A lot of our international friends often question why American cars are so big. Then they come here and realize how massive our country really is. Now, Russia is nearly twice the size of the United States. Combine that with the legendary ingenuity of its people and I think you see what I’m getting at—it only makes sense that something like the Uran, a one-off custom SUV with cartoonish dimensions and a 16-liter 120-degree V6 out of a tracked infantry fighting vehicle, should exist.
Russia is known for all sorts of home-brew cars and trucks, but this might be one of the most outlandish. It’s definitely the only one with a giant diesel engine from an instrument of war. Actually, scratch that. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there were others.
I’ll be upfront and say that there’s not a ton of solid information about the Uran, as you might expect for a project hatched in the wilds of 1990s Russia when the country was dealing with the collapse of the USSR. But this much we know: the Uran was the brainchild of designer Gennaday Hainov (also listed as Gennady Hainovym Yevgenyevich in a few places), who achieved a minor measure of automotive fame in the 1980s as the co-creator of a sleek concept car called the Laura. It was cobbled together out of parts of other domestic vehicles, but its aerodynamic design was leaps ahead of the moribund state-run auto industry and impressed Soviet officials.