Import Alliance car show

It’s that time of year again

New year and new location for the Gambler 500 Tennessee. This time, more than 100 miles away from the previous location, now in Bon Aqua, TN – just outside Nashville. Unlike the previous couple events, this one was not a total wash out. Matter of fact, quite the opposite. Home base was incredibly dusty – every car was covered within mere hours. As always, I made the trek to the event with Slightly Mangled. This time, I brought my Orthia to camp in, which was *supreme* and everyone loved it! Here is how our outing went:

Honda Orthia Camping

We all got up early on Saturday morning to hit the trails. Fun fact, the Orthia fits a twin sized air mattress perfectly. Best sleep I’ve ever had on a Gambler 500 weekend.

Lifted Civic Gambler 500

Here is the Slightly Mangled Civic. Lifted on 29″ all terrain tires. Go anywhere. Do anything. Honda Civic.

Suzuki Forenza Off-Road

Our group was comprised of the Civic, this Suzuki, a Ford Focus and a lifted Limo.

Lifted Volvo Wagons

Here are some highlights from our side of camp. 3 lifted Volvos!

Off-Road Gambler 500 Cars

These guys always know how to have fun. That’s a VW Ghia on the left and an El Camino on the right.

6" Lifted Honda Civic Hybrid

The winner of wildest thing at camp was this Civic that was lifted 6″ on 30″ tires. Oh, and it’s also a hybrid. Fully functioning.

Lifted Civic Bridge Crossing

As you can see from the back of the Civic, we hit our first checkpoint and collectively filled up about 6 contractor bags worth of trash. The spot we went to hardly had a dent put in it. We will definitely have to revisit this place next time!

Lifted Civic Water Crossing

Overall, we did about 50 miles of driving, with a good portion of it being off-road. Lots and lots of creek crossings made for a very wet time.

Ford Focus Off-Road

Then things got spicy…

While on the trail, the Focus began to eat coolant. Like, a lot of coolant.

Suzuki Forenza Culvert Crossing

Then the Suzuki began to develop a very loud, obvious valve train tick. It got worse throughout the day.

Honda Civic Overheating

The Civic was also not immune to issues. The core support stabbed into the radiator causing a sizable hole.

D16 Overheating

We eventually had to pull off. Ever see an engine SO hot, that it rejects coolant? It’s gnarly. After an ENTIRE bottle of cooling system stop leak, we limped the cars back towards camp.

Off-Road Gambler 500 Limo

The limo did just fine. If there was one car to be worried about, it was this one. But in the end, it stayed true with no issues.


Suzuki Forenza Ripped Bumper

Once back at camp, we decided to go down the trail at the back of it. There was a creek flowing through where some of the group took “baths” in and the Suzuki got MEGA stuck. So stuck, the Civic got stuck and destroyed its reverse gear trying to get it out.

Suzuki Trailer Burnout

After we got all the cars back to camp successfully, it was time to call it quits. We all had an amazing time overall.

In the end, all of the event was able to fill an entire massive dumpster OVERFLOWING with trash picked up from the local trails. Another major success for the event. Can’t wait til the next one.

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Text & Photos by Ben Battles