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Mopars of the 2012 BABE Rally

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BABE - "Big Apple to Big Easy" - is a road rally where participants buy a $500 car, make it safe and legal, and travel 1,500 miles from Staten Island to New Orleans, participating in challenges; cars are supposed to be old, dirty, and themed, and many teams run for charity. Team THOTC's pledge page.

Team LouvinLoonies

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Team LouvinLoonies puts three people into a Dodge Dart - and they were originally going to have a fourth - for the 1,500 mile run. Jen "Cricket" Bidwell, Jennifer Harrington, and Lewis Meyer are part of the team; they were attracted by the 2010 Team THOTC run, especially the photo of Crash and Burn in Dorothy outfits.

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The car cost $300, and belonged to Jen's best friend, who got it in 1991 and used it as a daily driver; it was parked a few years ago, and was just sitting. Her friend knew Jen liked it, and offered it to her on learning she needed a car for the rally. Given how long the car was parked, the team put a lot of parts in - leaf springs, bushings, brakes, fuel lines and pump, starter and rotor, and power steering pump - rebuild the Holley 1920 carburetor and adjusted the valves. The team then drove the car up from Louisville, Kentucky to Staten Island; when they end up in New Orleans, it'll be another ten hour drive back home.

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The car had been Maaco-repainted from its original metallic green to a somewhat different shade of metallic green before getting a shaker-can black treatment from Jen, who said she'd gotten very good at controlling spray paint through her participation in StreetSafari's ArtCar project. There's no overspray (from Jen, at least) on any of the chrome, and the door handles were masked better than some pro shops do it. She also repainted the valve cover and air cleaner in colors which Mopar designers might have thought ofu, but did not actually use. (Under the hood, you can see the original color, dulled by age.) As with the Dodge of the Dead, this one has an air conditioner compressor, quite likely in working order, but the system is missing some components and it isn't hooked up to anything.

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Team FlutterBys

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Team Flutterbys purchased a Jeep Cherokee "karmatically" for this year's run; they had their eye on a right-hand-drive Subaru postal wagon, but that fell through. Then one member, whose daily driver is a 1999 Jeep Cherokee, ran across an XJ with a dead clutch; the owner said $500, and they were willing to hold it for her till the next day,when she returned with the cash. Later, she found out she had bought it from a co-worker's brother. The co-worker hadn't even known it was for sale.

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A 4x4 shop fixed the clutch and warped rotors, but there's still a nasty vibration in the gas pedal and only in the gas pedal, which she thinks is due to the ignition.

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The paint was applied by hand, and it's oil based - a "high protein paint job," since it took two weeks to dry and captured numerous bugs in the meantime. The green accents were sprayed on. Originally, the car was black.

General Lee Caravan

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Becky Buhman and Brian Ewer ran in 2009 with a 1993-ish Plymouth Acclaim, and returned in 2011 with a Dodge Caravan, which is making its second run this year. It's done up in a Dukes of Hazzard ("General Lee") theme, complete with a General Lee Charger hood ornament.

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The Mitsubishi 3-liter V6 is accompanied by a set of horns that play "Dixie," as one would expect from the General Lee theme. The orange is not the original color (which is obvious from the blue paint under the hood), but it's been applied well enough to look original in these photos.

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Allpar is a proud sponsor of Team Two Horsemen of the Carpocalypse in the BABE Rally. See their pledge page.

Team THOTC - "Crash" and "Burn," or, as some call them, Matt and Neil - were sponsored by Allpar for the second year, as they drove their second A-body in the rally. Crash took a long detour to New York this year, coming up from Georgia, as he swung by Team Foolswagen to be their chase-and-support car. The Foolswagen entry had only just started running for the first time in years a few hours before the trip, and broke down six times on its way to New York, delaying Crash but not preventing him from delivering the "Dodge of the Dead" on time for the rally's start. On the way down, they will be providing similar assistance to the Foolswagen team, feeding the hamster that runs its little 1.5 liter engine. More coverage of Team THOTC including many more photos.

Rally Team Six

Though their car boasts both "Jurassic Bark" and "Team Safari" decals, the web site declares them to be "Rally Team Six." We never did meet them. Their car cost $500, and is a 1987 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country wagon - essentially a high end Plymouth Reliant wagon with faux wood sides. The body looked to be in excellent shape when it was purchased, with original looking paint. It has a digital dashboard, and, though it runs, it was towed home by their Ram. On the way to New York (from New Jersey!), the rear shcoks had to be replaced - a fairly minor repair by BABE standards. The team had no problems by Day 2.

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The paint job is modelled on the Jurassic Park movie trucks, and was done with spray paint. Team members' names are visible on the rear side window. The team's charity is the New Jersey-based SHARE, dedicated to educating girls in Africa; they're built four libraries, renovated schools, and won numerous awards.

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