ZIL–131: When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

It has neither corkscrews for wheels nor chubby wings to fly it above the Caspian. Still, the ZIL–131 is one badass Russian military truck.

ZIL–131: When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

The 131 is not a fancy truck by any means. It’s a basic 6×6 cargo unit with endless possible configurations, including a trailer for surface-to-air missiles. It is powered by a 6-liter gasoline V8, which—like every Russian military engine worth its salt—can run on pretty much anything that features carbon atoms bound to hydrogen atoms with a fancy for oxygen.


The beauty of the 131 lies in the laconic manner it handles obstructions. Aided by a ground clearance of over a foot and a maximum fording depth of 4'7", it takes to bad terrain like an SR–71 to an extra continent to cross.

Observe for yourself in this rare example of a video showcasing a military vehicle without power metal cranked to 11:

Just make sure you’ve got your logistics nailed down: all that off-roading comes at the price of a very Russian fuel economy in the range of 1–2 MPG.


Photo Credit: PzBrig15/Militaryphotos.net, Samuli Ikäheimo/Flickr