As a child, like many others, David Clash loved to draw cars. As an adult however, that pastime became a little more real.
Now, as part of a new display at Launceston’s National Automobile Museum of Tasmania, Mr Clash is sharing the fruits of that work – his iconic 2015 Devaux Coup – with the state for the first time.
“Wide Open Road / We Made Them Here” is the title of the new display, showcasing a wide range of Australian made vehicles and one likely to be the last at the museum’s Cimitiere Street site, according to manager Philip Costello.
Growing up in England in the age of Thunderbirds and The Italian Job – both large influences on his work – Mr Clash has been drawing cars for longer than he can remember.
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“My mum and dad met at art school in the 40s and 50s,” he told The Examiner. With his father an engineer and his mother a painter, the pieces were in place to foster a passion for industrial design.
By the time he was ten, he would ask his mother to send those drawings to companies like Maserati, from which he would receive magazines and brochures in return.
“In Italian though, so I couldn’t read them,” he laughed.
When Mr Clash’s family immigrated to Australia in 1980, he himself went into art school – then industrial design at RMIT.
He graduated in 1988, the same year he began rough sketches of what would evolve into the Devaux, before going on to work for various design companies.
Throughout it all, he refined the designs for this more personal project.
“I loved 30s design and 1930s powerboats,” he said. “I loved all of the art nouveau stuff .. there were lots of influences I guess. It kind of expressed itself in the [Devaux].”
The first car utilised a Riley 2.5 RM chassis and Jaguar engine, but this was later abandoned for production models in favour of a custom-made chassis and modern running gear in the form of Holden V8s.
Mr Clash selected the name for his creation carefully – Devaux being his mother’s maiden name.
With 16th century French Huguenot origins, he also felt it fit the character of his French-inspired machine perfectly.
“I was very pleased to be asked by the museum to put it in the exhibition. It’s great to have the car there,” continued. “I hope it does well for the museum as well. There’s some great cars in there.”
At this stage the museum display features eight other cars of the type “people may expect” to see in an Australian display, Mr Costello told The Examiner – an FJ Holden ute, a Sandman wagon – along with some rarer custom builds and the Devaux.
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