February 15th will see the first leg of the 5-day 2016 winter Carbagerun. A banger rally through the Swiss and Italian Alps, the French/Spanish/Andorran Pyrenees, and lots more. I’m going to participate in a 4g63 ‘97 Galant wagon, and I’ll keep a diary on Oppo. When I can.
The car requirements of the rally are really quite simple: get a road worthy and road legal car no newer than 1998, with a value of
no more than roughly €500. So that’s what I did. I bought the Galant for exactly €500.
It drove terrible. Tie rod ends, front brakes (discs and pads) and engine oil (+filter) were replaced in December, the month I bought it. It also needed an alignment quite badly, the front summer tires were worn (unevenly at that) and the inspection was about to run out. To participate in the carbagerun it also needed a full set of winter tires.
Having done the brakes and tie rods myself I convinced the local Mitsubishi dealer to sponsor me. In exchange of a sticker of their company on the back they had it inspected and aligned. They also mounted the winter tires on the spare alloys.
This January I had two other shops sponsor me a bit as well. The Galant came with two sets of alloys; a set of after market alloys with summer tires, of which two were worn, and a set of original Mitsubishi 5 spoke rims without tires. The winter tires were sourced from my girlfriend’s aunt who used them on her long gone Peugeot 605, and were mounted on the original Mitsubishi rims by the Mitsubishi dealer, as mentioned before. However, in a rally one needs spare wheels. I located two used winter tires at a friend’s shop, and trade a cake for them. I then took these two tires with the two aftermarket wheels with the worn summer tires to a tire shop. This shop mounted the tires, again in exchange for a promotional sticker on the Galant.
The sticker from the local Mitsubishi dealer. It’s peeling already, and I’m going to get a new one. I owe them that much.
The Galant is a spacious wagon with a significant dent in the back, but no rust on the body anywhere on the body. Except one small spot on the hood. It also has a tow hook, because who needs a pickup truck when one’s got a car and could rent a trailer for €15 or so?
Synthetic Cookiemonster fur and real plastic wood. Classy. The slushbox is unfortunate.
The Galant is powered by a 4g63 four cylinder 2.0 liter engine. NA. 135-ish horsepower, but lots of tuning potential as it’s basically the same engine as the Lancer Evos had of the era. And VR4s. If one were to ignore the lack of turbo that is. 235k km on the odometer when I bought it.
We did a bit of extra maintenance early January. Air filter, interior filter, spark plugs. We also swapped the battery for a more recent one from a recently deceased ‘01 Hyundai Coupe/Tiburon (REST IN TORMENT, you hideous SOB). Nothing fancy. 2k km later the right front brake calliper seized. There was molten brake disk on the pad. So we needed a set of new discs/pads and a calliper. This time Brembo parts were mounted.
Map with the actual start and finish locations. It does not feature the actual route.
Start/finish locations carbagrun 2016 (winter):
- Gorinchem, the Netherlands. Start.
- Basel, Switzerland. Finish day 1.
- Turin, Italy. Finish day 2.
- Avignon, France. Finish day 3.
- Toulouse, France. Finish day 4.
- Arinsal, Andorra. Finish day 5.
The carbagrun is a street legal ‘rally’, in which time and speed are irrelevant. Mostly because it needs to be street legal and covered by regular car insurance. It also requires an old banger, and the organisation has gone out of its way to find great driving roads through the mountains and (with a bit of luck) snow. So, besides sightseeing in old bangers what do we actually do? Beats me. Well, if it’s anything like the last time I participated (2013) we’ll need to come up with solutions to ‘find the location where this picture was taken’, ‘photograph at least 1 team member in a 1957 or 1958 Zündapp Janus microcar’, ‘photograph one team member while skeeing behind your car, while wearing nothing but skis and a thong’ or ‘photograph your car inside a shipping container’. Assignments are handed out each morning and need to be handed in at the finish the same day.
Picture taken during my 2013 participation of the winter Carbagerun. Pictured is the sheet with our assignments containing detailed pictures of sights we needed to find in Austria. Also pictured: carbagerun ‘92 Alfa Romeo 155 V6 and carbagerun BMW E34 Touring. There was a disturbing lack of snow that year.
Finish on Friday in Andorra, Saturday we’ll catch a hotel in northern France, on Sunday we’ll take the Galant to my co driver (brother in law) his home in Germany, as he needs the Galant to commute as his Hyundai POS has died. I’ll continue from there on by train (300 miles, 4 hours). Monday I’ll be back at work.
So this is what I’ll be doing next week. At this time next Monday I’ll be in Switzerland. I’ll try to post some updates along the way, preferably at night. Don’t expect something each day though, as you’ll understand Oppo won’t be my #1 priority.