Trip Summary

Destination: St Petersburg, Russia
Distance: 6,400 kms (4,000 miles)
Vehicles: Reliant Robins

Trip Diary


Reliant. Only in a straight line

If you’re looking for a comedy car look no further than the Reliant Robin. A car that crashes itself. Not to be confused with Robin Reliant who is a plumber from Dagenham. A 6,400kms adventure beyond the Arctic Circle and back. Reindeer, saunas, Santa Claus and a copious amount of roadside assistance.

Russian roulette

the practice of loading a bullet into one chamber of a revolver, spinning the cylinder and then pulling the trigger while pointing the gun at one’s own head.

Russian rollette

person who drives a three wheeled car beyond its design limits will seize a cylinder and then overturn the vehicle onto one’s own head

There’s a wheel missing

There are endless possibilities for a classic banger rally when the vehicle of choice already has a wheel missing. With a theme based on classic TV and movie vehicles all we needed to do was pick a route. We chose Russia because Finland Rollette or Lithuanian Rollette would not be a hilarious play on words bordering on genius.

Just buying the vehicles was an exercise in comedy. The car that was to become Starsky and Hutch was optimistically described on Ebay as “running fine last time I checked” It appeared that last time was when it left the factory since which it had been festering in a shed.

It had a flat battery and even flatter tyres so we had to tow it using some rope we found in the boot. The rope snapped twice, each time leaving us with less rope to the point where the two cars were virtually touching. We decided to park up and collect another day.

At the other end of the scale the car that would become Lady Penelope’s ride was a cherished vehicle. The door was answered by a toothless man wearing a homemade knitted jumper with a Reliant Robin on the front. It was his pride and joy but sadly he’d fallen on hard times and it had to go. He kept the keyring though. We promised to look after it.

We didn’t have to fork out more than £200 for any of them. You’d have a job buying one for less than an extra nought these days. Quite possibly because they are now somewhat rarer due to our escapades across Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Welcome to Russian Rollette.