Italian Job inspires banger rally down to Turin

William Blackshaw reads the Gazette while taking a break from the drive in Italy.

William Blackshaw reads the Gazette while taking a break from the drive in Italy.

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Two Alnwick businessmen made it to Italy and back in a £500 car with a doggy theme last weekend, as they took part in a charity quest for a motors charity.

And the pair even won a prize in the process, for best themed car, despite being up against stiff competition in the Bangers4Ben rally 2014, which was inspired by the Italian Job.

The dog car takes a break on the side of the road.

The dog car takes a break on the side of the road.

William Blackshaw, managing director of Blackshaws of Alnwick, and his friend, Gareth Carter, of Alnwick Computerware, took on the challenge to raise funds for BEN, the UK’s dedicated charity for those who work, or have worked, in the motors industry.

Forty cars, with teams from across the motor trade, took part in the 3,000-mile challenge from Dover to the Fiat factory in Turin and, as well as the four-day time limit, competitors had a budget of £750 for their vehicles.

William and Gareth were travelling in a £500 Suzuki Ignis, which has had its clutch replaced courtesy of one of Blackshaws’ junior mechanics.

The north Northumberland duo also decided to deck it out with a doggy theme, complete with furry body and a tongue sticking out at the front. They spent a few hundred quid more pursuing the canine theme, inspired by William’s love of dogs, which was all done in the Blackshaws body shop.

William Blackshaw and Gareth Carter next to their car.

William Blackshaw and Gareth Carter next to their car.

A number of their fellow drivers also opted for themes, including Wacky Races, Bananas in Pyjamas and Essex spray tan.

Day one saw the rally head across the channel down to eastern France, next to the Swiss border before the spectacular second day saw them head to Lake Como in Italy via Switzerland, on one of the world’s best driving roads – the Stevio Pass.

Day three was down to Turin and back to France, before returning to the UK on day four.

Now that they have returned to the UK, the cars are all auctioned off to raise funds.