96 Muscle Man
Clem Smith is a living treasure and saviour of South Australian motorsport. This is the story of an understated bloke and his incredibly diverse racing career. Theme song: ‘Forever Now’ by Cold Chisel (ageless and from Adelaide).
OThe pair of Super Touring Bathurst 1000 winning cars perhaps don’t get documented in traditional Muscle Car history books, but they form an important part of Mount Panorama history and packed plenty of punch from their two-litre engines
K, let’s stop there and get this out of the way, shall we? Over here at Australian Muscle Car magazine we can already hear the grumbles and groans from a handful of people who believe these pages are reserved for V8-powered, Aussie-built racers.
To a degree they are, but they are also set aside for Australian motor racing history (in particular touring cars) to be documented for generations to come – a stance we’ve outlined in recent issues and will continue to hold firm on in the future.
So, with that in mind, our latest look at Bathurst 1000-winning cars takes us to the Super Touring, two-litre races in 1997 and 1998.
After V8 Supercars elected to leave the October long weekend event and create their own Mountain marathon, organisers of the ‘traditional’ race opted for an internationallyflavoured field of two-litre cars with which to contest their event.
Holding the race to Super Touring rules was logical given the explosive growth of the category internationally and its toe-hold in Australia. Super Touring’s epicentre was the British Touring Car Championship, with no fewer than 12 manufacturers entering factory-backed teams in the BTCC in the mid 1990s.
The two Super Touring Bathurst 1000s featured fields filled by imported factory squads (including from the BTCC), distributor-backed teams from the domestic series and a handful of privateer entries.
Given Volvo’s stunning return to local tin-top competition in 2014, we thought it an appropriate time to track down the vehicle which gave the Swedish marque its previous high-water mark down under, in the 1998 AMP Bathurst 1000. The win came courtesy of Jim Richards and Swede Rickard Rydell, who held out the Nissan (!) Primera of Jim’s son Steve and BTCC regular Matt Neal.
We also put the spotlight on the chassis that gave BMW a long-awaited Bathurst win via the Brabham boys the previous year.
These are the stories of the two cars that conquered the Mountain in those thrilling races and their whereabouts today.
The good news is that both survive. What’s more, one is owned today by a driver who took it to victory lane in the Great Race.