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Fall 2015 253

I first met Dick Smith in Oakland

at SAAC-1, in August of 1976. His

smile was warm and friendly and

when you talked with him he was gen-

uinely interested in what you had to

say. It was, after all, just two car guys,

talking cars. His bright red 427 S/C

was not a pristine show car – it was a

retired race car, a former SCCA Na-

tional Champion with nothing to

prove. Realizing that by the mid-1970s

the car was no longer competitive,

Smith had taken it off the track and

occasionally drove it on the streets of

his hometown, Fresno, California.

You could tell as you watched him

wiping the exterior down with a damp

towel or lifting off the hood that was

held in place by a klik-pin at each cor-

ner, that he was intimately familiar

with the car. He raced on the West

Coast from late 1966 through 1968

and garnered two ARRC invitations,

one in 1967 (where he finished 1st in

A/P) and one in 1968 (DNF due to a

mechanical malfunction). In March

1969 at Sebring, a Porsche slid into

him causing the Cobra to spin back-

wards into a post near the track’s

edge. The rear end was crunched and

there was a fire which was extin-

guished quickly. Smith repaired the

car and decided not to race it anymore.

He painted it bright red and drove it

on the street, entering the occasional

open track and hillclimb. Then vintage

racing came along and he was all-in.

Dick Smith was always interested

in flying and had a private pilot’s li-

cense when he was a teenager. In the

mid-1950s he joined the Army and

went to Infantry Officer Candidate

School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. From

– Rick Kopec

Monterey Historics, August 1976 [

left to right]

Kopec, George Harm (Smith’s long time

friend and sometime sponsor), Dick Smith and CSX3035.

Smith started racing the car in the fall of 1966. George Harm originally purchased the

S/C from Mel Burns Ford. The intention was for Smith to race the car but no full com-

petition cars were available. There wasn’t much difference between a comp model and

an S/C. It was originally Silver Mink but Smith painted the nose orange to make the

car stand out. In 1967 he bought the car from Harm and had a very good season. He

went to the American Road Race of Champions at Daytona in November 1967 where

he won the A/P National Championship. He was clocked at 198 mph.