How to choose a car for the Mongol Rally

How does one choose a car to cross the Eurasian continent?

Here are the five core rules to finding an adequate set of wheels.

1. The car needs to be big and sturdy if you want to get through Russia. In mother Russia you aren’t legally allowed to drive unless you’ve taken a personality test that proves you are viciously psychotic.

2. You need a car that can maintain higher speeds, you don’t want to try crossing 10,000 miles of continent with a car that maxes out at 45 miles per hour.

3. Enough room in the vehicle must be had for all your gear for camping on the wild steppes of Kazakhstan and Mongolia, not to mention for personal comfort.

4. Durability, you need a car built to drive down a 1,000 mile long bumpy dirt road.

5. Don’t forget, it needs to have a high enough clearance to cross large rocks and streams.
Lastly, you want to look good, so a car with style and comfort.

Following those rules, what vehicle to end up with? That’s right, a Landcruiser LR4 luxury suv, completed with a massive 5 litre V8 engine, room for seven passengers, tow assist, gradient release control, and a patented Terrain Response system which optimizes the vehicle’s power and torque for any terrain.

I logged onto ebay but before I could even type in my search Roberta ruined everything in her usual way.

“The official Mongol Rally rules say that a 1.2 liter engine is the largest you can use, that monster you are looking at has an engine 5 times that size.”

“Well, we’ll just have to downsize to a Jeep Wrangler.” I responded with a look that told her not to cross me again.

“Still too big.”

“How about small truck, a Ford Ranger perhaps?”

“Getting warmer.”

“What? Fine, a Subaru, and that is that.”

“Not close enough.”

I was at a loss, I tossed my hands into the air and picked the smallest car I knew about, “Oh come on! We’ll get one of those little boutique, Fiat 500s.”

“Smallest engine size on those is 1.4 liters, you are still too high.”

“There is nothing smaller than a Fiat 500. It’s impossible. This whole rally is a scam.”

But I went ahead and googled “Cars smaller than a Fiat 500.”

What came up was a list of oddly named vehicles. These included, but were not limited to, the Nissan Micra, Chevy Spark, and Citroen Weenie.” They were all referred to as “superminis” a subset of cars I’ve never heard of because I’m American and we don’t consider Tonka Trucks to be large road vehicles.

“They want us to drive one of those across the largest continent in the world! It’s masochistic!”

“Well, you should have read the rules.”

“Fine, I don’t suppose any of them have four wheel drive?”

“Ummm, nope.”

“What is the highest clearance those cars can reach?”

“Five inches.”

“That’s the width of my fist.”


I frowned, “You are saying that that if a stream is deeper than my hand we can’t cross it?”


“How much cargo space do these “super” minis have?”

“If you can fit it in a lunchbox, you can fit it in the car.”

At this point I put my hand to my head because I was having a headache. “Is there one with, perhaps, automatic windows, or a cd player, or four doors?”

“Actually, there is one. With four doors that is.”

“What’s it called?” I asked.

“A Fiat panda.”

“Fearsome.” I said.

“Aggressive.” Roberta agreed.

As usual, when confronted with a challenge, I crossed my arms and pouted. “Maybe there is a way around the rules?”

Roberta smiled in her kind and condescending way, patting me on the head, “You’ll just have deal with the situation.”


No, I wont.