If anything, it seemed like there were less art cars than in previous years. I can't figure out why they would freak builders out by suggesting they would deny licenses just due to the volume when so many concepts never make there anyway.
I too worked my ass off for several overstressed months and spent over $2,000. I delayed arrival to finish the damned thing. By the time I got to the Burn at 8:00 am friday (due to the art car) I had been up for 35 hours straight.
Then...DMV started over scrutinizing my vehicle. I did use an ATV as a base and tried to explain how after removing all plastic and stripping the thing down to bare elements...underneath the backlit fiberglass shell was a huge amount of metal fabrication work. They could see part of the gas tank and engine and thusly denied the license. I brought a bunch more junk with me to work on it with, but they wouldn't tell me what mods to make to pass it. Told me not to come back. Driving to and back from DMV, 40 people stopped me to take pictures of the vehicle, so others must of thought it 'artistic' enough. Many wanted rides on it.
It took me four years of attending to get set up for this and I finally felt like I was contributing art to the burn. Can anyone imagine how lame it feels? All the years of defending Burning Man to the outside world and dedication to it, then dissing work to get this stupid art car working. May not sound like much to others, but it was a lot to me. A lot of stress, sacrifice and turmoil.
I think DMV sucks and should be eliminated. I realize there are volunteers involved, but the cross-dressers evaluating my car clearly spent their lives getting manicures and no understanding of mechanics whatsoever, so they couldn't make a case for what I did (I have no idea what gender I was dealing with, not that it matters...no problem with that, I would just prefer a creature familiar with metals or materials). DMV is inconsistent, hours are bad, and they are often flat out wrong. I counted 20 vehicles over the next two days that were practically stock (mine was far from stock). One ATV just had some hoola hoops with fabric draped over it and it had a license. Another was a golf cart with a platform on top, but no mods to the cart itself. I saw a cushman cart painted with daisies and no mechanical alteration. They all had licenses. The list goes on. Apparently it is all who you know. I didn't know anyone so I was SOL.
I'm not whining, I'm really pissed off. There needs to be a better process with levels of assurance. It is a collossal pain in the ass to make and bring an art car for the sake of the art. I'd like to know that if I send in pictures of my completed vehicle ahead of time, if it stays the same that they will 100% license it. No more of this "let's grant an approval then change our minds on giving out licenses" utter bullcrap. The hours and the attitude is too much like the real-world DMV. Larry! Please intervene! Your art car nazis are out of control! Burning Man would be a far less interesting experience without art cars. Let's keep the motivation flowing instead of destroying it.
Those that do not fight tyranny deserve it, for complacency grants license to the oppressors. -Aramis