When you look down the long flowing flanks covering the huge tyres with their knock-off spinners and inspect the intricate duct work you appreciate why it took mechanic Jim Cowden 15,000 hours to custom build his road going Ford GT40 from the ground up. The beautiful race car which has been the dream of many a young boy over the decades sits outside his Northern Beaches workshop surrounded by blue and yellow Anglomoil oil drums. Jim first discovered Anglomoil over 25 years ago and has run his business – and the GT40 – on it ever since.
Jim’s story started back in the Seventies when at the age of 15 he began his apprenticeship and by 21 was running his own workshop. When he began using the Australian made Anglomoil lubricants he was surprised to find such a big difference between them and the major brands.
“I’d look inside an engine and it was a clean as the day it was made. I remember back then garages around here were having issues with VVTI engines and Holden timing chains. Some of them told me about having to do valve clearance adjustments on certain engines but I didn’t have anything happen to my customers’ cars. The engines were clean, the camshafts weren’t wearing out, and I attribute that directly to the oil I was using. Their oils were simply not up to it and mine were.”
“There is a very big difference between Anglomoil and other oils. For example, people bring their cars in here and I put Anglomoil synthetic oil in the engine and keep the engine running while it’s up on the hoist and no matter what type of vehicle it is after a few minutes it goes quiet. It is amazing. The same goes for transmissions and drive train. My customers call me while they are driving away from here and they say they can tell when I’ve changed the oil because the car feels better, it goes better and it sounds quieter.”
“I have not had one issue with a car in 30 years. I have worked on thousands of vehicles in that time and not had an engine go on me or seen any premature wearing or oil leaks or sludging. Nothing. Some of these engines have had lots of kilometres on them too. It’s not unusual to have an engine with 200 or 250 thousand k’s on it. With these oils an engine should be able to do 300,000 kilometres.”
“I have no reason to test the oil because it is still working nicely when I take it out. Other brands are not made to go the distance between services but Anglomoil is so good it could keep working even longer.”
“Transmissions are another area where I’ve been problem-free. I like to flush out automatic transmissions every 50,000 kilometres. Some mechanics have asked me why and I do it because with modern cars the heat exchangers don’t always keep them cool and the filters can clog up. So I put Anglomoil synthetic transmission fluid in them and they are bulletproof.”
Jim says sales representatives from other oil companies visit from time to time. They take out their price list and try to get him to change based on price.
“I will not leave Anglomoil because of price. Why would I open myself up to my customers starting to have problems and maybe wanting to leave me after all these years because my standards have dropped. They come to me because they know that I know how to keep their cars running reliably and on the road. It’s never been about money. It is about the performance of the products and I am convinced that nothing can outperform Anglomoil.”
Jim has worked on almost everything over the years – cars, vans, commercials, four wheel drives, truck fleets and even historics – with some of his customers having stayed with him for the full 30 years. He is such a fan of Anglomoil that he says he has found a lot of new uses for the Anglomoil Truck Wash which might sound a bit strange,
“Their Truck Wash is antibacterial so I use it in the bathroom, for doing the dishes, to take marks off the wall at home, for cleaning my barbeque and getting stains off upholstery. And, of course, to wash trucks and the workshop floor. The 20 litre pack is cheaper per litre than the products they sell in the shops.”
Back to the gleaming Ford GT40 which Jim likes to take on competitive hill climb and lap dash events. Despite never having built anything before he decided to opt for the Ford because it was easy to get started.
“It was a bucket list thing, I had always wanted one. I bought a sub frame which I chopped up, suspension which I ended up throwing away and a fibreglass shell. The engine is from a Ford Cobra.”
Jim laid a wireframe over the shell – which required hours of welding 5mm rods together in the right shape – and then used this as his ‘buck’ to make the aluminium body. This was made up of nearly $1000 worth of aluminium sheets which he carefully tapped into shape. This is where so much of the labour of love went in order to replicate every curve and air intake. All of the pieces had to be millimetre perfect when they were fitted together. Having been purpose-built to slip through the air at high speed the GT40 features a lot of complex aerodynamic curves.
Every bracket, clamp, hinge and component was meticulously hand made with the utmost detail on Jim’s lathe, mill or metal press in the corner of the workshop. He made the seats, fuel injection system and wiring loom. You notice there is even beauty in the finish of the welding. The dashboard, with its long row of gauges, was vacuum formed by a friend. Jim even taught himself 2D CAD so that he could create accurate drawings for the laser cutter. He says it was like a giant Meccano set.
Every fluid running through this car comes out of an Anglomoil drum: engine oil, gear oil, coolant, etc. Jim has calculated over $1,600,000 worth of man hours to get the GT to road-ready stage and despite this he has not given up. Project Number Two is underway at the back of the workshop. The sub frame and coil over suspension will one day become part of a shiny red Ferrari 206SP Dino which will be powered by a Nissan 3.0-litre vee-six engine. And you can guarantee that it too will run on Anglomoil lubricants.
One thing Jim has in bucket loads after all these years is passion for what he does,
“I go to bed dressed because I want to get back to the workshop!”