Phil Brow never intended to own three examples of the iconic Australia sports car, the Eureka — but that’s the way it worked out.
“Since I saw one in 1979 I’ve always wanted a Eureka and I was finally able to get a white one in 2004. I’m the third owner,” Phil said.
His second and third Eurekas have been hand built by Phil from parts and spares he has acquired in the last decade.
The Eureka made a sensational debut 40 years ago at The Melbourne Motor Show.
Based on the UK Nova kit car design, it was Australianised by Allan Purvis who produced the car between 1974 and 1989 from his Dandenong factory.
With its low slung super car looks and a canopy roof that rose up to allow entry and exit, it was the Holden Hurricane dream car you could buy and drive.
The Eureka used the VW Beetle chassis and a fibreglass body. Customers could either buy an almost complete car and fit their own engine or haul all of the basic components back home and build the entire thing themselves.
Back in the day the engine of choice was an air-cooled VW flat four. These days the boxer Subaru motors and even Mazda rotaries are used.
“The charm of the Eureka is that no two cars are exactly alike,” Phil said.
“The cars may look alike at a distance, but when you take a close look you can see differences. Because all were hand built each car reflects the original owner’s building preferences with things like type of engine, trim placement, wiring routes and general cosmetic touches”.
Phil admirs finding body parts can be a problem.
“However the original moulds for the body panels still exist and within the club there is great deal of swapping and helping each other. Engines and running gear are quite easy to repair however, as it is mostly VW Beetle.”
The Eureka has a special place in Australian motoring history and was recently recognised in the National Gallery of Victoria’s exhibition: Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car.
There were 648 Eurekas sold by Allan Purvis. According to Phil, who is the secretary of the Purvis Eureka Car Club, the locations of approximately 150 are known today.
The rest may well be in sheds and under tarpaulins in someone’s back yard. So start looking!
David Burrell is the editor of www.retroautos.com.au
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