Perestroika That Never Hits the Road


When “Perestroika” – a term coined by Mikhail Gorbachev, was a trend in one large country, another “Perestroika” which literary means “rebuilding” was conceived by the engineers of Minsk Auto Factory or MAZ, one of the largest Soviet truck manufacturers. This somehow unusual looking truck is “Perestroika” itself. You might have already noticed a gap between the truck’s cab and the headlights, that is because the truck was not one solid truck but rather a set of modules or blocks that could be conjoined. Let me try to explain what this Perestroika truck was about.


As far as I understood after reading the Russian materials connected with this vehicle, the idea behind Perestroika was to make a truck that had the engine and drive train separated from the cargo part and from the cab. Those parts could be connected like blocks to build the truck of a given load and power train capability on the spot. So one could combine, for example, a few “engine” modules to get a more powerful truck or  PGFMqmO53IE

to use smaller cargo and smaller engine modules for the smaller jobs.422310_original

What they also mention is the attempt to build a “transcontinental” truck that could cross the vast Soviet territory and be rebuilt easily to match the current location, load and needs.


So that’s why the term “Perestroika” was used as a model description.

422590_original Some of the photos are pretty widescreen.  Perestroika_05-1280x750


It has been reported that only two of the actual working vehicles were built and it never went into production.


A few years ago one of them was restored and put on display.1347439640_truck-auto.info_maz-2000_6A monument to the late Soviet era technical thought that was not implemented. A few years later a French company, Renault, had launched its “Magnum” truck. The Russian Wikipedia entry on Magnum states that the french truck shares some solutions that “were previously announced on MAZ Perestroika”.



4 thoughts on “Perestroika That Never Hits the Road”

  1. Awesome! If only they could use my wheel design and ideas for making these fit on railroad tracks……the main tractor could tow them to town(s) ….also fast military deployments of armor on these trucks/trains,……also civilian fast car transports.Of course, the Russians already tested this idea years ago with cables instead of rails…..good ideas need good implementation….

  2. Not only at MAZ were similar design, Moskvich Istra for example much of their time ahead…. No money, it is quite possible that the automotive industry of the USSR as in the 70s would have been quite popular abroad and would be best in class represented models.

    • I was surprised still to find some Soviet cars in Denmark (20011, 2110 and Niva). But the Danes say that they even had a joke about these cars: it does not matter that they break down very often – for the price of one western car you could buy two soviet cars…


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