Now for something completely different: a handmade Russian beast – the URAN.
We’re all pretty used to the Americans having the biggest, angriest and perhaps silliest four-wheel drives. And then, of course, some crazy Russian goes and builds something next-level, like the URAN.
This monster has been completely handmade from the ground up and has taken on some rather amusing, almost cartoon-like dimensions to fit both the wheels and drive system, as well as what is arguably the world’s angriest diesel engine to ever grace a four-wheel drive.
Now, you need to understand, we don’t know too much about the URAN, aside from the fact it was built in the 1990s, just following the collapse of the USSR; Oh, and it’s apparently on air-suspension, so it will raise a nearly two feet over how it’s sitting now. With that collapse came a massive amount of military hardware, namely, in this case, the Russian BMP-1 Armored Personnel Carrier/Infantry Fighting Vehicle, just sort of laying around not really being used by anyone. These BMPs aren’t like a cute little Humvee, but more like a massive tracked tank, with a cannon on top, and room for about 12 fully equipped Russian troops inside. Why this is important is that if you’re going to build a fairly ridiculous four-wheel drive from scratch, you’re gonna want a fairly ridiculous donk to power it. Still not getting it? Have a look at the below photo of the engine, with the BMP behind it.
So now that you understand the size of the engine, and all 15.8-litres of V6 120-degree diesel awesomeness, you need to understand that it’ll put out 240kW at 2600rpm and a rather stupid 1358Nm of torque at 1600rpm (depending on where you find your information; the Russians weren’t so good at publishing things like power outputs on their military vehicles, strangely enough).
On to the vehicle itself and it is as luxurious as it is crazy. Full leather interior, however, you don’t get to see the rear compartment, only the front. Where this gets interesting is that one of the external photos shows a rear hatch that could be for a weapon emplacement (this was built by a crazy Russian after all) and, for some reason, my brain keeps going back to a Russian version of the van from the movie Stripes from the 80s. Luxury up front, party out the back? Mullets were all the rage back then…
Unfortunately not a great deal is known about this thing except that a lot of the photos show a thick layer of dust and what appears to be a warehouse it’s stored in, so chances are this gorgeous old beast is wasting away in the Urals somewhere, just waiting to be bought and transported to Australia to be the next Unsealed 4X4 work rig… right?