Necessary car modifications

Having moved the limo into Bath, workshop space is now at a premium, subsequently we have taken to converting deserted car parks into guerrilla-garages by night. Tonight we chose the Oldfield park primary school car park to set up shop. To aid in our visibility on the road and to improve handling and performance we have decided to fit the car with electric-blue neon’s along its full length. A large number of holes drilled into the chassis and a bag of cable ties later we had a single strip of “neons” attached.

fitting blue neon lights to the limousine for the 2014 mongol rally blog

Fitting neons to a rover 827 limousine  regency mongol rally  2014 team

Later we moved to a council construction site to fit the second strip, despite several no parking signs and a large amount of chain-link fencing the authority of the limo and the rover marque seems to dissuade people from approaching us and requesting we cease our occupation. This authority has become somewhat of a recurring theme, initially one of the major objections to buying the limousine had been that it would be “a nightmare to park” this seems to be almost the opposite of what we have experienced. Despite parking anywhere we have pleased for the past several weeks we haven’t been questioned, fined or prompted to move once. This includes extended periods parked up in taxi ranks, bus stations, and outside unesco world heritage sites as well as inconspicuously parking across several spaces reserved exclusively for university of bath security and traffic enforcement personnel. We can only assume that people see the limo and either assume that some high profile, rover loving, gangster or perhaps a funeral procession is close by, or are simply intimidated by the sheer power of the rover marque and styling of the car. Either way, we have been unmolested by parking tickets despite our utter disregard for parking etiquette.

Guildhall bath rover 827 limousine mongol rally

Any self respecting limousine owner has a set of diplomatic flags. After a quick visit to (the leading online diplomatic flag seller) and the realisiation that a simple setup could cost in excess of £500 and would only be rated up to 75mph the decision was made to make our own bespoke flag holders. After some quick napkin calculations and a visit to the University of Bath machine shop we were proud owners of some of the highest strength flag holders ever seen on a road legal limo. Conservative calculations estimate a speed of 175mph could be achieved before permanent damage would occur to the poles.

limo flag lathe turning rover 800 827 mongol rally

Upon fitting a pair of dignitary flags our immunity seems to have extended to all rules of the road, as seen in the following picture. If you are familiar with bath you will know that this is the main entrance to the historic roman baths in the centre of the town, normally just walking here is stressful enough with the number of tourists, but the limo finds passage with ease, the flags easily carving a route through the crowds and past no-entry signs. When the masses become too much one passenger can simply step out and walk in front of the car and beckon people authoritatively to step aside. Given our success in Bath I feel we will be attempting to approach wider known landmarks on the continent as we pass by, we just hope our union jacks will carry as much weight on the other side of the channel.

Roman Baths Entrance Somerset Rover Limo 827 800

However our flippant attitude to the highway code may have been misguided. Somehow we inadvertently entered into a CCTV covered temporary bus lane 4 times in 2 days, as we learned to our disappointment the next week when we received letters from the council. The bus lane is pretty poorly signposted and the lane isn’t painted as it is only operational between 10-6, but I still think we should be exempt as we can carry more than 8 passengers, making us technically a bus. You win this time Bath & North East Somerset Council.

bus lane fine bath limo 827 rover

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