It was fantastic to welcome Danny to Bath last Thursday – this is the last time he’s over in the UK till the start of our adventure in July, and we had much to sort out – equipment lists, routes, camping amongst other things.
He came laden down with swag – Mongol Rally t-shirts, rally car stickers, head bands, Jägermeister shirts and sun glasses, and most anticipated, lederhosen! We’re going to look the part!
Our pressing priority was getting Bertha, our little Vauxhall Agila rally ready, so with an ever so slight hangover on Friday morning we took over Expert Agent’s company car park to pimp Bertha!
We’d managed to source a proper Vauxhall Agila sump guard from Romania – probably much needed for those roads as we’ll find out as part of our trip. After a couple of curses and trying to work out how the hell to get it fitted correctly (surely there should be more than 4 bolts!) we managed to get it all secure. This is the most vital modification for roads in the Stans and Mongolia where pot holes and rocks could so easily rip off the car’s sump spelling disaster.
Next up was the thing I was most looking forward to – transforming Bertha from a faded red to beautiful bright orange. But we’re lazy. So instead of sanding off the old paint, we cleaned her off using paint thinners (oh the smell!), applied a bit of masking tape so we didn’t get too much paint on trim, lights and windows, then started rollering on the orange paint.
It took longer than we thought – we managed to get the first coat of paint applied on the Friday evening, then returned bright and early on Saturday morning to continue. All in all, it took 4 coats of paint to hide the faded red, and the end result from a distance looks great. However close up looks horrendous – definitely the effect we were going for – the “rally patina!”
We’d sourced a cheap light bar from eBay, but were struggling to work out how to attach it to the car. We’d scoured the shelves of Homebase to find a suitable bracket to no avail, and close to giving up, happened across an Ikea bookcase mounting bracket in the office – perfect!
At this point, we were both getting bored waiting for the paint to dry, so decided a bit of wind would help blow dry the last coat – a trip from Frome back to Bath sorted this out, and luckily we didn’t leave too much paint on the A36 on the way!
Back in Bath was time to apply the official Mongol Rally stickers – on both front doors and on the bonnet, followed up by our team logo on the rear doors. She was starting to look the part, and we ended up having a great chat to a fellow Agila driver in Bath who stopped as he was driving by – he’d seen the car previously and had guessed it was driving off to Mongolia.
We managed to get quite a few stares on Sunday morning on the way to Heathrow to drop Danny off for his flight back to Austria!
The next step, after some quite urgent mechanical repairs is to get stickers printed for our awesome charity The Matthew Elvidge Trust, along with stickers for our kind sponsors, Expert Agent, FixFlo and Agency Express.
Here’s a couple of pics of the pimping….