The Panda has gone to The Fiat Bamboo Field in the sky.
Our brave little Panda fought a courageous fight but just like Apollo Creed, it was the Russians that delivered the killer blow.
Well almost. She made it five miles into the Russian boarder but that’s as far as she got. Mongolia did the softening up though. It was just a bit too much Ghengus Kaahn’t…
The Last Two Mongrels undertook the final stretch from Ulaanbataar (Mongolia) to Ulan Ude (Russia) on road conditions that could only be compared to trench war fare.
Craters everywhere. Axle deep mud. A crushing darkness. Limited vision. Explosive Toxic Gas (Hew, we need to have talk…).
It took over 7 hours to do 130km. That’s slow, even for an Italian car. The sump guard had a crisis of personality and decidedly it wanted to be a snow plow, driving mud into the engine bay. She slowly ground to a halt.
A local did offer a tow job for $15 and a jerry can of fuel, but there was to be no happy ending. They made it to a mechanic who did his best, but even the mechanical magic of a Mongolian Dumbledore could not save her.
The Panda took a deep breath, steeled her gaze and turned her nose north and pushed onward into the darkness. It was one step too far as eventually the radiator failed which in turn ended up blowing a gasket.
She stumbled, lumbered a few more steps and then clawed her way forward into the cold of night. But as she took one last laboured breath, the glow flickered in her headlight but finally extinguished.
Mud soaked. Cold. Lifeless she lay. But not alone.
The Last of the Mongrels have gently lifted her onto the back of a truck and will escort her to the finish line.
We are honoured to have been carried up on her wings along the majestic and legendary Silk road and into the enchanting lands of legends.
Across sun scorched deserts and over ice capped mountains; Through cold rivers and past magnificent beasts and ever eastward into the rising sun.
She will be remembered most for introducing us to the generousity of spirit and warmth of heart of all those people we have met.
So a priest has been called and the two blokes with shovels have stepped forward…
But a little bit of the The Panda will always be with me…I stole the Fiat badge off the boot before I Ieft…sorry lads!!
Fiat Panda….We salute you.