Custom Hyundai Santa Cruz created for 2023 Rebelle Rally

  • Eighth-Annual All-Women Off-Road Navigation Rally Covers 1,500 Miles of Challenging Desert Terrain
  • Automotive Journalists Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw to Compete in Rebelle Rally for Second Consecutive Year
  • Custom Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle to Compete in X-CROSS Class
  • Stunning Livery Created by Matt Marble and Kellen Gustine of Hyundai Design North America

Hyundai Motor America is unveiling the modifications and unique graphic wrap for the Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle entry of “The Brute Squad” in the eighth-annual Rebelle Rally. This marks the second year in a row that the modified Hyundai Santa Cruz will be driven by Kristin Shaw, with Jill Ciminillo serving as the navigator.

The Rebelle Rally, a rigorous all-female off-road navigational challenge, commences on October 13th 2023 and concludes in the California desert. Over the course of eight demanding days, Shaw and Ciminillo will fearlessly undertake this adventure in a specially equipped Santa Cruz they fondly refer to as ‘Sandy.’ What’s even more remarkable is that they will rely on nothing more than a compass and paper maps for navigation, as GPS and internet-enabled devices are strictly prohibited.

The Rebelle Rally Santa Cruz

The custom graphic wrap was crafted in California by Matt Marble, a senior graphic designer, and Kellen Gustine, a junior exterior designer, both from Hyundai Design North America.

“As an artist, I’m excited to present the new livery scheme design of the Rebelle Rally Hyundai Santa Cruz”, said Marble. “We were inspired by the natural ruggedness of the desert and worked to capture its beauty along with the adventurous nature of mountain journeys in every hue and line of our design.”

The Santa Cruz’s striking appearance draws inspiration from renowned typography and contemporary outdoor enthusiasts’ penchant for vibrant colors, logos, and decals. The end result is a fusion of modern and retro aesthetics, reminiscent of 1970s design. The bold utilization of thick, prominent color blocks ensures the presence of vivid, saturated hues that form a captivating contrast against the desert terrain backdrop. What truly distinguishes this design is the attention-grabbing gradient sunset and the striking mountain range in the foreground. Moreover, a cleverly crafted horizon line tilts dynamically, mirroring the Santa Cruz’s movement as it conquers mountains or dunes, establishing a subtle yet engaging connection with the surrounding landscape.

In terms of performance, the Rebelle Rally Santa Cruz required only minimal modifications when compared to the standard production model. These enhancements were designed by Eric Buxton, a model-line engineer from Hyundai Motor America, in collaboration with experts from the Hyundai America Technical Center. A range of off-road equipment was procured from both Hyundai and leading aftermarket manufacturers, including Rally Innovations, Truxxx, Gear Off Road, and Falken Tires. The custom bed rack, meticulously crafted for this vehicle, has been purpose-built to securely accommodate essential gear such as four MaxTrax recovery boards, a full-size spare tire and wheel, and a pair of dependable shovels. This vehicle’s thoughtful combination of genuine Hyundai accessories and aftermarket upgrades serves as a demonstration of how customers can create a personalized Santa Cruz tailored to their distinct personalities and needs.

Rebelle Rally Santa Cruz Modifications include:

  • Custom front bumper and skid plate for additional protection
  • Larger 17-inch Falken Wildpeak A/T3W off-road tires to enhance ground clearance and conquer rugged terrain
  • Rally Innovations front recovery mount with auxiliary lighting
  • Roof-rack-mounted light bar attached to Hyundai Genuine Accessory cross bars
  • Rear spare-tire mount with MaxTrax and shovel mounts
  • Truxxx lift kit (1.5-inch front, 1-inch rear)
  • Terratrip rally computer
  • An exciting graphic wrap showcasing the design elements embodied in Santa Cruz: ready for work, home, surf and mountain sports
  • Per Rebelle Rally rules, the Santa Cruz’s antennas have been disconnected to eliminate GPS

About Rebelle Rally

Rebelle Rally is a unique fusion of a deep love for off-roading and the exciting challenge of precision navigation. It transcends the conventional motorsport event by offering an exhilarating adventure that invites participants to fully embrace the wilderness. This rally pushes them to test their boundaries and hone their navigation skills without relying on modern GPS devices. What distinguishes the Rebelle Rally is not only the demanding off-road expertise it demands but also the remarkable sense of camaraderie and empowerment it nurtures among the women who participate. It serves as a celebration of the accomplishments of those involved in the world of off-road motorsports, an exciting adventure, and an opportunity to connect with a community of like-minded, resilient women.

About The Brute Squad

Jill Ciminillo is a highly skilled automotive writer, a prominent YouTube personality, a dedicated podcaster, and serves as a contributing editor for Consumer Guide Automotive. Furthermore, she holds the role of managing editor at Pickup Truck+SUV Talk.

Kristin Shaw, on the other hand, is an accomplished freelance journalist with a strong presence in both the automotive and aviation reporting domains. Her work is featured in prestigious publications, including Popular Science, Edmunds, Forbes, Road & Track, A Girls Guide to Cars, Motor1, Airport Improvement Magazine, and numerous others.


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