Mutant Vehicles

What is a Mutant Vehicle?

Slow down, hotshot. All Mutant Vehicles must be licensed to drive on playa. Learn more.

A Mutant Vehicle is a unique, motorized creation that either shows little or no resemblance to their original form, or to any standard street vehicle, or is out of context from it’s normal setting (a pirate ship or space ship on the desert, for example). Mutant Vehicles can be built from scratch or are radically, stunningly,and safely modified from their base vehicle.

The Clock Ship Tere by Andy Tibbetts (photo by Patrice Mackey aka Chef Juke)


Mutant Vehicles may include non-standard motorized forms such as furniture, other non-street vehicles such as a boat or train, animals, or almost 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,  or vehicles with minimal changes or temporary decorations are generally not considered Mutant Vehicles.

How are Mutant Vehicles different from any art car?

The Mutant Vehicle classification was specifically created by the DMV for use in 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 needed a classification that better described the level of ‘mutation’ that was required for a license.

A Mutant Vehicle is, in essence, a specific variety of art car that is either built from scratch or is more modified, customized, or changed (i.e., ‘mutated”) from its original form, if any,  than most art cars. 

What is NOT Considered a Mutant Vehicle?

  • The following are not considered Mutant Vehicles:
  • Unmutated vehicles.
  • Vehicles only stripped to the frame and engine.
  • Street/stock vehicles with minimal changes or temporary decorations.
  • Vehicles which too strongly resemble the original form or where too much of the base vehicle is unmutated and still visible.
  • Low riders, classic cars, monster trucks, dune buggies, rat rods and hot rods (there are other venues for these vehicles to be appreciated)

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 want to bring a Mutant Vehicle to Black Rock City, see the Mutant Vehicle Licensing and Criteria.