Russians Build A Walking Car And It's Creepier Than You Expect

Gif: Garage 54 (YouTube)

The Youtube channel Garage 54 is run by people whose thirst for outlandish automotive experimentation knows no bounds. The team’s latest video involves installing “legs” onto the rear of an old Lada sedan, and the results are both impressive and, for reasons that I can’t really put my finger on, disturbing. Just watch this Russian sedan “walk” down the street, creepily.

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Many folks believe that true technical innovation happens in research laboratories with the help of grant money and big-brained nerds with copious degrees, but Garage 54 proves time and again that real invention can happen in a garage with nothing more than a welder, some dudes, and a harebrained scheme. The group’s latest display of brilliance? Rigging up a Lada such that its rear wheels actuate “legs” that let the car walk down the road:

Much of the credit for this video belongs to another Russian YouTube Channel, Workroom Siberia. Its team of technicians used computer-aided design (which, among other things, involves applying constraints to certain parts of the contraption and inputting a torque where the wheel meets with the rig to see how it all moves) and a CNC machine to develop all the links that comprise the legs.

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Here’s a video from showing Workroom Siberia develop the setup:

As you can see, the design—which, in the case of the Lada, involved shoving big pipes through the car’s body and welding them in place to create a rigid frame on which to build the leg mechanisms, which are “cranked” by the wheels found outboard of a welded differential—isn’t perfect. The aft legs on each side, just before taking their steps forward, bend and cause the rear of the car to move backwards and squat. On top of that, the entire operation is just painfully slow. Plus, at the end of the video, the Lada actually snaps an axle shaft.

But despite its weaknesses, the makeshift legs do move the Lada forward, though there’s something about it that just seems creepy—maybe because I associate it with All Terrain Scout Transports or All Terrain Armored Transports from Star Wars. Or maybe with that strange mechanical spider from that Will Smith movie Wild Wild West. Or maybe it’s just as simple as my brain not being calibrated to see a car with legs, especially not ones as crude as these. Something about it just seems “off” in my head.

But it’s still awesome.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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DISCUSSION

smalleyxb122
smalleyxb122

Come on, David. You mean to tell me, as an engineer, you haven’t watched videos of Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest and thought about making one you could ride?

I don’t believe you.