A page where we talk about vehicles, vehicle modifications and vehicle paperwork
Why small and crap?
Good question. Anyone's Gran and her colostomy bag can say they drove to Mongolia in a 4x4 or a people carrier and not have a single true adventure to show for it. In the 21st century adventures don't just happen - failure needs to be woven in from the beginning - you need to create rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.
You signed up for a shit your pants experience. Your poor excuse for a vehicle is a powerful adventure laxative towards that end - it's what guarantees an old school adventure doesn't slide into a pampered Instagram vanity project.
Choosing a Vehicle
Most teams won't need to be spoon fed the definition of a shit car - they'll already be furiously exploring the furthest depths of vehicle depravity - acquiring ruins so bad they would make Caligula blush.
But every year a few teams don't quite get it - they crave chaotic adventure and yet they're drawn to shiny, powerful machines that are every bit up to the job of driving to Mongolia. Comfort and security can be seductive - but there are no exceptions to the shit cars rule - so to help you stay strong we've put together some examples and handy diagrams to reference when choosing your car.
The engine size limit of 1000 cc is as old and as established as Roger's Profanisaurus - but in previous years we used to have vehicle age restrictions as well. In 2013 we were able to scrap them, so teams could once again drive archaeologically significant wrecks to Mongolia. It came at a small price though - technical restrictions for vehicles not being driven home.
Since the rally does things to your car that can't be anticipated we highly recommend you keep your options open and stay within these technical limits when purchasing a vehicle - which are really quite generous anyway.
To understand the technical restrictions check the 'after the rally' section - simply put though your vehicle must be registered in the EU, it must be registered in the name of a team member and it must fit within these dimensions Length - 470cm, Width - 215cm, Height - 190cm and Weight - 1500kg.
With these two simple graphs you'll be able to separate shit cars from not-shit cars with a 95% success rate
Perhaps you're not too bothered about your choice of vehicle? There's no shame in that - here are some popular shit cars that make a regular appearance on the rally:
Think a car is worthy of special exemption? Think again - it has to be really special to impress us. Check these examples and then buzz us for approval on +44 (0) 117 364 3402 before reaching for your wallet:
Some not shit cars that are banned:
Acquiring a Vehicle
Buying a vehicle in the UK
If you don't live in Europe, and you don't have friends or friends of family who do you might have to 'buy blind'. You’ve got a few options for this, either you can scour the internet and hope for the best, fly out to Europe before the Rally to buy a car, or ask a Rally veteran if they can help you.
If you’re like most of the rest of us then chances are flying to the UK to buy a car in a separate trip many months in advance of the Rally launch probably isn’t a possibility, and if Gumtree and Ebay are coming up empty then you might start getting a little anxious. Since 2011 a couple of teams each year have had some very nice things to say about the chaps at two separate companies offering a plethora of services if you're trying to buy a car remotely, including vehicle inspections, collections, modifications and storage.
Charters. Call - +44 (0)7800 855887
DK Mobile Servicing. Call - +44 (0)7527 866859
This does not constitute a recommendation for either company from The Adventurists, but former Mongol Rally teams may well recommend their services.
Shipping a non EU vehicle to the launch
For those of you in Canada or the US some of you might be keen to choose your car in person and spend a bit of time getting to know it. If you do plan to do this you'll need to wet your feet in the murky waters of international shipping.
International freight of large items is a complicated and often expensive process, there are often hidden charges like storage at the shipping yard and harbour taxes. It is also exceedingly difficult to find a car in the US that is below 1500cc (let alone) 1000cc, we can only imagine this is because of all those films of cool Americans in big cars. Sadly you ain’t Steve McQueen so you’re going to have to think hard before we let you bring your big old American car on the Rally; though we do like the wood panelled ones, they remind us of our bar here in the UK. Once you've finished the Rally you would not be able to send it to Europe with the other Rally cars without the risk of having to pay import tax.
You have the ability to choose your vehicle and spend time before the Rally growing accustomed to it, once you finish the Rally you are closer to home than you are Europe so you can get your vehicle back to the New World without too much heartache. If you decide you want to ship a vehicle from that big old country of yours let us know, we can probably find some Rally veterans who know a whole bunch they wouldn’t mind sharing with you.
Pimping your vehicle
If you have your steed you will no doubt begin to think about making it look the part. Clearly there are many ways to go about this, and thankfully, now the Mongol Rally cars are not being sold in Mongolia for charity, teams can let their creative juices flow.
We’re talking a nightmarish shade of fluorescent pink and gaffer-tape go-faster stripes, clad in faux-fur or disco-ball hologram vinyl, crap cardboard spoilers, or going full-on and transforming your Nissan Micra into the Batmobile, a viking longship, or Sputnik. This attitude makes you a hero wherever you go and will automatically endear yourself and your team to everyone, from sponsors, to journalists to friendly local mechanics who don’t mind being paid in jelly babies.
Here's some Mongol Rally classics to get your creative juices flowing.
Come the day of the launch your car will be adorned front and sides with the Mongol Rally stickers. They are 30cm high x 60cm wide and you'll get them in the post at the end of March onwards. Once you've selected a suitably unsuitable car, stick them on each of the front two doors and the bonnet and instantly transform it from an embarrassing tin can to a proud thoroughbred adventure-mobile.
Notice how we've stuck this at the very bottom of the page? Your car is small and crap for a noble reason - to encourage adventuring chaos - not to see how well it can be de-crapped with snorkels, off-road tyres and raised suspension.
We’re not talking a host of rally-style modifications to make it look like it rolled out of the World Rally Championships. Raised suspension, snorkels, rally-tyres, and a row of rally headlamps in-front of the grill. These will just make you look like bigger pillocks when it still all goes wrong and it’s sort of missing the point anyway.
You shouldn't even be thinking about useful modifications - no really , stop thinking about it.
See also: 'Gadget Twat'