We Have a Vehicle!!!
I just got back from the bank where I explained to the bank manager that I wanted him to help me do everything the I am not supposed to do:
1: Send money internationally
2: To a person I have never met before
3: For purchasing something I have never seen
4: Off of the internet
5: From Facebook no less
6: And that I will not take possession of for a solid six months
Seemed like a good idea!
To rewind a bit: There are several criteria for vehicles for the Mongol Rally. They have to be under-powered (less than 1.2 litre engine), must be older than ten years, and they cannot have four-wheel drive. In other words, ridiculous. Here in the United States, that limits you to something along the lines of s SMART Car, or your little brother's moped. But in Europe, there are literally hundreds of different types of vehicles that fit those requirements. Fiat Pandas. Nissan Micras. Renault Clios. Vauxhall Corsas. You can throw a stick and hit a dozen or more cars that fit the bill...but they are all boring. I knew that if I was going to have an adventure like the Mongol Rally, I needed an adventurous vehicle.
I fell in love with the Bedford Rascal the moment I saw it. It is ridiculous. It looks like the kind of thing that PIXAR would have come up with as a background vehicle in one of its movies! It is five feet (!!!) shorter than my VW bus and almost two feet shorter than my Scion xB! It is a foot narrower than either and about as tall as the Scion. Heck, it weighs less than the forward pack of my rugby team! In other words, perfect!
The Rascal has not been in production since 1990, so it isn't like I could just ring up a car dealer in the UK and have them list off their stock. I turned to the source of all things, the internet, and started digging. Late nights had me sifting through Autotrader, Gumtree, and some European sites in German, Dutch, and Italian. I was a man on a mission.
Eventually I stumbled on to a Bedford Rascal Owners Facebook group. Lo and behold someone had just posted their van for sale! I called him on Skype and made the arrangements. In no time at all, I was off to the bank to ask the nice manager to drain my account!
The man I bought it from (also a Brian) has a greed to store the vehicle for me until July. He promises to go out every week or two and start it up, just to make sure everything is in working order. What a guy! I just hope that he is as nice in real life when I show up on his doorstep looking for my vehicle!
For now I am stuck with looking over the three photos I have. It looks to have four tires and the requisite number of doors and windows. I didn't notice any gaping holes, so that's a good sign, right? I just hope I can say the same thing after this adventure. It is a long way from London to Ulaan Ude. A lot can happen. I can't wait for the adventure to begin!
And just for fun: