David Bowden had his passion for cars forged at a very young age. In 1925, his father Frank began selling the very first Australian made Fords back in Dalby for his sister, Nell, who was the first female Ford dealer anywhere in the world. Frank was later to move on and part own the first local Holden Dealership in Nambour, Qld, right after the war, so David of course developed a love for Fords! He owned his first car, a 34 Ford, at the age of 12, becoming a keen and avid hot rodder, building up many different side valve V8 powered Fords, till he finally acquired a 1932 Ford Roadster. He was to become notorious for this Ford Roadster around Brisbane, with it being channeled and having the '48 Mercury V8 fitted with a McCulloch supercharger, it was ideal for getting into all sorts of trouble back then!
The Bowden's Story
Our family have dedicated their blood, sweat and tears into restoring and maintaining vital pieces of Australian motor racing history. The car collection has grown to over 70+ cars that are housed mostly on our Sunshine Coast property, as well as a few museums and showrooms throughout Australia. And it is due to our love of the cars in our collection, that we started our uniquely Australian car care range – Bowden’s Own Premium Car Care. This is our story.
David moved around a bit in this time, working numerous jobs within the car industry, starting his time as an apprentice mechanic at Coach Craft Ford in Brisbane, then moving between Sydney, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Nth Qld and Darwin. His parents sold his beloved 32' Ford while he was away in his travels, something he never forgave them for!
David's passion for motorsport was developed in this time as well, after a trip to Warwick Farm and being spell-bound by a white '65 Mustang being hurtled around by the extemely talented Ian 'Pete' Geoghegan. He met 'Pete' in the pits later that day and it was the start of a life long friendship, that involved him becoming an unofficial member of the Geoghegan racing team, helping wherever and whenever he could at their race events.
Like many of his generation, David developed a strong passion for the Australian muscle cars of this era, noteably Falcon GT's, owning some 21 of the different GTHO models in the first few years of production! David was to meet his wife Pauline and they fatefully ended up in Townsville during 1973. It was here that he was to acquire a very special car, that was to become an important foundation car for the collection. – The now legendary Ford GTHO Phase IV. It was a big year, as first son Dan was to come along, followed three years later while living in Adelaide with 2nd son Chris joining the tribe. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree and both boys were to be hit with the disease of car fanaticism as well.
In 1982 David tracked down one of 'Pete's Geoghegan's' famous old race cars, the 1971 GTHO Super Falcon. He had a memorable drive of it around Surfers Paradise to help bed in the brakes. The look, noise and power of the fuel injected 600+BHP Cleveland engine got his attention, especially as it lit the wheels up in all 4 gears! What he found a decade later just broke his heart, the Super Falcon had become an unloved relic, that was truthfully not far from being taken to the tip. He bought it and spent the best bit of the next decade restoring the car back to its most glorious moment - how it won the now legendary Easter 1972 Bathurst race against Moffat's mighty Mustang.
That's when he began to look around for other iconic race cars, the ones that no one cared for, as in those days nothing had less value than an old and no longer competitive race car. Many were being stripped and sold for the worth of their parts, dumping what was left. With Dan and Chris in tow, he slowly tracked down many significant cars, from all over Australia and overseas, and set about restoring or preserving them, for the simple reason that he believed it was history worth saving. From this point the collection began to really grow, filling sheds with a lot of significant Australian racing machinery.
For years we had been using a large range of highly regarded US and European “quality” car care products, till we began to notice a few issues to the finishes of our prized cars. We commissioned a local chemist to do some in-depth research and review what we were using. To our surprise, the majority of the products contained cheap and quite damaging ingredients, with the general formulas not being ideal for long term use. We are a fussy bunch when it comes to our cars, and came to the conclusion that for us to have something we would be happy with, we would need to make our own. This began our journey to develop new car care products, custom made to suit our needs.
After many months of testing a diverse selection of product formula's from our very patient chemist, we finalised our first batch of 4 products in 2000. It was a happy day, as we now had our hands on something that we could trust to care for our cars over the long term.
In the next year we had car fanatics enquiring about the ‘no-name’ car care products we were using at events. We gave them small samples, and this is when our first “customers” starting coming back asking for more! We thought it might be some fun to look at making more to appease this early demand.
We honestly never expected the products to gain the popularity they have today, but as word got around the local car communities, we had more people wanting product than we could supply. So in mid 2002 we took the plunge and "Bowden’s Own" Premium Car Care was born, with our new Aussie bird of prey logo, we took on the big imported multi national brands through the Autobarn chain and other independents who loved to support an Australian owned and made car care range. It was not much of a range back then however, we launched with one solitary product, the salt free Auto Body Gel. It might not have set the world on fire, but car enthusiasts loved it and wanted more! It was followed up with our 3 other products; a carnuaba wax, pre wax cleanser and a detailing spray, all hand made and bottled in our Buderim shed.
Keeping up with the growth we invested further into local production facilities and research chemists, to help us develop more world class formulations. Not using generic formula's means we painstakingly custom develop each and every product from scratch, like our Wheely Clean and Tyre Sheen that each took over 7 years to perfect. But when they are done, they proudly adorn the Bowden family name on the bottle, effectively becoming a unique new member of our car care family.
Not being the type of family to just be content with what we had made, we began even more work into the development of more new car care technologies. We now have 5 great and equally passionate Australian chemists helping us to create many new cutting edge formulas, keeping us ahead of the huge and slower moving imported competition. The chemists are always busy finding new and better ways of adding the latest technology to our old favorites as well. From the original 4 products, we currently now have close to 50, all of an epic quality that fussy enthusiasts - people like us - can trust to use on their many different 4 and 2 wheeled friends.
We don't mass produce any of our products, or look for the cheapest possible way to create them either, only the highest quality ingredients that are still all measured, blended and filled by hand, to ensure we get an exceptional final product (while still adding that important human element to them). There's a simple reason for this; we still need the best products possible to use on our cars as well. It's why we first got into making car care and no matter how big we become, that ethos will never change.
It's now over 15 years since we first started creating our products, and it's quite amazing to get the support we receive, with hundreds of stores now stocking the car care range across the country and more interest coming from international locations as well, as we work towards world domination! None of this would be possible without our extended family of passionate car loving people that all share our same vision – To have trusted products that work as they say they will.
We love hearing from our fans, so feel free to drop us an email, call us, or stalk us and join the conversation on our busy social media pages.
Our family has a strong belief in the quality of Australian manufacturing. We proudly use local chemists, research laboratories, chemical and fragrance suppliers, factories, packers, bottle and cap makers, printers, box makers, labelers, designers, even this website hosting service, to keep the money here, reinvesting in our country. Very different to all our imported competition!
We are family owned and still run from our main big shed in Buderim. It's a great place to come to "work" amongst all the great cars we love. The constant car care development and weekend car events make sure we have a lot of fun in all aspects of our lives.
We invite those who wish, to come along and see our passion first hand. A couple of times a year we have our popular Customer "Open Day" Tours, so the good people who support our car care can share a great day with us at home, seeing and hearing the awesome cars in the collection. You can read more about these special days and how you can get your tickets in the link below.