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Clem Smith: Australian Motorsports Trailblazer

By in Car Rallies and Events, Classic Cars

Clem Smith was, and still is, well loved among Australian motor enthusiasts, and for justified reasons.

Smith started his motor sports career in the 1950s, and his influence on the industry is still evident today in the bricks and mortar of the Mallala Motorsport Park. Smith’s death earlier this year left a gaping hole in the motorsports community, but his legacy lives on in his life’s achievements. We look back on how he has shaped the motorsports community in Australia and inspect the dedication with which he collected and preserved motoring history memorabilia in his coveted classic car collection.

Interested in owning a slice of history? The Clem Smith Collection is up for auction.

Saving the history of SA motoring

Smith fought for the motorsports community in SA when its history appeared destined to fizzle out against all odds. Smith had the guts to take the notoriously controversial developer, Keith Williams to court over the shutdown and prohibition of motorsports occurring at the Mallala Motorsport Park (then known as Mallala Race Circuit). He acquired the park in 1977 after a victorious but lengthy court battle and reopened it in 1980. Since then it has seen a full round of Australian competitions and withheld its deep history in Australian car manufacturing and motorsports.

The Order of Australia Medal

Smith was decorated with the Order of Australia Medal in 2000 for his services to the motorsports community. He was a driver, spokesperson, collector and mechanic. He competed in an array of competitions in his youth, including the 1954 Redex Round Australia Trial, the 1955 Australian Grand Prix and the 1963 Australian Touring Car Championship at Mallala. He had an innovative approach to modifying cars, with his most iconic Chrysler Charger considered as a seminal vehicle in Sports Sedan History. There is an annual Clem Smith Cup Sports Sedan race at Mallala in Smith’s honour, and in celebration of the wider sports sedan motoring community.

The Clem Smith Collection

Smith’s dedication to collecting has resulted in a truly astounding classic car collection. The collection consists of over thirty cars ranging from 1919 to 2005, all fully serviced, meticulously taken care of and driveable. It is a hommage to car manufacturing over the decades and exemplifies the advancement in technology and technique in motoring history. The collection reflects Smith’s penchant for Valiant’s and his fascination with modifying Hudsons. It includes Australian built Chryslers, Fords and Ramblers.

The Clem Smith Collection on Auction

The collection is set to go to auction on Sunday, August 20. Mossgreen will be holding the auction at Mallala Motorsport Park from 2.30pm. Viewings are scheduled for three days prior to the event, and bidders are encouraged to contact the auction house for further information before attending the auction. This is a rare opportunity to own an important slice of Australian motorsports history. The auction also includes various motorsports and manufacturing memorabilia for true Clem Smith fans, including original signs from Mallala Raceway, A Willys Overlander four cylinder side valve engine and a ‘Direct-Lift’ single phase four post hydraulic vehicle hoist.

Getting your newly acquired classic car home

Door to Door Car Carrying will be on hand to courier your classic car home, should your bid come out on top. Door to Door are specialists in interstate classic car couriering and will ensure that your valuable vehicle will arrive safely on your doorstep! Contact us today for a free quote!