Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Ambulance

How much do you know about ambulances? The past few months have made me first realize how precious little I knew about them, and then (after promising my team mates that I'll get us the ambulance) to learn more about them than I ever thought I'd do …

The first question was: If we want to give an ambulance to a hospital in Mongolia, where do we get it from? It turns out that ambulances really aren't any different from any other light commercial vehicles, and are sold and bought just like for example pickup trucks or vans. So I started browsing second hand vehicle web sites to learn what was available on the market, but the more ambulances for sale I found, the less I knew which one to buy.

The next question then became: When there are so many different kinds of ambulances out there, which kind do we really want? I had no idea. But by pure coincidence, I then got to know that an acquaintance of mine, Peter Wärnberg, happened to have worked as an ambulance driver for ten years, so I wrote him a long mail explaining what we were trying to do and asking for his help and advice to choose an appropriate vehicle.

Peter was happy to help and answer my questions. As a one time owner of a close-to-indestructible Volvo 740, I had been looking especially at Volvo ambulances and he could confirm this to be a good idea. So last Friday, I finally found an ambulance for sale that was what I now knew to be what we wanted and for which Peter found the listing to look good and believed it to be a vehicle in which we would be able to reach Mongolia.

So we in team Ambulance To Mongolia are now the proud owners of this beauty:

Thomas insists we name her HMS Dreadnought.

The Volvo 965 ambulance is supposedly one of few ambulances on the market that was purpose-built as an ambulance directly at the factory and has a chassis especially constructed for this. (We hope that this makes it sturdier than vehicles that were converted to ambulances, after leaving the factory as normal cars and vans.) It is equipped with the Volvo Modular engine B6304S, which was developed in a cooperation project with Porsche / Weissach and produces 204 hp to make the 5.7 m long and 2,680 kg heavy vehicle move swiftly. The automatic transmission is supposedly also not the same that was used in normal passenger cars but a custom version made for the ambulance, somehow made tougher and more reliable. Our ambulance was built in 1998, making it one of the last cars ever built of the safe and exceptionally reliable and repairable Volvo 900/700 series.


  1. I am not sure you will actually hand over the ambulance in Mongolia. I guess you will fall in love with "gula faran" during the trip and keep it forever...

  2. email@karn.orangehome.co.uk23:02

    Hi, my name is Karn from The League of Mentalmen. We too are taking an abulance in this years rally. Good luck and hopefully see you at the CZECH REP PARTY.........
    Do you if any other teams are taking Ambulances?

  3. I am utterly jealous. I hope you shoot lots of video during the trip and find a way to publish it as you go :-).


  4. I think this is beautiful engineering. They should have made an "adventure-traveller-mobilehome-version" of it!