Bowin Cars was an Australian designer and manufacturer of motor racing cars from 1968 to 1976.
The car company was founded by John Vincent Joyce (1938–2002), a successful designer and builder of racing cars and in later years gas appliances incorporating Low NOx Technology. Joyce travelled to England and joined Team Lotus as a Project Engineer, later to become the company's Chief Development Engineer during the mid to late 1960s. While at Lotus Cars, his responsibilities included design and development of all aspects of formula racing, Indianapolis 500, sports, rally, and high performance road cars. His projects at Lotus included the Europa road car, as well as the Type 40 and Type 41 racers.
On return to Australia in 1968, he started his own company, Bowin Designs Pty. Ltd., which designed and built racing cars for sale in Australia. Fifty-six cars were built in total between 1968 and 1976. During this period, he carried out several projects for Ford Motor Company and Leyland Motors on suspension design, to improve roadholding of Ford Falcon, Ford Escort and Leyland Marina cars.
Approximately ten racing cars were sold for export to Canada, New Zealand and South East Asia. Bowin Cars have raced successfully in these countries as well as Europe.
Bowin Cars are best remembered for dominating the Australian Formula Ford scene with 16 podium finishes from 1970 - 1983. It took the UK car maker, Van Diemen until 1993 to surpass Bowin's all-time Australian Formula Ford ranking. Bowin Cars still stand as the best Australian built Formula Ford, winning a total of four Australian Formula Ford "Driver to Europe" Series in 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978. The company also built and competed in the Formula 2 & Formula 5000 class, however, the cars were never able to achieve the same success as it had in Formula Ford. A number of these cars can still be seen racing successfully in Australia today.
In 1976, when the demand for racing cars declined in Australia, the company changed its core business, branching out into making a wide variety of home appliance products from a new type of industrial cookers called the set n forget cooker to railway lighting systems. In the early 1980s, the company concentrated its design, engineering and entrepreneurial expertise on developing a range of gas appliance products for domestic, institutional and light commercial markets world wide. In 1985 a modern gas appliance manufacturing facility was built replacing the old car factory site. During this time the company won a contract to supply gas-heating systems to government schools in Australia with a gas burner designed to reduce emission and improve air quality called the LO-NOx burner.
Joyce died of a heart attack in June 2002 and is survived by his wife Pam and three sons.
All Bowin Cars started with the letter P, which simply stood for project.
In fact, two Formula Juniors were designed and built by John Joyce prior to the formation of Bowin Cars.(P1) - A Cooper-based car in 1959
(P2) - The Koala in 1962.
Bowin P3 - 1967-1968 P3 Australian National Formula Car
Bowin P4 - 1970-1974 P4 Formula Ford Car
Bowin P6 - 1972-1974 P6 Formula Ford & Formula 2 Car
Bowin P7 - 1973-1975 P7 ?
Bowin P8 - 1973-1975 P8 Formula 2 & Formula 5000 Car