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The art cars of Burning Man

<p>COURTESY PHOTO:</p><p>The Star Trek shuttle craft, owned by regional Burning Man organizer Cory Mervis, was a taxi mock-up for the now-defunct Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas.</p>

COURTESY PHOTO:

The Star Trek shuttle craft, owned by regional Burning Man organizer Cory Mervis, was a taxi mock-up for the now-defunct Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas.

<p>COURTESY: HOVERING.COM</p><p>A shot of the Star Trek shuttle craft on the playa.</p>

COURTESY: HOVERING.COM

A shot of the Star Trek shuttle craft on the playa.

<p>Photo Credit: BILL HUGHES</p><p>Magik Michael Childers shows off his Magic Carpet Experience.</p>

Photo Credit: BILL HUGHES

Magik Michael Childers shows off his Magic Carpet Experience.

<p>Photo Credit: BILL HUGHES</p><p>Magik Michael Childers shows off his Magic Carpet Experience.</p>

Photo Credit: BILL HUGHES

Magik Michael Childers shows off his Magic Carpet Experience.

<p>Photo Credit: BILL HUGHES</p><p>Dirk Schmidhofer and Holly Clifford with their Pedal Pub, which was partially built with a VW front end, Chevy Camaro rear end and recycled bicycle parts from Craigslist</p>

Photo Credit: BILL HUGHES

Dirk Schmidhofer and Holly Clifford with their Pedal Pub, which was partially built with a VW front end, Chevy Camaro rear end and recycled bicycle parts from Craigslist

IN ORDER TO GET around the five square miles of the Black Rock Desert playa, attendees at the annual Burning Man festival have to be creative with regards to transportation. And while bicycles remain the most popular and convenient choice, more than 600 artistically modified mutant vehicles, or art cars, roam the temporary, sprawling Black Rock City.

And sometimes, they surface in Sin City, too. Locals with art cars often show off their buggies during festivals (such as last March’s Pastel Project), Burning Man-themed events (like the burn of the Lucky Lady Lucy effigy during March’s First Friday) and downtown’s Halloween Parade.

If these four art cars have anything in common, besides imaginative owners, it’s that their base vehicles are impossible to identify. Burning Man’s “Department of Mutant Vehicles” won’t permit merely decorated or minimally altered cars into the event. For radical self-expression isn’t just suggested on the playa, it’s required.