In September 2013, Alpha Theta made the decision to take on the challenge of preparing a car to race at Mudbash 2014 and other events following. From the onset the focus of the Unit was to build a car that would be safe and that could provide many years of enjoyment to the Unit. After considering our options, we decided to purchase a 1982 Datsun Bluebird, which was known to be in good mechanical condition, in late October.
The first step of the process was to completely remove everything from the car leaving only the axles and wheels. From here the shell was strengthened and the roll cage was professionally built by Chris Ellis, a former Unit Member. Chris took the extra time to build a roll cage that was at a national rally standard, well above the requirements of a ‘Rover buggy’, ensuring the vehicle would be as safe as possible. Additionally the fuel tank was moved from its rather exposed location under the car, into the boot, and a firewall was added between the boot and passenger compartment.
Then the car was prepped for painting, this included removing any rust, sanding the entire car, and masking areas that wouldn’t be painted. The boot, engine and passenger compartments were painted white to make it easier to spot faults later on. The factory paint work on the outside of the car was mostly still quite good, however, it was decided to paint the bonnet and roof to add character.
The final stage was where it finally began to look like a rally car, as all the little pieces started to fall into place. In this stage the engine, gearbox, dash, outside panels, headlights and seats were all reinstalled, along with the new safety equipment such as a sump guard, floor plates, harnesses, fire extinguishers, emergency cut off switch and much more.
Finally after many long days and late nights, the car was ready to compete at Mudbash, a Rover camp with a focus on car racing. However before this was possible the car needed a name, as a way of expressing our gratitude to Chris for the large amount of time he had spent on the bluebird, we decided name it after his company.
“Pro Rally” proved to be an extremely capable car throughout Mudbash, with the only issue being a faulty alternator on the final day of racing. We were very pleased to place 18th of 31 cars in the event, considering it was the car’s first event.
The Unit is truly grateful for the help of Pro Rally Motorsport Fabrications (Chris Ellis), and also grateful for the support of Waverley Valley Scout Group during the build.
We can only hope our efforts now can last long enough for all the Members of the other Sections of the Group to be able to enjoy it once they reach Rovers!