THE Shitbox Rally is one of our favourite automotive-based charity events. Not only does it have a great name, it’s also a great concept.
Contestants can spend no more than $1000 on their shitbox of choice, which they then have to take on a massive outback torture test, with the aim of raising funds for the Cancer Council. It is the largest independent fundraiser for the organisation, taking in $4.5 million over five years.
Last year we got behind the Melbourne-based team of Mad Matt and Mad Ben, who built a cool AU Falcon-based Mad Max tribute car for the event. To add extra difficulty, the boys drove the beast to Perth, adding another 3417km to the 3500km route from Perth to Darwin. Turns out, the AU was a pretty good choice for the task.
“The only serious incident was when we hit an un-signposted wash-out at 100km/h,” Matt says. “We thought we’d probably hurt it, but a check showed no oil or water leaks. So we chucked a couple of donuts and about two clicks down the road, we shredded the rear tyres.
“When we got into camp that night, we went to the triage for wounded cars. The mechanic took one look at it and said: ‘Got a hammer, mate?’ He took a massive swing and a fist-sized chunk of aluminium flew out the back of the car! Turns out we’d put a pretty big crack on the K-frame, but it wasn’t enough to stop us.”
Aside from that little mishap and an ailing power steering pump, the AU performed like a trouper and was sold at auction in Darwin for a whopping $150.
Matt and Ben are back for this year’s event, which begins in Canberra, ACT and travels a little over 3600km to Townsville via the Birdsville Track and the Simpson Desert.
“We’re mixing it up like any V8 Supercar driver chasing an extra dollar and jumping ships to Holden,” Matt reveals. “The new car is a VT Berlina wagon, with dual fuel and a healthy 335,000km on the clock. It doesn’t hold top gear very well on the highway and could use some new front struts, so we’ll see how we go.”
They came up with a new theme, dubbed Endless Summer, based on one of Ryan Carter’s early Expression Session concepts for Street Machine. Check out the video to see the makeover in progress and if you can, jump on their fundraising page to show your support. Good luck blokes!
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