The mission of the Black Rock City Department of Mutant Vehicles is to enable Burning Man participants to share their Mutant Vehicle creations with the community of Black Rock City, and to license vehicles for use by disabled participants.
The Department of Mutant Vehicles (DMV) must balance the desire to have vehicles at the event with the community standards of keeping Burning Man a foot- and bike-friendly event, maintaining a level of safety, and adhering to the stipulations of our land use permit. Because of these limiting factors, not all vehicles that apply can be licensed. While this is not an easy job, the DMV believes having Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man is an important part of the experience and work hard to make it possible for them to be out there.
Simply put, the DMV is there to make it possible for the Mutant Vehicles to be at Burning Man. if there were no DMV, there would be no mobile art in Black Rock City. The DMV staff work throughout the year to process the Mutant Vehicles and disabled vehicle registrations, and then run on-playa operations to license vehicles during the event. The DMV staff also work to build and maintain the support infrastructure for their operations.
What is a Mutant Vehicle?
A Mutant Vehicle is a unique, motorized creation that shows little or no resemblance to their original form, or to any standard street vehicle. Mutant Vehicles are radically, stunningly, (usually) permanently, and safely modified from their base vehicle. Sometimes the whole vehicle is made from scratch.
Mutant Vehicles may include such non-standard motorized forms such as furniture, other non-street vehicles such as a boat or train, animals, or just about anything imaginable. For safety reasons, they must not mimic any type of emergency service or law enforcement vehicle.
Vehicles merely stripped to the frame and engine, and vehicles with minimal changes or temporary decorations are not considered Mutant Vehicles.
Examples of Mutant Vehicles can be found in the Burning Man Image Gallery.
How are Mutant Vehicles different from any art car?
A Mutant Vehicle is, in essence, a specific variety of art car. A Mutant Vehicle is an art car classification specifically created for use at Black Rock City. The classification was created because the term “art car” can have a broad definition, and, because of the limit on the number of vehicles the DMV can license, the DMV did not want to deem whether or not someone’s creation was “art”.
Mutant Vehicles are integral to the culture and community at Burning Man. They contribute to the surreal, visual quality that binds Black Rock City together.
If you have a disability and need a vehicle to get around Black Rock City, see the Vehicles for People with Disabilities page.
For information on other types of vehicles on the playa, see our Black Rock City Vehicle Protocols.
If you are interested in bringing a Mutant Vehicle to Black Rock City, see the Mutant Vehicle Licensing and Criteria.