Driving While Awesome: Rally From Home

It’s been quite some time since I’ve managed to get a good driving story up here.

That’s primarily thanks to COVID shutting down the majority of the country and all of the typical events I’d usually be attending this year with it. No three or four-day rallies, no major track day events, no speed festivals, and of course, no Monterey Car Week – which is often the automotive event highlight of my year. That being said, I’m sure you can understand my sense of excitement when I first heard the announcement of DWA’s (Driving While Awesome) ‘Rally From Home’ event taking place. It was just the cue I needed to give me a sense of somewhat normality in this hectic nonsense of a year we call 2020.


You might be thinking the same thing that came to my mind when I first heard the great news – what in the hell is a ‘Rally From Home’? In essence, it’s turning what’s normally a three-day-long event – which often includes having to lodge in questionable hotels in the middle of nowhere – into two separate single-day events. This way, participants could simply make the short voyage to the rally start points on the morning of the event, avoiding any sort of major risk associated with hotels. A brilliant idea that seemed to work out perfectly.

Day 1

The first of the two separate Thursday events started out in the most northern part of California’s Bay Area, roughly an hour away from my home town. After making the short trek over, I entered the first meeting point to what seemed to be a traditional DWA!-themed cars and coffee event, with an eclectic mix of vehicles from supporters that reside all over The Golden State.


A couple of early 911s, a new Supra with quite the clever plate, and a rad-era Ferrari that was not red managed to capture my attention amongst the sea of other interesting and diverse cars. But the best part of the morning round-up was knowing that these cars were all going to be driven in a full-day event, touring some of the most scenic roads found in NorCal.


If you follow me on social media, then you’ve probably already heard the news of Project 912SiX being sold off and replaced with a 996 GT3. However, since the acquisition of the GT3 is fairly recent, I hadn’t had the chance to fully prep it for rally-type driving just yet.

So my buddy G offered to lend me the perfect solution for the event – an authentic Group A-spec BMW E30 M3, appropriately wearing its Prodrive/BASTOS racing livery attire to match the car he brought – a Group B Prodrive/Rothmans Racing Porsche 911 SC/RS tribute. Together, the two would be the ultimate sight to see being flogged through the canyons. Unfortunately though, that sight was interrupted briefly after the first stretch of the morning.


I think we managed to drive for about 45 minutes before I started noticing a loud thumping noise coming from the E30’s rear subframe. We luckily made it to the first checkpoint within this time, which happened to be a petrol station that also happened to have a tow yard next door. After troubling the owner of the yard to lift the car on some jacks, we sourced the culprit of the noise – a sheered-off subframe bolt that caused the rear diff to completely detach itself from the mount. While I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the rest of the rally with the M3, I took the news as a blessing in disguise, because we all know that if the second bolt that holds the subframe in place had sheered off too, the entire rear end could’ve collapsed under heavy driving conditions, which would’ve absolutely led to a major catastrophe.

Counting blessings aside, the BMW was decommissioned, and so was the rest of my rally day. G and I tag-teamed the rest of the rally in the Rothmans SC/RS the entire way home.

Day 2

The following Thursday morning’s meet point was even more epic than the first, this time in the most southern parts of the Bay Area. This is the rally I was most looking forward to, as the roads found in this area of California are some of my favorite, and far more secluded from tourists.

The cars in attendance were again tasteful, with some new and some repeat participants. You may even recall seeing some of the same cars that attended my last DWA! rally event from a couple of years ago.


My goal was to use this event as a proper shakedown for my GT3, so I was a bit bummed that it was still being prepped at Stealth Labs. But that quickly changed when the shop owner graciously offered their shop 991.2 GT3 RS as my loaner for the day.

I know what you’re thinking… not a bad trade off, right?


Since my typical driving friends and I were in seemingly fast cars, we set off as the head of the pack, leading the rest of the rally-goers through some of the best roads that California has to offer.

Our small run group consisted of the GT3 RS, a 991.2 Targa, a Lotus Evora, a Cadillac ATS-V, and a Shelby GT350 KR, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way as I often prefer driving with people that I trust on the road. Not that there’s anything wrong with making new driving friends, but it’s just more comforting knowing the limits that your driving group are willing – or not willing – to push on public roads. Safety is the number one priority after all.


