What Has Eight Wheels, Two Engines, No Doors & Can Float?

The story behind the odd but innovative 8-wheeled automobile photographed parked and neglected on a quiet Russian backstreet can finally be told, and to no-one's surprise it's as weird and bizarre as the car itself.

“In the vastness of Russia found this unknown terrain type,” commented Russian website It Is Interesting, who posted these images in September of 2013. “Why is it needed, and who fashioned - a mystery.” Not so fast, my post-Soviet friends!

Both English Russia and French site Le Blog Auto ran the five-photo set several years earlier, in August of 2009, but victory goes to the Napoleonic netizens for digging deeper and finding what lies beneath the weird vehicle's flaking swamp-green paint.

It would seem this “unique” auto isn't as one-off as one might assume – in fact, TWO were made as part of a joint venture between the USSR and East Germany. Who would have guessed at the time – sometime in the early 1980s – that this odd octopoid auto would outlive its two communist parents?

Speaking of parents (mechanically speaking), the car was built over a Trabant chassis. In most cases, such ancestry would doom any motorized conveyance from the get-go. In this case, the motor wasn't the smelly 600cc two-stroke engine that provided later-model “Trabbies” with a meager 23 horsepower.

Instead, the brain trust behind the venture installed a pair of Ural motorcycle engines side-by-side. While we'll assume such a setup was noisy in the extreme, Le Blog Auto states the twin powerplants could put out a rousing 77hp! We'll also assume the total emitted smoke and smell was off the dial entirely. 

Those 77 ponies were applied to the rear pair of wheels only – Eastern Bloc engineering had its limits and an 8WD vehicle was beyond said limits to say the least. Some commenters have speculated the central quartet of tires was raised above street level to provide support in sandy, muddy or snowy conditions, which does make some sense.

It's also possible the extra wheels provided buoyancy when inflated – indeed, the vehicle was intended to be amphibious! This feature is backed up by the structure of the roof, designed to slide back to provide ingress and egress. Aha, so there IS a door, cleverly disguised as a roof! Never underestimate the commies, comrades.

In the event, the best-laid plans of the Warsaw Pact came to naught: only two cars were made and one – photos of which you've been gazing upon – spent several decades in a Russian museum. We'll bet GM, Ford, VW etc all heaved enormous sighs of relief.

The final chapter of our story is somewhat sad and in the end, somewhat mysterious as well. With the collapse of the USSR, funding for museums and other “non-essential” state-supported enterprises dried up faster than you can say “ash heap of history”. Our forlorn ATV-wannabe was evicted from its digs in the museum and consigned to the street below. That was in 2007... and excepting for these images it hasn't been seen since.

May 27, 2014
by Anonymous



Jul 15, 2014
by Josef Ryan

Really it is an amazing

Really it is an amazing car.  I have seen different catgories of cars but this one is totally new for me which has eight wheels , two engines and it can also float. Floating cars can be helpful from varieties of reasons. We can avoid trfafic congestions by using it . Its an unique innovation consisting of different features.  You have mentioned the amphibious feature of this car , Yes I will agree and I will say it could help us by several means.     Mercedes Repair Carpenteria

Jul 19, 2014
by Stella66

This car is the latest

This car is the latest invention of Russia. The car is capable to float in river, sea or any water area. The car in invented for the army of Russian after a long experiment on those issues. No. of specialists have contributed their time on this car. The car has special features to float on water, run on road, and go any mountain area without any problem. There are two powerful engines which control the car & the 8 wheels empower the car to move anywhere. So many techniques are used to make this car & the main objective is to use this car in war time. During war time this car will be very useful to Russian army.

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Jul 24, 2014
by ArthurPearl

 After watching this no one

 After watching this no one can deny that science and modern inventions have indeed been a blessing for mankind. Throughout time there have been lots of inventions, some made work easy for Man and some
reduced and saved the time of Man. Wants and choices of people are changing and based on that our technology is trying very innovative things to satisfy Man but we all know human wants are unlimited. So there is no end of our inventions or technology and I think this is the best example of our great innovations. Nice work guys.

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Aug 11, 2014
by KristineSmith

Really an amazing car. 

Really an amazing car.  These type of vehicles are the blessings from science for we people. science has so much developed that our mechanics could able to invent these types of amazing vehicles. This will help in research analysis . Though it can flow in water , we can utilise it for under water analysis or to watch over any unethical practices. But main thing is about the repair or service centers, If service centers are also available then it will be good for an user to prefer thes e cars.

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