusive in overall price car.

WATER COOLING SYSTEM: Crossflow radiator low-mounted in nose, connected to power unit by allow pipes and flexible hoses. Includes allow swirl pot.

OIL COOLING SYSTEM: Crossflow alloy oil cooler connected to engine via alloy pipes and high pressure flexible hoses. Incorporates separate oil filter and alloy oil tank.

FUEL SYSTEM: Capacity 12 gallons each side in fuel cells in side panel. Twin filters and breathers. Provision for auxiliary tank under driver's seat.

BODYWORK: Removable fibreglass nose panel and engine cover of advanced aerodynamics. Twin alloy rear vision mirrors. Seat integral in chassis and covered with detachable lightweight padding.

ELECTRICALS: Fitted with master battery switch and separate ignition switch and starter solenoid. Lightweight aircraft battery fitted beneath driver's knee.

INSTRUMENTS: Electrical tachometer, 0-8000 rpm, oil pressure gauge, water temperature gauge.

WHEELS: Magnesium four spoke four stud fixing of 13 inch diameter. Front 8 inch rim width, rear 10 inch rim width.

EXTERNAL DIMENSIONS: wheelbase 90 inch. Track front 56 inch. Track rear 56 inch ground clearance 3 1/2 inch.

OPTIONS: Long range fuel tank and fittings. Alternate engine installations.

PRICE: Purchase price in 1968 was $7000 Australian dollars including transmission and wheels.

CONSTRUCTORS: Bowin Designs, 18 Consul Road, Brookvale, Sydney 2100 Tel:9938 5433


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