That being said, I did manage to link up with some old friends that I hadn’t seen for a while as well. Alvin from Z Car Garage brought out ‘Mrs. Butters’ for some testing on the new upgrades that have been done to this insanely balanced Z street car, and Geoff, who is another one of my local driving buddies, brought out his recently-acquired BMW 2002, which also is quite nicely built.

After being the head of the pack for the majority of the second day rally, it was rather refreshing hanging back for a bit to watch these two glorious vintage machines make their way through the canyons for the final stretch of the day.

A Glimpse Of Normality

With nearly 1,000 miles of driving completed over the course of the two-day event, I couldn’t help but feel utterly satisfied that I finally had some sense of normality for this year.

There were of course new ‘norms’ in place, like being responsibly socially distanced and wearing face coverings anytime we’d all gather around, and of course an abundant use of hand sanitizer and washing hands more frequently. But those preliminary measures did not take away from the experience of enjoying a full day of driving with like-minded enthusiasts.

With that said, a tip-of-the-hat goes off to the DWA! crew for organizing an epic event and making the most of the shitty predicament that we are facing. It’s these types of escapes from reality that will help us get through this year sanely.

Naveed Yousufzai
Instagram: eatwithnaveed
Email: naveed@speedhunters.com



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A peugeot 405 in the states !?

Naveed Yousufzai

They're not common but there are a few around!


cars are great and all but where's the info for the new NEED FOR SPEED?!?!?!??!!?


This covid thing is really killing the website, this material is so subpar.


Man, don't complain. At least these guys can get out and enjoy their cars. Some of us are under curfew, limited to 5kms from home for any travel, including supermarkets, only allowed out of the house for two hours a day... otherwise a $1500 fine if you break any of those. So I can't get to my workshop, can't touch my car, and can't do any welding work or make anything...
These guys are keeping me SANE!!! Sort of... heck, at least I'm getting a lot of CAD work done, but my booze cabinet is looking very bare. Bad habits, bad habits.

Naveed Yousufzai

I'm sorry you feel that way Raymond. I'd love to hear your thoughts about what makes you feel that it is subpar content?


Maybe awesome builds and mind-blowing events. But I really do appreciate the efforts Speedhunter put in providing contents in these difficult times, this article is as great as this rally gets but I just know if it weren't for the Covid you guys would bring much more exciting stuffs than some dudes rocking out their cars back home.

Naveed Yousufzai

While I can understand and appreciate your desire for seeing over the top type stuff on the site, which we are still putting out btw, I will say that there are definitely some awesome builds in the mix of cars in this story. You just have to dig a little deeper to find the crazy easter eggs =)


It's nice that cars, and the love for cars, can bring people together. A great equalizer.

Naveed Yousufzai



There's not one car I wouldn't own from these pictures. Yes, even the 405 (L)

Naveed Yousufzai

That my friend is the ethos around the entire rally - 'sense of occasion'.


It's my kind of event. Wide variety of cars getting driven =)


Man I would love to go on a rally with some friends
That would be a nice road trip


Ahhh I love these DWA rallies so much, always such an eclectic and interesting mix of cars. Hope I can time a US visit to line up with a rally some day.

Naveed Yousufzai

lmk when you come down dude and I'll make sure I set something up for us!


These Rallys seem cool, but I can't help but feel like its a rich white guy thing? I understand that paying to drive on public roads is some exclusive get together, but isn't this group in California? The photos are violently white.


"According to 2018 US Census Bureau estimates, California's population was 59.5% White (36.6% Non-Hispanic White), 14.7% Asian, 13.8% Some Other Race, 5.8% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American and Alaskan Native, 0.4% Pacific Islander and 5.1% from two or more races." Surprisingly close to what we can see in the photos in my opinion.


Hi Vittorio, thanks for uhh sharing census data?


Well it gives you an idea on what to expect regarding the color of people's skin which seemed to be a problem for you


Sharing census data to prove that an event was "diverse by california census data standards"?

Why is it that the standard? Shouldn't we be measuring it against a different sample group? Like the diversity of car enthusiasts within california?

