Smith captures multiple awards at World of Wheels

Published 4:51 pm Monday, February 13, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Austin Smith has been immersed in cars since he could walk. Now a 19-year-old Jemison High School graduate, Smith owns his own restoration business and recently brought home three awards for his projects at World of Wheels Auto Show in Birmingham from Feb. 3-5.

The 52nd annual show in Birmingham brought in hundreds of cars from around the southeast, and some entered the best in show contests to see whose ride is the sweetest at the show.

“They had a bunch of unique cars up there (at the show),” Smith said. “If you like cars, it is definitely worth going to.”

Smith took three cars he worked on to the auto show — a 1979 Chevrolet two-wheel drive K5 Blazer, a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro and 1971 Plymouth Duster. The Chevrolet Blazer won first place in the utility and wagon class and the Camaro and Duster both placed second in the conservative hardtop and bracket class, respectively.

The Camaro was a project for one of Smith’s customers who allowed him to take the car to the auto show, and the Duster is his father’s car.

“One of the biggest reasons I wanted to go up there and show these cars off is because I try to give people an honest price,” Smith said. “I am not in the business to be a millionaire in two years … I wanted to show people that you do not have to spend $100,000 on a car to have something nice to be proud of.”

The three cars Smith took to World of Wheels each had between $20,000-$30,000 in restoration work into it.

Smith’s love of cars began at an early age and has grown ever since.

“I have grown up around these cars,” Smith said. “Since I was old enough to go outside, my dad would carry me outside and (I would) get in his toolbox. I have been around cars my whole life.”

Smith has been driving a drag car since he was 15 years old, and he now owns his own business, Smith Trucking Performance & Paint in Jemison.

“Since I graduated school (last year), I have gotten out and done this on my own for myself,” Smith said. “Mostly old cars are where I specialize. We mostly paint cars, but we do some work on race cars and drag cars and build motors for people.”

Smith took a paint and body work class at LeCroy Career Technical Center where he sharpened his skills in the industry he was preparing to break into. During the class, Smith painted the Plymouth Duster and parlayed that into a second-place finish in the bracket category at World of Wheels.

Smith’s father is a truck driver and hopes to follow in his footsteps in the coming years and drive trucks as well. His father’s work is also how the truck performance aspect of Smith Trucking Performance & Paint came about.

Smith can be found at any local car meet or show such as the Chilton County Cruisers, and the car show at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Jemison with some of the cars he and his team have helped restore. Smith said there are a lot of classic cars in and around Chilton County for those gear heads interested in getting involved in the local car scene.

“I just have a knack for cars, and it is like an addiction,” Smith said.

Smith said one of his future goals is to build or restore a car with his dad and take it to an auction such as Barrett-Jackson to see how much it can bring in.

Anyone interested in restoring an old car can contact Smith Trucking Performance & Paint at 205-294-0984 for more information.