This is the third year of the Great Beater Challenge and I am proud to have participated in all of them. The event saw huge growth again going from twenty three teams to a massive forty two. The variety of style and ages of vehicles was impressive as well. There were a few shocking old and/or terrible vehicles this time around. For this year’s event the start was held in front of a automotive parts store which many of us took advantage of to make sure last minute repairs. I am sure many a passerby was confused by what appeared to be the world’s most odd car show. Before we head off on the trip let’s take a look at most of the teams.
I arrived a little later than I had planned due to a few more last minute fixes and so the party atmosphere of the start line and judging was already in full swing. I parked next to this 1980 Triumph TR7 convertible. The team Dolls with Balls were certainly brave not only for fielding a TR7 but one with an engine they obtained for free.
This Radio Flyer themed 1986 Toyota 4Runner had a team name of Radio Flyer Bobcat Rescue Team which makes sense when you see what is on the other side of the tow strap …
The Big Bang Theory team was running a 1978 Mercury Bobcat equipped with a four cylinder engine and manual transmission.
The interior had some interesting design elements.
How about first generation 1982 Toyota Tercel named the The General Ree?
Team S***ter’s Full!! had a cousin Eddie from the National Lampoon movies theme with bathrobes and hats as well as this 1990 Plymouth Voyager minivan. Equipped with a V6 engine, wood paneling and auto-x specification tires. The team leader was returning for his third challenge stint.
Team Poor Man’s Vette went with a 1986 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter sporting mis-matched steel rims.
To prove that the event was not only about clapped out economy cars team Toxic bought along an incredibly rusty 1979 Chevrolet Camaro.
I am a big fan of this generation of Camaro and previous to the event wondered how they got one within budget. The answer is overall terrible condition of the car which lead to no one doubting the purchase price.
Rust? Oh yes. That is the interior you can see into behind the door. The doors were welded shut presumably so it did not fold in on its self.
It featured a different take on a two tone paint job.
We cannot have a Camaro without a Mustang. Challenge organizer, Peter, had this early Fox-body Mustang as his stead. A big step up power wise from the Pontiac LeMans he ran last year. The V8 gave him grief right up until a few days before the challenge.
Initial D helped make the rear wheel drive Toyota Corolla GTS famous so perhaps the team Initial Disaster can do the same for this 1988 Honda Accord.
Team Swede Speed brought a genuine classic in this 1968 Volvo 142S.
There were a few us in the no air bag camp but they proudly flaunted it. The reason for the trunk mounted generator became apparent later.
They were certainly well equipped although I am not sure if those racing slicks would fit in the Volvo’s fenders.
Another Swedish car was this Saab 900 returning from last year to defend its points win. This year the Saab shed its Starsky and Hutch theme for a home brew and external turbo. Note the blow off valve connected to a horn.
The set up apparently made 5psi. No word on lag.
Another turbo conversion was team Pacermaker with a 304cid V8 1978 AMC Pacer. The shopping cart on the roof allowed for extra supplies and tools to be brought along.
Seamless, almost factory like install.
Some teams like Ridin’ Dirty opted for the comfy ride of their 1995 Lincoln Town Car.
It would not be a beater rally without some old trucks including this trio of General Motors C/K series pickups. The Natural Disaster team above lost its hood even before we set off.
We have a Bobcat so how about its better known sibling? This 1975 Ford Pinto Runabout was brought by team Pinto the Bean.
This year there were a few motor homes including The Eh Team! with a Canada theme.
The #Rolling Divorce certainly got some laughs. Other teams were asked to add written messages to the side of the RV.
I was smitten by this uttering charming Chevrolet based mini RV. It even wears slot mag style rims.
Perris Cruiser is a new name to me and there is very little information on the marque out on the internet.
They put put a lot of work into the interior. Not much room left in there for sleeping in the interior though.
The Perris gave team Miles Away from Ordinary lots of issues including an engine replacement prior to the challenge.
Team Lone Ranger had this V6 powered 1987 Ford Ranger 4×4 as their trusty sidekick.
Father and son team Benz but Doesn’t Break had a great team name with their 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190. This one featured powered seat head rests!
This diesel 2000 Volkswagen Jetta had a big rig inspired exhaust for team Jett-lagged.
Other teams had a massive investment in time building their rides like this 1973 Jeep Cherokee done up as a hillbilly rat rod.
It included wonderful details like this oil can tachometer casing.
Team Rattle Trap Prospecting had matching costumes.
Another Jetta ready for the road this time a 1986 model for team Brökeswägen.
Accident damaged vehicles are a good way to keep the budget low like this 1978 Ford F-250. With so many teams this year I never did find out the reasoning behind the team name of Christmas Miracle. (addition from the organizer – The Christmas Miracle was supposed to be a 1951 Mercury 1/2 ton, but it wasn’t able to make it in time, so he bought that 78 Ford F-250 the Thursday before the event as a backup.)
Another three time veteran bought this 1998 Nissan Pathfinder.
This Dodge pickup had a listing of the teams on its topper and was going to cross them off as they died. They started the day with a leaky heater core.
Pimtastic 1978 Lincoln Continental from team Weakest Linc.
Land Lover’s Party Barge brought a 1974 Dodge Power Wagon with a large attached structure. I suspect their fuel mileage was poor.
A classic Chevrolet panel truck.
I have left perhaps my personal favorite car to last which was team Over the Hill’s 1956 Hillman Mix.
The interior lost its stock rear seat to mice and three guys planned to make the full trip sitting three abreast in the front seat. If you have never seen one of these in person it is hard to comprehend how small they are. And narrow. At least the Hillman had a four speed manual on the column rather than a floor shift.
They also planned to make good use of the hand crank just because it was there.
There was certainly some doubts from other teams if the Hillman could make it as they were not really designed for long distance travel even when new.
We went with a Canada theme on our Canadian market Laurentian including this blanket which was an attempt to make the seats more comfortable. Or use for warmth if we ran into cooler temperatures since the heater was out of commission.
I once again brought my two older boys along for the trip. We had matching (and hideous) Canada themed shirts. If you look closely you can see I have a custom Honda necklace provided by last year’s challenge car. As some last minute preparation I bought some extra oil, checked fluids and replaced a few light bulbs in the parking lot. I had planned to purchase some wiper blades but they did not have the correct style so we left without and hoped for no rain.
I certainly missed a few teams in this overview but with the growth this year it was tough to catch them all. After a brief driver’s meeting our motley crew set off.