In the more rugged outback of Australia, citizens tend to gravitate toward off-road capable vehicles – oftentimes, out of necessity. That’s precisely why the Ford Ranger was Australia’s best-selling overall vehicle in 2023, overtaking the prior top model – the Toyota Hilux – an icon in terms of toughness. However, those that want to take on the highly varied, oftentimes treacherous territory that Australia has to offer don’t necessarily need to do it in some fancy new rig. In fact, each year, a group of brave souls bring their old, beat-up vehicles together for a charity race known as the “Shitbox Rally” – and this year, a familiar name will be behind the wheel of an old Ford Falcon, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
That person is actually the U.S. ambassador to Australia and the daughter of late U.S. President John F. Kennedy – Caroline Kennedy – who will soon spend seven days behind the wheel of an old, clapped-out Ford Falcon as she helps raise money for the Cancer Council. Kennedy has long been interested in such an endeavor after first leaning about the Shitbox Rally back in 2022, it seems, though as one might imagine, the U.S. embassy isn’t exactly thrilled about her decision.
Regardless, Kennedy will be one of around 500 participants in this year’s rally, which is similar to the 24 Hour of Lemons in that only cheap used vehicles are allowed to participate – in this case, they must cost less than $1,500 and no four-wheel drive models are allowed, either. The event kicks off in Adelaide this April, and spans 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) to Perth, with participants camping out in tents along the way. As for Kennedy, it’ll be difficult to miss her Ford Falcon, which is painted yellow, orange, and red at the moment, though she promised that it’ll be sporting a new look in time for the race.
— U.S. Embassy Australia (@USEmbAustralia) February 8, 2024
“It’s the most Australian way we can do it, and the people we are supporting are globally leading cancer researchers here in Australia,” Kennedy said. “I am extremely proud and excited that the U.S. ambassador to Australia has chosen to take part in Shitbox Rally,” added the event’s founder, James Freeman, who lost both of his parents to cancer. “The ambassador will participate in the same manner as everyone else with fundraising for cancer research, driving a shitbox and camping under the stars.”