VALE: JOHN BRUDERLIN
The automotive industry veteran recently passed away at the age of 86
All at the AAAA were saddened to hear of the recent passing of John Bruderlin, a founding member of the Association and the first in 1980 to achieve the Outstanding Service to Industry Award.
After starting out with Qantas as an aircraft engineer in 1949, John set up Bruderlin and Thomas MG wreckers with Leon Thomas in 1955. While that enterprise earned a lot of money, John didn’t like the fact it was all about dismantling rather than building, so in 1958 the pair established Lynx Engineering and built 23 Lynx Formula Junior race cars, most of which are still racing today in England. While this endeavor was fun, it didn’t make much money.
By the early 1960s, John held many hill climb records at a wide variety of events and during that same decade, Lynx Engineering began manufacturing what would become the largest range of carby adapters and four and six cylinder inlet manifolds in the world, while also designing the patented crossover manifold which far out-performed all other four cylinder single weber manifolds of the time.
Then in 1969, John invented the RAMFLO air filter which has since sold more than 2.6 million units worldwide. With this product, he became the only foreigner outside of the US at the time to win the Best New Product Award at the SEMA Show.
Buoyed by this success, in 1970 Lynx Engineering opened what was the biggest engineering shop in Australia on Parramatta Road in Croydon (NSW) doing work for clientele including the Royal Australian Navy. At the same time they were manufacturing Sidewinder boats under the name ‘Lynx Marine.’
In the early 70s, John and Leon would finish their partnership, with Leon taking the marine business and John the automotive business, with John going on to have all products manufactured in-house from the toolroom where the press tools and pattern plates and so on were made and maintained. This press shop boasted more than 10 Heine power presses ranging in capacity from five to 60 tonnes for Ramflo and linkage part manufacture while the in-house foundry cast the range of manifolds, carby adapters and the bolt-on oil cooler adapters which he had also pioneered.
All of the packaging for KC, Autofix and ARP Bolts was done in-house on a skin packaging machine, which Lynx had also manufactured in-house; and an engine shop was always full of used engines ready to be rebuilt while John’s two Superflow dyno test cells were frequently in use by many race teams looking to get the best performance from their engines.
With all of the above unfolding across more than 60,000 square foot of building space with the work of more than 110 employees, for more than three decades Lynx was a dominant force in the performance industry distributing the world’s biggest brands including TRW, Holley, Weiand, Edelbrock, Mallory, MSD, Felpro, Comp Cams, ARP, Wiseco, Brodix, Richmond Gear, Dellorto, Ram, Permacool and SA Books.
For many years, Lynx was Holley’s biggest customer in the world with more than two million USD of business a year back when a 350 Holley cost just $27. Lynx was also Pan Am’s biggest air freight customer in the world at the time.
During the 1980s, he bought Jack Brabham Aviation from Jack Brabham himself and purchased a brand new Beachcraft Baron 58 from the US, flying it back to Australia. The purchase included 13 planes with a flying school, a service hangar and charter operations including contracts with the Police Air Wing, prisoner transfers and other charter deals including for Playboy Magazine.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, John saw that the parts industry was changing and so he made the decision to consolidate Lynx and change direction – building the 2000 seat Sportsworld Stadium under a three acre roof on 25 acres in Western Sydney.
Up until 2017, John ran many shows and events including rodeos, show jumping and dressage and held contracts with El Caballo Blanco, The Man From Snowy River, PBR and many more. However, the most satisfying thing for John was putting on many rodeos over the years for thousands of physically and mentally disadvantaged children totally free of charge, with his theory for those days being that no money was to change hands.
All at the AAAA send their condolences to John’s family and friends at this sad time.