Chandlers take on rally challenge

Fresh from the company’s triumph at the BMF Mastermerchant competition, a team from Sussex-based independent builders merchant Chandlers Building Supplies has unveiled a fully ‘pimped up’ and refurbished Reliant Rialto for its entry into the Pavestone Rally 2019, which starts on September 5th from Reims in Northern France to Stuttgart, Salzburg, Venice and finishing on 8 September in the beautiful setting of Lake Como.

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The family-owned builders merchants bought the 1986 classic three-wheeled car on Ebay for £200. It has been at Hastings College’s Automotive Training Centre since March, where 43 students worked on rebuilding the engine and over hauled the bodywork to create a daring Darth Vader-mobile.

Rally driver, Trevor Mudd from Chandlers Building Supplies is taking the wheel for his fourth consecutive year competing in the event. Trevor said: “The enthusiasm and marvellous engineering work done by the students on the car is exceptional. This is an amazing piece of workmanship. I can’t wait to rev her up!

Part of this project’s challenge was to also allow the car to be easily adapted to a new creative theme every day of the rally, with themes including ‘Underground’, ‘Superheroes’ and ‘Back from the Dead’.
Mudd, who is  is being accompanied by Sam Hanks of Cembrit, said “This challenge is our most daring yet and we are delighted to have had such young talent supporting us. The input by the students will make a huge difference in getting us across the finish line, raising lots of money for charity and hopefully bring the trophy home. We aim to make the students proud!”

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Jamie Nash, 17, a student on the project, said: “I loved working on the car and thinking about how each element could be achieved. We even made a working prototype of a luminous green water jet cannon and a working light sabre for the Darth Vader theme.”

Fellow student, Bailey Reed Simmonds, 16, said: “This was fantastic. It was a great team effort by everyone here at the college – challenging and great fun.”

Sue McKinney, head of marketing at Chandlers Building Supplies said: “We have a great relationship with the college due to our existing in-house apprenticeship schemes and, as a business, we are always keen to support young apprentices in every vocational field. Taking part in the rally is just one element of our business’s commitment to supporting charitable initiatives.”

Some of the work on the car includes: New rear exhaust box to help with the power output and nicer noise, new heater hot air pipes (as there will be snow and this should help with maintaining cabin heat ), new wiring and fuse box to run all of the additional components, front lower DRL spot lights, front centre halogen spot lamp, light bar roof rails (LandRover ones modified to fit and take a load if required) , built safe section for storage and a full length parcel shelf, separate safe mounted compressor and water tanks as – special effects

Chandlers Building Supplies has entered the Pavestone Rally for the last three years, finishing in first place in 2016, and second in 2017 and 2018 – the team also won Best Dressed Car and Best Dressed Team last year.

The fundraising bar has been raised for the 2019 Rally – Pavestone have set a target of a whopping £175,000! Aaron Frogley, the event organiser said, “Over the last 3 years the Rallies have raised in excess of £325,000!! A truly staggering amount of money and would not have been achieved without all the teams’ fantastic fundraising efforts! We have a great laugh, we make friends for life and memories to last a lifetime, but what a great way to raise money for the charities!! I sincerely hope that the previous teams will be able to join us again in 2019 and of course any newcomers!”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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