96 Mus­cle Man

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

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.

96

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