The Undie 500

February 6th, 2007 by William


I don’t know what it is, but for some reason car events for vehicles that cost $500 or less tend to be some of my favorites. Well actually I do know, I’m cheap, and broke (I’m a professional blogger) and these cheapo events tend bring out some of the most imaginative people in the automotive world.

Last week my attention was brought to a new sub-$500 dollar car event appropriately called The Undie 500. This annual New Zealand car rally (really more of a parade booze fest) runs between Christchurch and Dunedin, New Zealand. The event is put on by the University of Canterbury’s engineering society (ENSOC) so it should come as no surprise that this rally has much more in common with Chico State than it does with La Carrera Pan Americana.


According to the sketchy at best Wikipedia entry, “Student members of the Engineering Society purchase used vehicles, spend weeks decorating themselves and their cars and drive the twelve hour journey south. The vehicles are individually themed and occupants pub crawl over the entire day of driving. The event is characterized by the high level of work performed on entrant’s cars transforming them from normal motor vehicles into something special.”

Requirements for the Undie are simple
1. They cannot cost more than $500 New Zealand currency.
2. They must stop at nominated watering holes in order to aid in the inebriation of participants.
3. All vehicles must have current registration and a “Warrant of Fitness”.
4. Vehicles must be piloted by a sober driver.

The Kiwi engineers were even smart enough to get an official police escort for the event meaning they can drive crappy cars, get pissed, have fun and not get hassled by the cops. What are we doing wrong over here in the States?


My favorite part of the Undie 500 entry in the Wiki was under the trivia section: “In 2006, the Boozeballah “Fighting the War on Sobriety” vehicle was recognized as one of the more un-PC cars in the event, due to the recent Israel-Lebanon conflict. Christchurch Police contacted the owner of the vehicle, requesting that it be taken off the roads as it was deemed to have breached the standards of good taste and decency. (Auckland Star, 24th August 2006)”

Boozeballah “Fighting the War on Sobriety”, I love it.

-Bill Mertz

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4 Responses to “The Undie 500”

  1. Paul Says:

    Why do New Zealanders have all the fun!?

  2. jes Says:

    Completely unrelated, sort of: Do you ever do vehicle comparisons? Like, maybe between SUVs? Mid-size?

  3. Jaime Says:

    Aw, I missed this. Why can’t I have gone to NZ this month instead of next? I love the leggo one!

  4. William Says:

    I know, Australians and New Zealanders certainly seem to do it right.

    Jes, I certainly try and do comparisons. But its rare that I get two cars or SUVs worthy of comparing. The last one I did was BMW M6 vs. Corvette Z06 I think. But look for more to come.

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About William

I am a twenty something car enthusiast. I spend most of my days working in a small restoration shop in Northern California that specializes in vintage Alfa Romeos. I also manage to do some freelance writing for a handful of automotive publications. When I'm not at the shop I can usually be found working on one of my own project cars, out driving on a good windy road or good jeep trail. Despite what my girlfriend says cars aren't what defines me, they are only what I do. When I have a chance I also love to go camping, play sports or generally do any type of outdoor activity. I don't take myself to seriously, so I hope you don't either.

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