Unusual Soviet Cars

Unusual Soviet Cars

Russians love their cars and if they knew what potential Soviet engineers had, they’d love them even more!

This is a list of Soviet vehicles you’ll never see on the street. Let’s start with prototypes:

Unusual Soviet Cars

The GAZ-62, Russian response to Americans, 1952.

This vehicle with a six-cylinder 76 HP engine is the prototype of the American Dodge 3/4. Overal dimentions: mm 5000х2100х1800; wheelbase: 2850 mm; twelve-seater; maximum speed: 85 kmh.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The vehicle had several innovations, such as hermetic brake gears, a heated windscreen and a variable-rate spring which made the car more comfortable. The GAZ 62-A was a cargo modification of the vehicle with an enlarged body and an extra wheel fixed horizontally.

The GAZ-62 passed all necessary tests but was never put into mass production.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ZIS-E134 model #1.

In 1954, they set a task before Soviet engineers to create a new tetraaxial cross-country vehicle with a carrying capacity of 5-6 tons in the short term.

The ZIS-E134 model #1 was the first prototype car they made.

Unusual Soviet Cars

‘When its front wheels got over the obstacle, the ZIS-E134 model#1 tended to sway.

The vehicle proved its efficency and was comparable to a track-type tractor. Besides, it was faster and cheaper to service. So, both the customer and the designer decided that they wanted to see a vehicle with even better performace.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ZIS-134E model #2, unlike its predecessor, had a displacement hull, a water jet and no elastic suspension. The vehicle had the same transmission and engine as the ZIS-134 model #1.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The MAZ-505 (1962) is a prototype of an AWD truck which was to be used by the army. However, it was never put into mass production because, apparently, it was inferior to another novelty of that time, the GAZ-66.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ZIL-132R, a supertruck for agriculture.

Unusual Soviet Cars

It had a 165 hp engine; the clutch and transmission were situated beween the first and the second axes. The double-disk clutch had a hydraulic drive; the manual five-speed gearbox had a distance control. Its back and front wheels could turn. It had a clearance of 480-590 mm, a centralized tire pressure controlling system, ventilated disk brakes. This vehicle was not only comparable to the caterpillar tractor, but in some cases it surpassed it. At that time, it was the best and had no match.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ZIL-E167 (1963) is a snowmobile with a cross-country capacity. Maximum speed on the asphalt: 75 kmh; in the snow – 10 kmh.

It had two engines (118 hp each), which were located in the rear of the vehicle. Air inlets were situated on the sides of the body for better ventilation. The ZIL had 21.00-28 tires; their diameter was 1790 mm. The vehicle had unique fiberglass reinforced plastic discs with metal parts which were thrice as light as metal discs of the same size! Its clearance was 852 mm; the bottom was protected with metal sheets which also improved the vehicle’s sliding characteristics in the snow.

The driver’s cabin, as well as the passengers’ one, was also made of fiberglass reinforced plastic. The cabin was heated by independent heaters. The drum brakes were equipped with a hydro-pneumatic system.

They never put it into mass production because, due to the transmission complexity, it was inferior to the track-type tractor GT-1.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ZIL 49061 is a triaxial floating vehicle with a manual transmission, independent suspension, and two screw propellers. All its wheels turn; disk brakes are situated in the body of the vehicle.

It was put into mass production and some of them still serve in military space forces. In 2002, two ZILs were transported to Germany to evacuate citizens from flooded areas after a very strong flood.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ZIL-2906, a snow/swampmobile.

Unusual Soviet Cars

It was equipped with two rotary piston engines; its cabin was made of fiberglass reinforced plastic; the body and augers were aluminium.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ZIL-4904 (1972) is the largest snow/swampmobile in the world. However, it was rather slow: water speed: 10,1 kmh; swampspeed: 7,3 kmh; snow speed: 10,5 kmh.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Since its screws are made of nonferrous metal, the vehicle is unfit for asphalt roads.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The VAZ-E2121 ‘Crocodile’, 1971 had a part-time AWD and an open body. Just two prototypes were made.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Unusual Soviet Cars

AXLK-2150 is a small comfortable SUV, made in 1973. Just two prototypes (one with a hard top and one with a soft top) were made.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Unusual Soviet Cars

The VAZ-E2122 was made in Tolyatti in 1976.

It had a new design, mobility and medium size. Its hermetic body allowed the vehicle to float in the water with the help of its wheels at a speed of 4.5 kmh.

It had a 1.6-liter engine, full-time AWD, two gas tanks and a place for a stretcher.

Unusual Soviet Cars

First models had no side windows.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The VAZ-2E2122 is another version of the floating SUV.

