How do we go about completing these challenges? Well here are our noble steeds, both past and present…
Plan F’s Mongol Rally:
Vehicle selection, justification and modification…
Skoda aren’t renowned for their motoring ingenuity, style or robustness….but, according to Whatcar, the 1.3 litre Felicia ‘was built after the company got its act together, so what you get for your money – and not a lot of it – is a very solid and dependable little hatchback’. Apparently, most importantly, it has excellent paint quality, a high quality trim (see next paragraph) and good shut lines (whatever they may be). The truth of the matter, from a driving perspective appears somewhat less reassuring. A previous owner has described his five-door variant as ‘pretty gutless’ and having ‘awful brakes that required double the distance you would need in a modern car’ – although he is very happy with the ‘intermittent wiper setting’. The critical buy/don’t buy modification we all hinge our decision on!
Much has been done to develop and improve this once discreet and innocent wagon into a foreign cruiser with off road and endurance potential. The cabins traditional grey soft-to-touch interior has been stripped and replaced with break out hammers, fire extinguishers and an illuminated compass. The engine bay has been modified to include a second battery, larger coolant header tank and a second radiator fan. Underneath a protective skin has been installed to guard the oil sump and fuel tank. The vehicle has also been styled and given a practical hat – a steel roof rack has been constructed with fuel jerry can slots and equipment tie down points. To improve visibility, some high-watt spot-lights have been rigged to the roof rack in preparation for the lonely nights retracing Genghis Khans path. The bonnet has been fitted with an air intake scoop and the 38,000 mile carriage has been treated to a pre-jaunt service.
After deciding we wanted to mark our 30th year on this planet in some sort of gloriously stupid way we decided we would sign up for the Mongol Rally. Driving 10,000 miles across the world seemed like a suitable way to mark the occasion so now we needed a car, sure we could have done it in a 4×4 but that’s too easy right? We wanted to do it in something your Gran would drive and so what better vehicle to buy than a 1.3l Skoda Felicia with 37,000 miles (of running to Tesco) on the clock. With its questionable Eastern European manufacturing and wedge like style it was a sure thing, it was perfect. Bought for a mere £600 on eBay we returned it to Plan F HQ and we have to say, we bloody love it! They say Skoda’s only have heated rear screens to keep your hands warm when pushing it, we say, up yours jokers!
Plan F join Team Dixie Chickens:
After developing an online friendship with Don and Sarah, a couple from South Carolina with a passion for adventure, Plan F got an invite to ride with them on their spectacular yellow school bus as they circumnavigated the globe in it. Meeting them both for the first time as he climbed aboard the bus at Bodium Castle in the UK, Dave travelled throughout Europe with the guys and sadly departed in Ukraine and flew home due to work commitments. From there they drove the bus through Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia before shipping it to Japan for a cruise around there too. You can read more about their adventures here http://www.teamdixiechickens.com
Plan F in Peru:
Meet Ronnie, our Mototaxi which we took on the Peruvian Andes and Amazon with. With its whopping heart of 125cc and brakes made out of the finest leftovers of guinea pigs and steering that worked faultlessly in straight lines (until Al crashed it). Mototaxi’s are specifically designed to ferry people short distances around a city, not to travel thousands of miles at altitude, we soon realised what a dog Ronnie would turn out to be.