Choosing our car for the Mongol Rally

Finding the perfect car for our trip took a considerable amount of time and thought. Bearing in mind that we are going to have to sit in this thing for 8 weeks, through 22 countries and 6 time zones, it was not an easy decision.

Initially we had our hearts set on an immaculate 1993 Fiat Panda, Parade edition, with a full length retractable canvas roof it would have been perfect for Jack’s larger frame. We had organised to collect the Panda from Liverpool but when the seller found out our plans for the car he got cold feet. Understandably he did not want this future automotive classic to meet an untimely end in the middle of the Karakum desert.


Artists impression of the team Parading to Ulan Bator.

Several months later we had finished mourning the Panda, the search for the perfect car continued. After spending more time scouring eBay than revising for our exams, we had exhausted nearly every category eBay autos had to offer, only “commercial” vehicles remained. We organised by Price: Lowest first and there it was, the 1994 Rover 827si Regency limousine. Buy it now.


This is what Ollie looks like at 4:30AM

The following monday Ollie and Steve were sat on the 4:30am train to Eastbourne. They had arranged to meet the seller outside the station to take the limo for a test drive. The seller usually met people at the taxi drop off, but didn’t think the limo’s turning circle would be capable of navigating the tight corners; however, the rover easily fit into the adjacent coach bays.

Steve kicked the tyres plenty of times, checked the electric partition was working, and decided that the Rover was good to go. Paperwork was signed, a man was paid and the keys were handed over.

Ollie had the pleasure of driving the limousine home, whilst Steven was busy testing each and every one of the remaining seven seats.  A pitstop was made to refuel both the team and the car. Without much thought Ollie headed straight for the car park, forgetting that the Rover is significantly longer than a standard space. Although surprisingly this did not pose an issue, as you can see.


Bay parking a limousine, no problem.

Calling in at Bath, Ollie and Steven headed straight to the Royal Crescent for a postcard photoshoot, image at top of post. Heading into town and with a successful bay park under his belt, Ollie confidently went for the parallel park. Absolutely no problem at all!


Parallel parking a limousine, no problem.

With over 300 trouble free miles on the clock, our spirits were high, we began to believe the Rover reliability issues we had heard so much about were pure hyperbole. The cambelt remained in one piece, the cylinder head was not “warped into the shape of a pringle”  and it had not snapped in half.

The next morning the Rover did not start.

Breakdown count: 1


Rover reliability issues