Its designers tried to eliminate all the defects which its predecessor had: engine and transmission overheating, bad visibility, exhaust system defects, etc.

Unusual Soviet Cars

On the basis of the UAZ-452K, 1973, they made rescue vehicles for Georgian rescuers. Since 1989 till 1994, they’d been producing about 50 of them yearly.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ZIL-4102 was a limo which was to replace the ZIL-41041. It was also 500 kilograms lighter. Many parts of its body (bumpers, hood) are made of fiberglass reinforced plastic.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The NAMI-0284 (1987).

Unusual Soviet Cars

It was a concept vehicle which even had a cruise-control system!

Unusual Soviet Cars

The AZLK-2142 is a sedan made on the base of the AZLK-2141 which was introduced to the public in 1990.

Unusual Soviet Cars

They wanted to put it into mass production, but after the disintegration of the USSR, it never happened.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ‘Istra’ Project.

The only model of this auto is kept in a museum in Moscow.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The UAZ-3170 Simbir, 1980, a vehicle with an off-road capacity, was 1960 mm in hight, had a clearance of 325 mm, and a conventional spring suspension.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Unusual Soviet Cars

The 1990 Simbir.

Unusual Soviet Cars

NAMI-LuAz ‘Proto’.

It had a completely new transmission. The four seats that it had, could be easily transformed into a bed; a tent could be installed instead of the roof.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The LuAZ-3101 had a steel body and plastic panels; its suspension allowed it to change the clearance. Its engine was the МеМZ-245 from ‘Tavria’.

Unusual Soviet Cars

It had a full-time AWD and a locking interaxle differential. The roof and sides were removable which allowed them to turn the vehicle into a pickup. Soft top was also possible. For some reason, the car was not put into mass production.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The MAZ-2000 ‘Perestroika’, 1988.

It was a prototype of a linehaul truck which engine, gear box, driving axle and steering were situated in the front of the vehicle.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Unusual Soviet Cars

It was the first vehicle designed specially for haulers in the Soviet Union.

There were more interesting prototypes many of which remained only on paper. Why? Because the Soviet system was not perfect, killing genius projects and revolutionary ideas which appeard in the country.

Unusual Soviet Cars

So, now check out some photos of home-made vehicles, people made at that time. This beauty’s name is ‘Pangolina’. It was designed and built by Aleksandr Kulygin, an experiences and talented constructor.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Most of its body is made of fiberglass reinforced plastic.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Some say that Aleksandr’s inspirer was Lamborghini Countach and it’s hard to disagree with.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ‘Jeep’, 1981, is a rear-steer off-road vehicle which parts have been borrowed from other autos (VAZ-2101, GAZ-21, UAZ-469).

Unusual Soviet Cars

It received many awards and always attracted attention of the viewers.

Unusual Soviet Cars

An off-road vehicle made by V. Bezrukov, 1984-1987.

This auto also consists of parts of other cars, but the body, frame and other mechanisms have been designed by Bezrukov himself.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ‘Laura’.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Two masters from Leningrad wanted their own cars so badly, that they decided to build them by themselves. So, they succeeded! The ‘Laura’ was able to run as fast as 170 kmh, and had a unique contol panel with an on-board computer! After the tandem broke up, one of the two cars was sold to a museum and the other was disassembled for the ‘Laura 2’.

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ‘Yuna’, a Soviet sports car.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Unusual Soviet Cars

The ‘Katran’.

This car took part in numerous races and home-made vehicle exhibitions. Before assembling this car, its designer made its prototype on a scale of one to ten, trying to make it perfect.

Unusual Soviet Cars

Unusual Soviet Cars

It had no doors so to get into the car, the driver had to throw back the roof. The auto also had an independent suspension, which its passengers liked most of all.

The back power window glass could be rolled down, thus ventilating the car. It had two 35-liter gas tanks made of washing machine tanks. They were situated between the canin and the engine. Rear-view mirrors could be pushed under the front wings.

Unusual Soviet Cars

What is the conclusion of what has been said? Russians do know how to make good cars!

Unusual Soviet Cars

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11 thoughts on “Unusual Soviet Cars”

  1. I want one of those GAZ 62’s. definitely similar to the U.S. M-37 Dodge 3/4 ton, but with the combat wheels from the WW-2 Dodges. Looks pretty cool!

  2. I like the fact that the “concept car” of 1987 “even had cruise control”. My 1969 Buick Riviera has cruise control. Looking at the internet it states that the first car with “modern” cruise control was the 1958 Chrysler Imperial, so, it only took 30 years to catch up.

  3. I remember reading about the “Katran” in a “Sputnik” magazine. The article said the vehicle had an elaborate (and home-made) cruise control that kept the speed constant even on downhills!

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