Burning Man & The best art cars

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Duane Flatmo & Jerry Kunkel - El Pulpo Mecanico, Burning Man
Duane Flatmo & Jerry Kunkel - El Pulpo Mecanico, Burning Man

Duane Flatmo & Jerry Kunkel – El Pulpo Mecanico, Burning Man, photo: Amanda Kirk/shopmoment.com

Published: September 25, 2019

Last updated:

Introduction

Every year, thousands of tourists and locals flock to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to mark the Burning Man festival. They usually create Black Rock City, a time-based metropolis dedicated to self-expression, community, art, and independence. Every year, people turn this place into one of the most jam-packed cities in the world with tents, RVs, camps, and outstanding art sculptures.

What is Burning Man all about?

The mission of this event is to guide nature and protect the community created by its ethos. During the experience of Burning Man, everyone should be connected to their creative powers, producing positive spiritual change.

The cars at Burning Man

The festival takes place every summer and is known for featuring people with peculiar behavior, and some out of control looks. Burning Man is also home of strange and amusing art cars. The mutant vehicles range in size from tiny two-seater vehicles to giant ships which can actually carry tens of participants. The creations come in all sizes, and they can emerge suddenly ten feet beside you during a dust storm. Both the costumes and modified vehicles are some of the main attractions of Burning Man.

Sid Kurz - Shark Car, Burning Man, 2016

Sid Kurz – Shark Car, Burning Man, 2016, photo: Scott London/scott.london

What qualifies a mutant car?

Mutant cars have a unique look which makes them qualify as one. For a vehicle to qualify, the hulk shouldn’t be visible. Before the cars are approved, they also have to go through the Department of Mutant Vehicle (DMV). The department will take time to check the vehicle for safety and test it for functionality and other features. If a mutant vehicle is driven at night, then it should be well lit and at the same time look dramatic.

Some of the most outstanding cars at Burning Man

The Trumpet car

It didn’t resemble something unique, but it was open to any tune.

Burning Man - The Trumpet car

The Trumpet car, Burning Man, 2018, photo: motortrend.ca

The Fire-Berthing Rabid Transit Mutant Vehicle

You wouldn’t imagine seeing such a vehicle, but it’s the crowd favorite each year for all the right reasons. The vehicle was unique in the sense that it was illuminated with burning sticks.

Duane Flatmo – Rabid Transit, Burning Man, 2017

Duane Flatmo – Rabid Transit, Burning Man, 2017, photo: Duane Flatmo/duaneflatmo.com

Duane Flatmo - Rabid Transit, Burning Man, 2017

Duane Flatmo – Rabid Transit, Burning Man, 2017, photo: Michael Parisi/smithsonianmag.com

1 min 22 sec

Dragon vehicle

Dragon vehicle, Burning Man, 2010

Dragon vehicle, Burning Man, 2010, photo: c-g./wikimedia.org

Rhino Redemption Art Car

Kevin Clark & T.M. Potter - Rhino Redemption Art Car, Burning Man, 2016

Kevin Clark & T.M. Potter – Rhino Redemption Art Car, Burning Man, 2016, photo: Scott London/scott.london

Three-story Victorian mansion/locomotive

Shannon O'Hare - Neverwas Haul, Burning Man, 2016

Shannon O’Hare – Neverwas Haul, Burning Man, 2016, photo: Scott London/scott.london

Lizard Art Car

Lizard Art Car, Burning Man, 2014

Lizard Art Car, Burning Man, 2014, photo: Nick Kelley/outsideonline.com

Maria del Camino

Bruce Tomb - Maria del Camino, Burning Man, 2016

Bruce Tomb – Maria del Camino, Burning Man, 2016, photo: Scott London/scott.london

El Pulpo Mecanico

Duane Flatmo & Jerry Kunkel – El Pulpo Mecanico, Burning Man, 2012

Duane Flatmo & Jerry Kunkel – El Pulpo Mecanico, Burning Man, 2012, photo: burningman.org

Airpusher Art Car

This car comes equipped with a zeppelin and a crystal chandelier.

Airpusher Art Car, Burning Man, 2015

Airpusher Art Car, Burning Man, 2015, photo: Anne Gomez, wikimedia.org

Cat Car

Cat Car, Burning Man, 2007

Cat Car, Burning Man, 2007, photo: Bill Dimmick/flickr.com

Icarus Art Car

Icarus Art Car, Burning Man, 2014

Icarus Art Car, Burning Man, 2014, photo: iamexcited.net

Prodigal Swan

Prodigal Swan, Burning Man, 2016

Dust to Dust Collective – Prodigal Swan, Burning Man, 2016, photo: prweb.com

Piranha Car

Piranha Car, Burning Man, 2005

Piranha Car, Burning Man, 2005, photo: ski-epic.com

Two mast sailing ship party bus

Two mast sailing ship party bus, Burning Man, 2005

Two mast sailing ship party bus, Burning Man, 2005, photo: ski-epic.com

Volkswagen Bug inspired car

Volkswagen Bug, Burning Man, 2005

Volkswagen Bug, Burning Man, 2005, photo: ski-epic.com

The Big Banana Car

Steve Braithwaite and the Mutant Brothers - Big Banana Car, Burning Man, 2018

Steve Braithwaite and the Mutant Brothers – Big Banana Car, Burning Man, 2018, photo: thegroveguy.blogspot.com

Steve Braithwaite and the Mutant Brothers - Big Banana Car

Steve Braithwaite and the Mutant Brothers – Big Banana Car

The Boat Car

The owner of this artwork took a real boat and deployed sails that made it possible for the vehicle to run. It’s impressive and at the same time, a crazy idea.

Boat Car, Burning Man, 2018

Boat Car, Burning Man, 2018, photo: Curtis Simmons/facebook.com

The Dragon Car

This vehicle resembles a dragon. Surprisingly, this car was a generic airport shuttle bus in its former life.

Heavy Meta, Burning Man, 2019

Heavy Meta, Burning Man, 2019, photo: Stephane Lanoux

Ian Liljeblad – The Big Willy

The Big Willy was built by Ian Liljeblad from scratch. The vehicle was built as a 1:67:1 scale resembling Willys Jeep.

Ian Liljeblad - Big Willy

Ian Liljeblad – Big Willy, Burning Man, 2018, photo: bigwillyjeep.com

Ian Liljeblad - Big Willy

Ian Liljeblad – Big Willy, Burning Man, 2018, photo: Susan Clemens/ewillys.com

The wood boat

This construction is a stunning artwork made from Suzuki Samurai Frame.

Wood boat, Burning Man, 2018

Wood boat, Burning Man, 2018, photo: motortrend.com

Why are those vehicles actually useful?

There’s so much to see in such a vast area. What this means is that you will have to get a vehicle to get around and experience the most. This party is open to any craziness. As a matter of fact, the crazier, the better! The fact that there is no standing water near this place didn’t stop some people from bringing motorized boats. Some folks installed wheels on vessels to ensure they be part of this party.

Burning Man - The Christina Art Car, 2014, Duncan Rawlinson:Duncan.co

Burning Man – The Christina Art Car, 2014, photo: Duncan Rawlinson/Duncan.co

The best way for moving around the city

The city is organized like the face of a clock. It’s constructed in an arch ranging from 2 pm to 10 am. To organized it, the streets are labeled using letters from A to L. The city also features a couple of skate parks, though, the skateboard wouldn’t get you far. Many people use bikes, as they are the best way of moving around the city.

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