A muscle car auction to get the motor running
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 16th August, 2017
The late Clem Smith owned and promoted South Australia’s historic Mallala Motorsport Park 55 kilometres north of Adelaide from 1977 until his death in February this year.
Recognised as the doyen of South Australian motorsport with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) and the Australian Sports Medal, under his ownership the venue (which had originally risen to prominence as the location for the 1961 Australian Grand Prix but had closed in 1971) in 1984 re-established its national focus through the Australian Formula 2 Championships followed five years later by annually hosting a round of the Australian Touring Car Championship.
Over the years, various other events followed and currently the track is the annual venue each Easter for the Mallala Historics and Shannons Nationals Motor Racing Championships.
In addition to running Mallala, Smith created a fascinating collection of more than 35 motor vehicles – from Australian built muscle cars to American sports cars and tourers.
The quality collection, to be sold at Mallala Motorsport Park from 2.30pm Sunday August 20 through Mossgreen, contains three Chrysler Chargers including Smith’s 1972 R/T E38 sports sedan, a clone of the Beechey/McKeown 1971 Bathurst 1000 contender.
Chrysler is synonymous with the Mallala circuit because the legendary factory backed Chrysler production car drivers Leo and Pete Geoghegan who tested the Charger at the track.
In 1948, Smith established a Chrysler dealership in Edwardstown in South Australia.
Regarded as a hero by legendary Australian driver the late Peter Brock, Smith is warmly remembered as a good-hearted competitor and wonderful mechanic meticulous about the preparation of his cars.
He trail-blazed Valiants in competition and championed sports sedans, coming third in the 1963 single race Australian Touring Car Championship at Mallala. Among his many other achievements Smith is identified for the heavily modified 1978 Chrysler Charger, now an iconic machine in sports sedan history – used in recent years as the parade car for the Clem Smith Cup Sports Sedan race at the circuit and the centrepiece of his collection.
Another attraction is the 1962 Dodge Phoenix S series, purchased new from Clem Smith’s West Terrace dealership and remaining in the family until sold back to Smith in 2013.
The collection incorporates nine outstanding Hudsons including a 1952 and 1955 Hornet – the former being Doc Hudson’s feature car in the animated movie “Cars”.
Other cars in the collection include a 1954 Austin Healey, a 1935 Railton Fairmile One Drophead, a 1967 fiat Bambino, a 1950 Jaguar XK120, a 1934 Hudson Terraplane 6C Roadster and a 1923 Model T Ford bodied by Sydney firm Properts.