Desmond worked with Aston Martin racing legends like Project 215 early in his career.
After taking to the track himself, racing a Golf in the Slick 50 Road Saloon Championship and a Rover Turbo in the Tomcat Challenge, he started prepping long distance Aston Martins and has since worked on a string of one-off racing Aston Martins.
Producing a classic Aston Martin that can withstand the rough and tumble of rallying without compromised safety or originality, is a challenge – but is something in which the team at Desmond J Smail specialises.
In 1997, after being approached by a customer with an unusual request, the team prepared a DB5 for the Peking to Paris Challenge - a gruelling 47 day test of endurance over some of the roughest terrain from the Far East to Europe. Astons had never really been used for rallying – they were not only too valuable, but generally thought to be too heavy and lacking in the strength needed to reach the end.
However, the Desmond Smail-prepared DB5 finished 11th overall and was the first Aston home. Not bad for a 35 year old car...
Since then Desmond has prepared Aston Martins for a host of sprints and rallies, including the Monte Carlo Challenge which Desmond has taken part in alongside customers, the North Cape Rally and the Round The World In 80 Days challenge – which was won by a DB6 built and prepared by Desmond and his team.
This year, Desmond has turned to circuit racing, and the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge. Co-driving alongside a client, the duo are racing in the impressive Aston Martin N24. He also races a Honda in the Britcar 24-Hour Race.