And why does it always come down to data? You know very well California car culture is one of the most diverse in the country, yet we don't see the diversity within this group in terms of skin color, and historically these events didn't have a good mix of color.


I'm a bit confused by the over assuming "rich" part? The majority of these cars are pretty attainable with a decent job and some elbow grease. One thing I've appreciated by the DWA events is they seem to present a great mix of generally affordable enthusiast cars. Are you confusing the pictures of a couple of select cars (including the generously donated shop car) as the norm?

One thing I've appreciated (even more so right now) is how a car person is a car person. For those who "get it", our enthusiasm is not limited to who we are, where we come from, our political/social leanings, or any other way the world wants to compartmentalize us. I can (and have) gone anywhere in the world and showed up at a car related event to quickly end up jabbering like an excited toddler with complete-strangers-now-great-friends. You might see a "violently white" group of guys, I see a group of enthusiasts enjoying the heck out of their cars.


Lets just put it this way, accessibility is difficult enough living in California, so having to pay a fee to enjoy public roads with other "enthusiasts" seems like its an exclusive pay to play group right? Am I welcome as a regular enthusiast wanting drive with the group? I obviously have to flash some cash to be "included". Do I have that kind of disposable money?

unfortunately no

Does that make me any less of ENTHUSIAST than you are? I suppose by your financial standards yes.

I may not have the same opportunities like you. I work and live in California so to hear, "tHeSe aRe aLL aTtAiNaBLe" is a slap in the face to someone like me that has been working their ass off to enjoy a weekend wrenching.

The idea that you see enthusiasts, as just car enthusiasts, is refusing to see that some people want to be included but have financial and systemic barriers to overcome just to be included. The lack of diversity and attempts at inclusion is laughable.


Dusty rhodes probably owns a copy of white fragility, ironically enough.


The DWA website indicates that the entry fee was $99. That's almost the cheapest automotive event entry fee I have ever heard of. It included a mask, t-shirt, event sticker, roadside assistance (if needed), and entry into the raffle for prizes. Never mind the time spent by the promoters to organize the route.

I am not sure what the event organizers used as their definition of "sense of occasion," but I would wager one could manage a suitable car for $5000. Alternatively, rent something for a few hundred.

Ultimately, I would seriously encourage you to organize a rally that you feel serves the group of enthusiasts that you feel are not catered to by this event. I hope it's wildly successful!


thank you Mike, I've considered that as well. And thankfully some of these groups exist already, successfully doing single-day drives in northern california.

The drives are limited to a single day because the likelihood of a group of black and brown drivers, getting pulled over in modified cars, is much higher than that of the majority of the DWA rally goers and group (white). That means to say there is the power of privilege at these rallys. I really don't think I'd be treated the same by a CHP officer for my modified Honda vs some guy that bought a modified LS1 Swapped volvo.


My man(or woman), you seem hell bent on saying that the concepts of color and money are interwoven into the concept of being an enthusiast. My perspective is that among enthusiasts our appreciation for cars transcends the culturally derisive institutions that work to drive us apart. Be you billionaire or broke or any color of the rainbow, if your going for a drive, wrenching on your car, watching a race, etc... you're among friends.

Now, if you want to swap sob stories on the financial hardships of being an enthusiast living in California, we can do that all day long (I'll start with my experiences of being homeless here). However, I tend not to want to be defined by (or relish in) the things that I couldn't control and held me back. If you're not a troll, and want to talk it out, enthusiast to enthusiast, then by all means please let me know.


I appreciate your perspective, and no I'm not a troll. I'm open to conversation. I hope you can practice dialectics here because I'm not trying to compare personal stories, but if you can for a moment see where the normal Californian car enthusiast exists.

Again, I'm not here for sympathy, I'm not here to "rELiSh iN a SoB sToRy" (okay bootstraps), and while you assume I'm letting my financial situation define me, its still deflecting from the obvious.

DWA is for rich people. Period. People that can afford to "escape" for a couple days and pay to drive (aha there it is pay to be in an exclusive group), not to mention time off, cost of consumables. And you might not think you're "rich" but paying to be part of a group is the gate, keeping normal enthusiasts like me out.

I'm not shocked that you doubled down.


@dusty, the events covered here aren't all that expensive really. You should come out, it's really a group of all kinds.


