Spy Kids Return to Aetherii
Is that an old SUV? Yes!
Is that a bunch of university students with vast wealth of questionable provenance? Yes!
You know what that means? It’s Shitbox Rally time!
Driver: Jessica Lombaerts
Appearance: 170cm tall, dirty blonde/brunette hair, dresses exclusively for the beach, skate park, or nightclub.
Description: Half-Dutch, half mad. Her main job is to drive fast, and her car collection reflects that. Her other job is to smoke enough weed to asphyxiate an entire country, and as a result half of the colour and texture in her hair is actually hashish. Is also a hip hop dancer.
Vehicles: BMW M3 (E92), Suzuki Hayabusa, Pagani Zonda F Roadster, Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Navigator: Alexis Ahaual
Appearance: 155cm, black hair with highlights of varying colours, guerilla uniforms or traditional Mayan or Oto-Manguean dress.
Description: They/them. Fervent Zapatista, even more fervent drum and bass enthusiast. Can speak nine languages, of which five are only spoken in Mexico and Guatemala. Learnt French solely to learn L’Internationale; learnt Russian solely to learn the Soviet anthem. Also an accomplished weed smoker, but prefers mate de coca.
Vehicles: Toyota Landcruiser, Toyota Hilux, KTM 690 Enduro
Mechanic: Shay Hirvonen
Appearance: 160cm, blonde hair, wears cottage-core outfits, winter sweaters, or androgynous clothes.
Description: Soft and cuddly on the outside, sharp and devious on the inside. Is better with her hands than anyone else on the team, and probably anyone else this side of the Olympics. When she’s not in soft-core mode, she will step on you, and you will like it. Can also shoot better than Alexis despite not being a committed militant.
Vehicles: Jaguar E-Type, Mercedes-Maybach S650 (with upgrades), VW Kombi (with upgrades), Bugatti Chiron
Liaison: Lazar Kandyba
Appearance: 167cm, black hair, black beard, 80% normal clothes, 20% Soviet wear and Slav Squat tracksuits.
Description: Ukrainian, Khrushchevist, anti Stalin, anti modern Russia. Much vodka consumption, almost as much sunflower seed consumption. Switched from tobacco to cannabis to alleviate lung problems actually caused by living in Donetsk. Can haggle his way out of a Rolls-Royce dealership. Knows Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and AK47.
Vehicles (all upgraded): Lada Niva, Nissan Stagea, Mitsubishi Evo VIII, Volvo 850 Estate
Second Driver: Laura Kamenev
Appearance: 163cm, dark brown hair, dresses like an architect
Description: The bad cop to Shay’s good cop, she has no softcore mode and will just step on you. Resident piano player and yerba mate addict. (No, that one doesn’t have cocaine.) Is banned from eleven countries for political reasons, and will also not set foot in Northern Arkansas or Hungary.
Vehicles: Mercedes E63 S Wagon, Porsche 911 Turbo S
Muscle: Giorgi Ingorokva
Appearance: 191cm, green hair, boiler suits or designer fashion
Description: Amateur rugby player, professional flaming homosexual, wannabe rockstar. Runs a garage in Liverpool and a clothing store next door, though his residence is of uncertain legality. Played three matches for London Scottish.
Vehicles: Jaguar XJS, Audi TT RS Roadster, Subaru Outback (with upgrades)
This time, the big hulk came out of a factory on the capitalist side of the Iron Curtain, located in Ireland. The Mocabey Pioneer XL is a nearly sixty year old piece of machinery, but was very capable in its prime. Locking front and rear with a two speed transfer case, it would take a family of six over some seriously tough terrain, and with 250bhp in fuel injected guise the gargantuan 6.7L straight six would let the Pioneer keep up with the fastest of traffic anywhere but the Autobahn.
But of course, a stock vehicle with half a century of wear just won’t do for this team. From its previous home in Angola, Lazar shipped it over to Giorgi’s shop in Liverpool, where Giorgi, Shay, and Shay’s mad scientist friend Petra went to work on it.
On the handling side, the old springs were replaced with air suspension, paired with adaptive dampers and a disconnecting rear sway bar, and the brakes were upgraded to vented units all round, and with six pistons on the front. The driveline was overhauled, with the locking differentials and transfer case deemed unnecessary and replaced with Torsens and the old automatic replaced with a custom ZF 8HP. The interior was just as spectacular a replacement as with the Elbrus, with six massaging leather seats and Bluetooth everything.
But it’s the engine where the true witchcraft lies. Petra and Shay weren’t going to stop with forged internals, VVT, and independent throttle bodies. No, they stuck a giant turbo on it. 86mm of forced induction and variable geometry, sending 0.85 bar into those six throttle bodies. And then the girls drilled into the iron head and stuck a fuel rail and some direct injectors inside. The result? 500bhp, 800 lb-ft, and 5.2s to 100km/h. Lets see what shenanigans the Spy Kids get into with what is now a 250km/h SUV.
The “Support” Vehicle
New for Shitbox Rally 2023 is support vehicles! And it doesn’t even need to do any actual support! Of course, the Spy Kids need room for bedding and creature comforts in the Pioneer, so most of the larger spare parts will be carried in a box van, and that box van is a Reekayns B210, driven by a crew Jessica hired via Instagram. A nominally American car that was actually built in a third world sweatshop, it originally had a wheezy 2.1L engine that produced all of 55bhp.
Of course, that engine was broken, so they went shopping for a new one at the junkyard. The scrap dealer claimed it was an old plane engine, and the instantly allured shoppers took it. Unfortunately, it’s a plane engine from 1980, and it’s a 4.8L inline four. Anyway, they wedged the engine into the van, stuck on an exhaust they also found at the junkyard that kind of fit, and attached a carburetor on top. The result? 72bhp. Absolutely piss poor, even for an engine that only produced 90-ish bhp when new. The good news is that, being twice the size of the old engine, it produced twice as much torque.
Other features on the van include solid axles at both ends to eliminate any ride comfort, 4x4 with two speed transfer case to assure adventurous delivery drivers they can make it up the dirt driveway to their destination, open differentials to squander the off road potential of said transfer case, a three speed automatic to make driving as lazy as possible, and a bench seat in the cargo box for when a delivery requires more than three people.
Schmucks Van Crew
Driver: Tracey Maxou
Description: Soccer mum and also dance mum, with all the road rage and Instagram usage that represents. Only thing stopping her from tailgating everything in sight is the physical inability of the Reekayns to keep up with traffic.
Cars: Chrysler Voyager, Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Navigator: Magnolia Coleman
Description: AM talk radio host, thinks challenging someone to a debate is an acceptable way of meeting someone, finds most public bathrooms unacceptably dirty. Is being kept on a tight leash by Tracey.
Cars: Kia Soul
Mechanic: Kiel Shamble
Description: Mormon Youtuber with four kids, owns two
pyramid schemes network marketing companies and a procurement fraud business. Wife runs a swimsuit store. Insists his name is pronounced like it’s spelt Kyle.
Cars: Chevy Silverado, Dodge Challenger Hellcat