When Russell Gray decided to take part in this year’s Variety Bash, there were two things that were at the top of the list.
The first was an Australian car, to make life easier for the Variety mechanics while on the road, and the second was that the car needed to have a kids theme.
Russell told 96five that he’d learnt some lessons from a previous Variety Bash experience.
“About ten years ago we entered in a Renault 16TS, and we had a big green frog mounted on the roof which we called Aussie Frog,” Russell said. “There’s a few things that I learnt from that – a big V8 is better than a little 1600cc Renault, and having that kids theme was the way to go.
“This time around we did some brainstorming and came up with the idea that we needed an Australian car, and then we asked what our theme was going to be.”
It was a family connection that inspired the idea of a car featuring Brisbane’s favourite Heeler family, to ultimately bring joy to kids throughout the outback.
“We had a relative of a relative who was part of the team that created Bluey. Then the penny dropped so we decided to get an old Holden One Tonner and build Bluey’s house on the back of that.”
With a shortened Bash schedule due to the impacts of COVID, teams are set to leave Longreach on November 6, with Russell looking forward to bringing smiles to kids as they travel across the state to Fraser Island.
“I’ve currently got it parked on the Esplanade in Manly and it’s a source of entertainment for all the kids walking past screaming out ‘hey it’s Bluey’s house! I think Bluey is going to be a bit of a hit on route, it’s going to be good!”
And what will happen with the Heeler house after the Variety Bash finishes?
“The Bluey house will go on to some foundations at my grandchildren’s house, so they’re going to have a Bluey cubby house. The grandkids have been helping me build it, they’ve been getting inside and making sure its strong enough. The house is grandkid proof and they’re stoked to be able to have it after the Bash.
“And the Holden, its going to be my regular driver; I’ve put air conditioning, power steering and a GPS into it, so I’ll be driving it and feeling pretty cool – a cool old Grandpa.”
If you want to support Russell and his co-driver Rob, you can make a donation at their Variety Queensland donation page.
Listen to the full interview with Russell in the audio player above.