March 27, 2022

Daniel’s flaming Suzuki has gone the extra mile for fundraising



If cars could talk, Daniel’s 2010 Suzuki Alto would have some tall tales to tell. In 2023, the 3-cylinder car — driven by a team aptly called ‘Not a V8’ — covered almost 3,000km from Rockhampton to Hobart as part of the famed Shitbox Rally, raising over $11,500 for cancer research along the way. It was then donated to Kids Under Cover, raising $875 for youth homelessness. This is its story, and Daniel’s.

Daniel is a town planner from Melbourne. He’s the first to admit that he has zero mechanical skills, but that hasn’t stopped him from participating in three Shitbox Rallies to date. “The first time I did it was mainly for kicks. But, since then, it’s been different. I’ve lost two friends to cancer, Kerry and Dennis, and know many more who’ve beaten it. Through this fundraising, I want to make sure as many people as possible can beat cancer.”

The rally challenges teams to drive cars worth less than $1,500 across some of Australia’s most formidable roads, all in the name of charity. Since the first rally kicked off in 2010, the community event has raised $43 million for cancer research.

To get to the start line in 2023, Daniel and his teammate needed a car. The Suzuki Alto, which was destined for the scrap heap, proved perfect. As Daniel said, “It was a hail-damaged insurance write-off that needed a new clutch and had faulty air conditioning. We bought it for $1,000 and a generous friend helped us fix it up — with my teammate helping and me passing tools.”

Then, they got another mate to decorate it. “A good friend of mine, Noel, is an artist. He lost his partner to cancer less than a year earlier and was then diagnosed with cancer himself. He painted the car in between chemo treatments.”

During the 2023 rally, the Suzuki Alto did the team proud. Sure, it was a tight squeeze; and sure, the car might have set a new record for three flat tyres in the space of half an hour. But it helped Daniel’s team raise over $11,500 for the Cancer Council.

When Daniel brought the car back to the mainland after driving it around Tasmania for a couple of weeks, he didn’t really know what to do with it. “A friend of mine bought a car that had been donated, and a work colleague donated her car. Hearing their stories made me think that donating the Suzuki was a possibility for my car, too,” he said. And so he started investigating Kids Under Cover’s Donate Your Car program.

Daniel found the whole process very straightforward. “I emailed a picture and description of the car — along with what was wrong with it — to find out if they’d even want it, given it was decorated at the time. I didn’t want to donate a car that would be hard to sell,” he said. “Kids Under Cover were great. They gave me all the details I needed, and the whole process was really smooth.”

The Shitbox Suzuki ended up selling for $875 at Manheim Auctions, with the proceeds going towards Kids Under Cover’s work in preventing youth homelessness.

All up, Daniel found the whole experience to be incredibly rewarding. “To be honest, I surprised myself. It seemed like a pretty generous thing to do — a big step. But it’s also such a good thing to do, by helping to provide housing for someone and potentially change their life.”