Thanks Bryan,

I dont think my last comment posted because curse words were filtered. But I appreciate and just now recognized that the last rallys were at a much more affordable cost.

The previous rallys were near $400 and that was something myself, and a good handful of other people that wanted to attend couldnt swing. I hate that the attitudes about people complaining about the cost of entry were, "well if I can do it, so can you", or about people not feeling like they're welcome at rallys were "act like you belong". Thats the general attitude that has been conveyed. Its much like telling a fish they're in water, you cant.

The surprising side of this is that there is a claim of being a grassroots org. Its far from it when you consider the attitudes of bootstrapping (see above cc: Andrew). Thats the exclusive attitude issue, as well as not being able to understand or willingly view the issue of exclusion. I hope in the future, these rallys are more accessible by people like me, and ultimately building a bigger base.

I know there have been rumblings within the DWA fandom of: "the fee is to keep the riff raff out". Its also keeping a good amount of California enthusiasts out.


Life's not fair bud, just enjoy the pics and try keeping your racist opinions to yourself?


*points out obvious financial barriers*

gets called racist

nice lol


You started the conversation by focusing on what color the people were attending the event. If you want to have a conversation about cost don't focus on everyone's ethnicity. I don't know why you want to complain about cost though, a 1000 mile rally for $99 is a steal


I addressed the cost of this rally in particular in posts prior to this. And $99 is totally accessible. So yea that’s my fault, prior DWA rallys have all been well over $250 and more recently near $400.

I dont want to sit here and explain, and I’m sure you don’t need to sit down and read a whole sentence or paragraph of my explaining what the historic race and financial relation is.

But me replying to your post about it is the point. It’s exhausting to explain to people what they might be doing wrong in terms of not being inclusive.

How does one tell a fish they’re in water?

If you can’t step out of your own skin to acknowledge that there is a wealth disparity between races it’s a much deeper problem than you calling me a racist.


There has always been wealth disparity and always will be, race has nothing to do with it. Making assumptions about a group of people or an organization based on an entry fee is not a valid criticism. Have you actually had contact with anybody from this group that you are labeling?


Race and wealth disparity has has everything to do with it. Look at the drivers at the highest level of motorsports in America, you can likely name the one black driver, and that’s an easy indicator of the relative wealth gap between races specifically in motorsports. Its not that much different in terms of this “grassroots” group.

Making assumptions about a a group of people based solely on just an entry fee? I guess in this context yea it looks like that.

I, as well as good handful of enthusiasts have followed DWA for some time now, attempts at contact have been largely unsuccessful.


Race and sex have nothing to do with who have the seats, in fact many teams are eager to find minority and or female drivers. To have a seat you need to be skilled and/or marketable. You won't find a top level team who will turn down dollars or wins because of a drivers ethnicity or gender.


Wow .... finally had a chance to jump back on here to respond, and Dusty, you have really gone off the rails. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to add anything more. Hope you find some resolutions, realizations, and feelings of being fulfilled in the years to come.


its okay Andrew. We know who you are. What you're doing is called gaslighting. I don't blame you for refusing to see other points of view. Happy indigenous peoples day.


Amazing photography! Any chance we'll see a feature on the Z?


Great stuff Naveed. Your photos are fantastic and a very nice write up. We take it for granted sometime, but seeing this unique blend of cars with a diverse group of folks makes the world feel a bit back to normal. We all share the enthusiasm which is our common bond.

Great stuff and keep snappin' and writin'!

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I guess you must have got a deal so good you couldn't refuse for the 996 GT3 eh, Naveed?


I really love that blue RS rally build.Sooo clean.


And y would they use a shelbygt350 on rally.From looking at its tires,they're not terrain.OH WELL,U DO U.


How about a feature on the Bug? It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and the story about it is really great.


Is that the Subaru swapped beetle? I believe the original owner/builder sold it.


Nate, that’s the one. He sold it seven years ago, but was finally able to buy it back 2 weeks ago and was driving it on the rally.


That's awesome, I remember following his build somewhere, might have been the samba many years ago. That car makes an impression


Great article! Any additional information on that E28 M5?!? Mine looks just like it minus the wheels.