Rare Spares sponsors the "Welcome Strangers” team in the Autumn Shitbox Rally, 8th – 17th May 2019

Rare Spares are proud to announce that they are sponsoring Aaron Barnes’, a long time Rare Spares customer, team the “Welcome Strangers” in the Autumn Shitbox Rally, Perth to Sydney via Uluru – May 8th – 17th.

The Shitbox Rally challenges teams to drive cars worth less than $1,000 across some of Australia’s most formidable roads, all in the name of charity. Aaron and the ‘Welcome Strangers’ will be tackling these formidable roads in a VS Commodore Ute.

Aaron Barnes provided us with an update on the build and everything that needed to be completed to get a RWC (road worthy certificate) for the upcoming rally.

“It’s been one hell of an undertaking to get this ute going. So far we have completed the following to get it RWC and ready for the long journey ahead -

  • New Tie Rods Ends
  • New Castor Bushes
  • New Front struts
  • New front rotors and brake pads
  • New rear rotors and brake pads
  • New rear shockers
  • New engine mounts
  • New Radiator
  • New water pipes
  • New LHS Rear tail light
  • New side indicator lens
  • New Tyre
  • New Spark Plugs and Leads
  • New Pinion bearing in the axle
  • Replaced Rocker cover gaskets
  • Replaced inlet Manifold Gaskets
  • New Oil Temp Sensor
  • New Air Filter
  • New Cat back Exhaust
  • New headlight globe
  • New RHS Bumperette
  • New rear reflectors
  • New Oil Filter New oil
  • New Coolant
  • New Fuel Filter
  • Added a Nudge Bar
  • Added a Tonneau Cover

 

Still to go are the flood lights on Nudge Bar and the Custom Roll bar to hold spare wheels and Jerry Cans.”

“I am sure there may be a couple of small things I have missed as well, but that is the majority of what has been done and is still to go. I completed all these myself with the guidance of a local retired mechanic called Neil Boyle. I call him "The Mechanical Yoda" as he knows everything and has saved 1000's in getting it done by a workshop.” 

“We had completed all the issues pointed out by the RWC report and completed them only to have it drop a cylinder, overheat and have coolant pissing out as we arrived to get it finalised. We managed to get a pass and came back to find the inlet manifold was stuffed and needed to be replaced. 7 Hours later we had it fixed and started it up and it purrs like a kitten now, the ECU has levelled out the missing cylinder and it's all going well.” 

“The day arrives to go to ViCROADS on Monday and we are driving along thinking we are home and hosed and all of a sudden the revs jump up to 4000 and we slow down. The transmission has just dropped 4th gear and is stuck in 3rd... I could not believe it, after all the work we had done it's just been one thing after the other with this ute. So we arrive at Vicroads having Transmission fluid pissing out on the inspection bay mixed with coolant and I am thinking "this is not good."

“Luckily the VICROADS guy was a top bloke and once he knew we were on the Rally he was happy to give the car a quick sighting and hand over the plates. So we are officially Road Worthy but have a potential time bomb transmission on our hands...”

“So hopefully everything is fixed now, if not, we may not make it across the Nullabor to start the Rally.” 

“We have raised $5,500 so far so we made our target of 5k and we are officially in the rally and the pressure is on to get this machine rally ready.”

Check out Aaron’s youtube channel “Barnesy’s Builds for further updates on the build - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN816jozxyemfTzXYNIM68g 

 

Mystery Box Rally

It’s been wryly said that the first rally came after the first twenty owners of “horseless carriages” met at a pub. Disclaimer: there may be little, if any, truth, to that but it is true that car rallying sprang into life very early in the history of the car. It is generally accepted that the first rally was the Monte Carlo Rally of 1911. The format, without the name as such, goes back even further, with the 1894 Paris – Rouen Horseless Carriage Competition.

As cars, or automobiles, developed, and the technology evolved, rallying grew in popularity. Worldwide, various formats grew, with perhaps the best known being the WRC, with intercontinental rallies also proving popular. All of these take money, and sometimes lots of it. So for those with an eye on the economic side?

Australia’s world renowned for the larrikin streak and sense of humour and with a strong aftermarket car culture various forms of rallying have come and gone. One of the newer ones has, at its heart, what Australia holds dear. Mateship. Called the Shitbox Rally, drivers have cars that hover around the $1000 and are driven on a variety of road surfaces. The funds raised go towards cancer research via the Cancer Council of Australia.

The rally has spawned a child, and this is called the Mystery Box Rally. One key component of the regulations is that the cars must be at least 25 years old. It will be a looped drive, starting and finishing at the same location, and in October of 2018 the rally began from Mildura, in Victoria.

Founded in 1887, the town is situated around 100 kilometres east of the South Australia/New South Wales/Victoria border and sits on the banks of the Murray River. It’s a beautiful little town and ideal for the rally start. The cause itself is identical to the Shitbox Rally, with funds raised (teams are asked and expected to raise a minimum of $3500) going towards cancer research. Teams cover incidentals such as registration fees, food and accommodation, and fuel for around 2,500 kilometres.

To add to the enjoyment and the struggle, the regulations stipulate that only two wheel drive cars can enter. All wheel and four wheel drive cars are excluded, as are historic and vintage vehicles. The organisers, with perhaps a wise eye, also stipulate that the car to be entered should be cost effective in the possibility of a breakdown. Smartly, the organisers limited each team to just two drivers, again with an eye on the potential for carrying passengers, they being those that have had a vehicle give the ultimate sacrifice.

Drivers are kept in the dark as to the day’s route overnight – which adds the element of mystery, with information only provided to the teams early in the morning. And organizers are at pains to point out it’s not a race, as such. The winner is judged on how much was raised, the actual condition of the car (or, how hopeless it is), the joie de vivre the team exhibits, and literally anything that organisers decide on as the event progresses.

The 2018 Mystery Box Rally saw something in the order of over one hundred cars entered, ranging from a 1992 Toyota Camry wagon to a 1993 Ford Laser, from a 1990 Toyota Celica to a 1993 Holden Commodore wagon. Most teams reached their minimum $3500 amount, with Jasmine Brill & Felicity Pollock, in Fergus, a 1992 Mazda 626, raising $13,607 under the team name of “All The Gear And No Idea”.

“Two Burkes In A Merc”, Paul Marsh and John Koerner rallied a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 300C and snared $11,700, whilst Lindsay and Nicholas McAulley raked in $5725 in their 1982 Volvo 244GL, an unbreakable car if there is one.

This year’s rally raised over $367K, with a guaranteed minimum 80% going towards cancer research. If this looks like something that appeals, register here: https://www.mysteryboxrally.com.au/contact/

Have you ever entered the Mystery Box Rally and have a story to tell? Head over to the Rare Spares Facebook page and let us know all about it in the comments section below this article!