Phantom pains

IN this day of pampered glampers, Tim Buckner’s approach to travel is refreshing.

The Hilton resident is set to take on 4000km of outback terrain with a roofless jalopy, a hammock and one outfit to wear—a Phantom costume.

“Maybe it’s just me, but I like to make it harder,” he laughs.

There’s a serious side to his oddball trek, though, with money raised during the Shitbox Rally going towards cancer research.

Mr Buckner’s father Ali died of cancer three years ago.

He’d already applied with his wife to join that year’s Shitbox, and says getting the acceptance letter a couple of week’s later was very moving.

• Chris Mann and Phantom-loving Tim Buckner with their not-entirely-reliable jungle Beetle. Photo supplied

“It was a good way to grieve the old man,” he says.

“Dad loved to travel around WA, and I know he would have just loved to be there; it just gives you time to reflect.”

It also gave the couple motivation to ramp up their fundraising efforts and of the 200 teams participating, they were in the top five.

He says joining Shitbox opened him up to a nation-wide family, and he’s grieved alongside others as they’ve scattered loved ones’ ashes along the way.

This year’s trek from Brisbane to Darwin will probably be his last, as he’s preparing for parenthood with his wife, who accompanied him on the first two rallies. This year he’s taking Hilton mate Chris Mann, who’ll also be dressing up in jungle gear for the ride.

Mr Buckner said his father had helped stoke his love for the Phantom, and as kids he and his brother would tag along to garage sales to try and score any magazines they could.

His love for the “believable hero” extended to proposing to his wife while wearing the same costume he’s now taking outback. It sounds a bit weird, but she was also purpled up at the time.

Part of the challenge of the rally is that cars must cost $1000 or less. Mr Bruckner’s 1970 VW Beetle even out-clunks last year’s 1978 Selica. He’s been test driving it to work this week and has already broken the clutch cable. So far Messrs Buckner and Mann have raised just over $12,000. If you’re interested in supporting their trip, head to


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