Monsters of the Epoch – Forced Invention

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For intra-factory needs it’s not always convenient and profitable to use ordinary equipment (tractors, pushers, loaders etc.) due to many vital reasons – either transportation of heavy details and aggregates from shop to shop or banal tightness of money for specialized machinery), besides, as a rule, there are a lot of unutilized materials such as spare parts or simply written-off equipment that hasn’t been cut to metal junk yet. Necessity is the mother of invention and it’s not a secret – Russians are fertile with brilliant ideas – that’s how so-called “stumps”, “crocodiles”, “bigheads” etc. are born into this world with the only purpose – to make human life more convenient and people’s labour easier.

The recipe how to make these cute monsters is rather simple. But nevertheless it’s a wide field for positive creativity, creators may show what they can, express their good sense of humor, to be serious and to be mocking at the same time. Usually the monsters are made of a stub frame and additionally mounted “devices” such as winches or cranes. Though, there can be exceptions. Russians are rather keen-witted (no sarcasm!) and detailed specifications of the monsters are probably known only by their creators. Generally these vehicles are strictly forbidden to leave the territory of a factory. So they have to live their life staying inside with no chance to show out.
People even put up monuments to some of them. And they do deserve it! For instance, “ZIL” factory has put their “bobik” on the pedestal. It can be seen from the window of a subway car on the half-way from Avtozavodskaya station toward Kolomenskaya station in Moscow. By the way – “ZIL”’s “bobiks” are the most widespread models, but, unfortunately, their number has crucially decreased. There used to be too many of them and now two types at most are left including that monument.

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The most striking model is the “crawler-bobik”, the cutest one is “cheburashka” the handsome – a written-off limousine – chassis mounted ZIL. Nearly each monster vehicle has its history, its legend, they are really alive and they seem to keep lots of secrets. Aren’t they the most portraying symbols of the whole epoch? Isn’t that a bereavement to lose them? Won’t that be the most entertaining exhibition if there would be a chance to put them all together in one place exposing the reality, so shameful, so amazing, so weird, so touching? Our reality.

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11 thoughts on “Monsters of the Epoch – Forced Invention”

  1. interesting. They use things like that in the U.S. too. Especially when the factory floor or yard does not have space for a large tractor or truck.

  2. I live in The state of Maine in the US. We have an old saying here “use it, wear it out, repair it, then save the parts for something else.” looking at those “cute monsters” is like the skidders we use here. no two alike but they get the job done. So ugly they are Beautiful. Thanks for the great site and sharing what we would miss otherwise.

  3. They used to make these in Sweden too for agricultural purposes, they were registered as EPA-traktor or A-traktor for road use too at 30km/h. Nowadays they exist as vehicles for the younger swedes since they are allowed to drive a tractor at 16 years age but they of course pimp them up to look good. Popular a-traktors are Volvo PV and Volvo 142/244. A couple of examples of modern(ish) a-traktors: Volvo PV and Volvo 960


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