The car selection in the former Soviet Union wasn’t exactly fantastic. You could choose from some Moskovitches or Volgas or Ladas or Zaporozets, but you’d have to wait for who knows how long to get one, and it’s not like you had a vast selection. But gearheads know no borders, they operate above political systems and ideologies, so there were always people who wanted something new or different or just more to their tastes. So, periodically, you’d hear about determined Soviet gearheads simply making the cars they couldn’t get, with whatever they could find. I think this Moscow-area mechanic, V.Kurunkov, was such a gearhead, because he built that astounding thing you see up there. And, from what I can tell, his goal was to incorporate as many weird-ass ideas as possible into one vehicle. I think he succeeded.
I’ve only seen that one picture of this thing online, and all the information I could get comes from that scrap of newspaper you see there. The thing seems to have been driven by that huge propeller at the rear, which I suspect came from some sort of small aircraft? What’s amazing is that this thing is, allegedly, amphibious, able to float on water, and can go on snow, as you may have had a hint about thanks to those deployable skis at the sides.
Propeller-driven ground vehicles are interesting; they greatly simplify the drivetrain, requiring no gearbox or any connection to the wheels at all, and for something like this, designed for land, snow, and water, it’s kind of ideal, as the propulsion is independent of whatever the connection of vehicle-to-surface is. The problem is that propellers aren’t terribly efficient ways to move stuff on the ground. I know, because I drove one once:
So I’m a little skeptical when Kurunkov says this thing will hit 75 mph on land. Also there’s the mulching people around you issue, which is, I think, nontrivial.
Still, I think this is incredible, and I love the creativity and determination it took to make this thing exist in the first place. I’d also love to know more about it, so on the off chance anyone out there has ever heard something else about the Kurunkov Tri-phibian, hit me up!