You may recall that just a couple of days ago, I was losing my mind-kittens over an airport plane-hauling tug that was surprisingly sleek. Well, that sent me down a rabbit hole of airplane-towing equipment, a hole that had hidden inside it one of my new favorite vehicles, the Talet-30. The Talet-30 was designed to pull things, I believe, mostly aircraft, but it seems like it could be a fantastic do-all-kinds-of-stuff vehicle, were you to liberate it from the airport. Also, it’s just deliriously cool.
First, just look at this thing: it has that rugged utilitarian yet futuristic sort of look that would make it absolutely at home in Blade Runner. It’s tricky to classify in our usual automotive language, because it’s sort of at the periphery of automobiles, more of an industrial tool designed to do some specific jobs.
Even so, it’s a fun thing to describe: a sort of a one-box design (very rounded, ovoid box), with an open back that’s sort of like a truck bed. It’s mid-engined, and has suicide doors, and when those doors are open, it appears that the seats have their own suspension system, much like on large-scale rough-terrain work trucks.
The thing feels sort of like a Renault Aventime’s hardworking cousin—strange at first, but makes more and more sense the more you think about it.
The Talet-30 is built by the Slovakian company Kerametal, whose website seems to be forbidden to me but is a player in the defense industries, selling a number of armored vehicles and other military hardware. I suppose the Talet-30 counts as military hardware, as it can be used to move around helicopters and jet fighters and that sort of thing.
The Talet-30 has a Lombardini 2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine making about 60 horsepower and likely a lot more torque, though I haven’t found exact numbers on that. It seems to have a (at least partially) hydraulic transmission that’s obviously geared for towing as opposed to speed: it can only go about 23 mph flat out, but it can tow 44,000 pounds.
It looks as though there’s some kind of little bed/storage area at the rear, and both front and rear are equipped with very beefy-looking tow hitches.
My dream, of course, would be to somehow get a used one of these and replace the transaxle with something more suited to normal road driving, sacrificing some of that towing ability. I can certainly get by with 60 HP, and I would use the shit out of a little brute like this as a general do-whatever work truck.
Look at the dash on this thing! I love the lazy arc of off-the-shelf warning lamps and that big row of rocker switches.
Could you off-road one of these? Probably, right? I think it’s just RWD, but there’s lots of ground clearance, minimal overhangs, and everything looks made to take abuse, even having that external roll bar thing around the wheel wells and sides. Plus, there’s that hydraulic towing/lifting thing at the front—I bet that could come in hand to lift you out of ditches or, you know, something.
I imagine actually getting a used one of these to fulfill my weird truck dreams is about as likely as meeting a woodchuck that thinks my screenplay idea is great and was roommates with Neil Blomkamp back when they both worked at a Schlotzsky’s Deli in New Haven.
But that’s okay. I just like knowing that clever vehicles like this exist. It’s also fun to just imagine what the process would be like to import something like this, even if you could find one. I suspect that it’d be way easier to yank the VIN off an old junkyard Beetle and just tell the DMV it’s a kit car on a VW pan.
Who’s gonna know? It’s a victimless crime.