The Twelve Drives of Christmas - 01. Austin Mini to Mongolia
This year, we're doing the Twelve days of Christmas our way, by giving you the details of the twelve adventures which paved the way for Pub2Pub, and the vehicles behind them. First up, it's that legendary hero of the Mongolian Steppe - Daisy the Mini...
Car - 1991 Austin Mini 998
Cost - £400 in 2005
Modifications - raised suspension, roof rack
Route - England to Mongolia, via Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
Distance - 10,000 miles
Breakdowns - Two minor breakdowns. Once when the HT lead fell off the coil, and once when the rear suspension collapsed on one side, but was fixed with a Ratchet strap, tensioned off the front subframe.
Ben's rating - 9/10. One of my favourite cars ever, so much fun to drive, so much character and an absolute trooper to boot.
This is where it all began. Back in 2005, while skiving off work, I heard about the Mongol Rally - a yearly event which involves driving to Mongolia in the most unlikely car possible, and just like any rational person would, I decided it looked like a grand idea. So I bought Daisy for £400 off an old lady in South Wales, some other friends picked up a matching red Mini, and in the summer of 2006, off we went.
The 10,000 mile journey took 4 weeks and was a definite baptism of fire, as I'd never driven further than France when I set off, and had absolutely zero skills when it came to spannering. But fortunately, I had the right car. Daisy barely missed a beat, even when confronted with the shocking roads of the Kazakh Steppe, or the endless expanses of Siberia.
When we reached Mongolia, we donated Daisy to charity who then auctioned it off, and have no idea what happened to it after that. Here's hoping its still living out its life, roaming wild among the camels of Outer Mongolia.
Daisy's trip formed the preface of the book I went on to write about the African Porsche Expedition. You can read it here if you'd like to know more about where it all started: https://pub2pubexpedition.com/the-book/ - just click on the free preview option.
In the meantime, here are a few more photos of this noble, much-missed beast: