And via Narooma, Canberra, Toowoomba and some other far-away places.

That’s the torturous trek undertaken by Johnno (John McCarroll) and his great looking 327ci (5.4 litre) Chevrolet Impala when they competed in the 2017 Variety Bash in August.

The Variety Bash is all about raising money to help Kids in Need. The charity event is run by the charity, ensuring funds go where they are needed. “The Bash” is not a race, rally or speed trial. The single most significant rule of the Bash is to relax and enjoy the Australian Outback and help raise funds for kids in need!

The Variety Bash started in 1985, when entrepreneur and adventurer Dick Smith took a group of intrepid motorists from Bourke NSW to Bourketown Queensland in old cars, raising $250,000 for charity along the way.

Dick had friends from all walks of life – from multi-millionaires to battlers – and the event was his idea of a great equalizer. Touted as “a drive in the outback with a few mates”, Dick made sure everyone was on a level playing field – all cars had to be over 30 years old and non-performance modified, a sentiment the Variety Bash retains today.

So, at around 48 years of age, Johnno’s 1969 4-door Chev Impala fitted nicely into this timeframe. Fittingly, his bash number was 327.

Prior to the event, Johnno was getting some sponsorship signwriting done for the big car when Australian National Show and Shine Euroa committee member Chris Mann spotted a promotional opportunity and placed two Show & Shine stickers on the car, thus giving our event some exposure for the bash through four States and Territories.

The car has been owned by John since 2010, and has competed in no less than twelve “bash” events since 2012. He says that the Fraser Island jaunt was comparatively trouble-free, with some minor spark plug problems being the only issue. This was a vast improvement on last year’s bash, when car 327 broke a differential housing on the Oodnadatta track. Hasty repairs by the crew got it mobile again.

This is the first time that the car has appeared at a Show and Shine event. It’s only previous appearance at a show was the Alexandra Truck show.

Shortly following the completion of the bash, Johnno checked in to let us know that the event’s 68 cars had raised $1,250,000 and that his Car 327 raised $16,125.00. Well done! No prizes for guessing where he was at the time.

You can see the Impala and talk to Johnno about his adventures on the way to Fraser Island (and return) at the Australian National Show and Shine Euroa.

.. Ray Read