This week Fletch strays from his regular Classic Restos format and chats with the iconic and much loved Australian Dick Smith. He talks about his early business days as a 2-way radio manufacturer and car radio installer of famous Australian-made brands such as Astor, Krysler and HMV. Then the transition from car radio installer to the launch of Dick Smith Electronics that he sold after 8 years to Woolworths for $20 million.
Along the way he is credited with creating the Variety Bash, a novel fundraising concept that he based on the REDEX trials and his hero Gelignite Jack Murray, an idea that today has been adopted around the world. Dick explains it was a way of getting some wealthy people to donate to charity without been seen as a do-gooder. With some unique rules that allowed bribing and cheating to be allowed to raise more funds for Charity.
Dick thinks he is a car enthusiast, maybe not as committed as some, but he fondly recalls a list of his cars over the years. Starting with a Morris Minor that he purchased for 400 pounds, and ran his 2-way & car radio installation business out of, a FC Panel Van, EH Holden, then a step up to a Fairlane V8, a V6 Ford Capri, a Brock Commodore - that was a favourite, especially after experiencing a Hot Lap with Peter Brock. Today he has electric cars, a Nissan Leaf for getting around town and aTesla.
Dick Smith's story wouldn't be complete without referencing some of his aerial exploits including 5 helicopter flights around the world including 1 solo flight, two of these adventures were before the introduction of GPS that makes them quite astonishing, along with some of his exploits along the way.