16 Soviet Steam Car Powered With Wood: The First And The Last

Soviet Steam Car Powered With Wood: The First And The Last

Posted on April 14, 2013 by team

200 l. waster tank with a turbo blower, oil separator and condenser.

This is how they loaded wood.

On cold days they had to drain water (about 200 litres!) to prevent it from freezing before sunset and fill it again in the morning.

The trial model was followed by two more vehicles (built in 1949-1950) which had a bit different appearance. They were tested in very severe conditions, it was up to -40C cold and water had to be brought from the nearest lake.

Due to heavy load on the front axle such vehicles were simply sinking on dirt roads when being fully loaded. So they built the forth model of a timber truck – NAMI-018. When its rear wheels were slipping, the front ones started to pull, taking the full load.

Timber truck NAMI-012.

NAMI-012 in 1951 during official tests.

The final model – NAMI-018 in 1953.

There also existed a model powered with liquid fuel, but only on papers though…

For numerous reasons all this work finally came to silence. Stalin died by that time, camps emptied, the ruling party changed the course. And nobody needed steam cars anymore…

 The destiny of NAMI vehicles is rather sad. They didn’t even become museum exhibits as well as other numerous interesting Soviet inventions. The first steam vehicle powered with wood became the last. Nobody tried to make something similar after that.

Why did they start to make them? Probably for the country defence. If a nuclear war started, the only fuel available in the country would be logs and in such a case they would extremely need steam vehicles. But they didn’t.

England still has about two dozens of steam vehicles which became a prototype for the Soviet ones. They are taken care of and polished to shine, participate in veteran meetings.

via mgsupgs


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16 Responses to “Soviet Steam Car Powered With Wood: The First And The Last”

  1. OldBikr says:

    I imagine that the use of pelleted wood and a small computer to control the boiler would add to the efficiency of the set up. With wood pellets the fuel could be stored outside the cab and conveyed to the boiler at need, thus reducing the front-end weight somewhat.

    Wood pellets could be made from ground up leaves and branches that cities already need to handle as waste anyway. Even paper and cardboard could be pelleted for use too.

    • CZenda says:

      Not sure about paper and cardboard these days. It contains too much chalk or whatever. If burnt in a stove, it leaves too much ashes.

  2. Tony Boney says:

    Very interesting; however it’s just another wasteful and inefficient product of the Soviet Union.

  3. D says:

    that’s awesome because I bet on a cold winter day that cabin will be nice and toasty hot.
    Reminds me of sleeping on the ol’ stove while at the farm.

  4. 1934NFA says:

    Great article,thanks.

  5. bobs says:

    wish some of these were still around to study.

  6. kyle says:

    Poorly written and research information. This technology is quite common and still used across the world from Norway to the United States. Research it online to see actual information. They use this technology for equipment also.

  7. Jim-Bob says:

    Well, I’m glad I am not the only one to wonder if this is possible. Then again, driving on wood is far from a dead technology. A man in the US south named Wayne Kieth has been perfecting gassification for use in IC engines for a number of years.

  8. Seb says:


    xood powered vehicules existed far before…

  9. komar says:

    here in central europe we have actualy a big fan community for cars and motorcyclist they drive every day.

  10. bentos says:

    This idea about a steam powered truck is very sound.This project ofcourse done in 1949-53 is outdated but the example is great.As gas and diesel get scarce and very expensive to buy or made,other types of fuel should be considered.If this project was pulled from the files and better equipment is applied,it could be the answer.Ofcourse it would take not only money,time,and manpower but surpport from the state(the people) and/or the gov’t.I’m sure it be much lighter but still would need to be cost-effective and reliable in our soceity.When we start getting desperate enough,this will come to light :)

  11. orthihin says:

    this is old car bt so strong then any car now a days.its normaly used in america.its made with strong wood.

  12. orthohin says:

    helpfull article.europe have a great community for car.thnks for shering

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