The Way These Russian Mechanics Built This Bentley 'Ultratank' Is Utterly Fascinating

Screenshot: AcadameG (YouTube)

The idea of a $150,000+ luxury car like the Bentley Continental GT being chopped up and turned into a tank tickles the most primal of our human fancies, which is why so many are watching this video of the luxury “Ultratank” bombing through dirt and over jumps. But more fascinating than that are the videos showing how the Russian mechanics actually built the contraption. It’s extremely impressive.

Let’s begin with the video that’s been making waves on the internet lately—the one that shows the host of YouTube channel AcademeG actually driving the tracked sports coupe, and even catching some air:

The film above does show a bit of wrenching—there’s some fender and bumper trimming, and one guy even crafts a lower front bumper out of steel tubing. But the video that truly had me glued to my screen is the one that shows what lies beneath that shiny black expensive body:

I don’t speak Russian, and I’m not exactly an expert in tank engineering, but here’s what I gathered: The team built a giant tracked platform out of steel tubing. For suspension, they mounted four bogie assemblies on each side, each with a single pivoting suspension arm that carries four wheels.

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Each of the bogie assemblies has a “trailing arm” (if you will) with a long coilover mounted to it. That coilover, which is bolted to the platform on the other end, is actually a shock from an Audi A6 mounted inside a Toyota Corolla/Celica shock body, which with a spring mount threaded onto it.

Here’s a close look at one of the bogies and at one of the custom coilovers:

The front and rear bogies on each side have bump stops to prevent them from rotating too far as the track tries pulling them up. The center two bogies don’t need those bump stops, presumably because the track is flat beneath them, and thus the track itself doesn’t impart a significant vertical load on them. All four wheel-carrying suspension arms appear to have yellow bump stops to limit travel as the vehicle traverses bumps.

Screenshot: AcadameG (YouTube)

The rear of the platform has a drive sprocket on each side attached to a solid axle mounted in the center. That axle receives power from a low-range transfer case from a GAZ-66 military truck, which gets its input from some sort of transmission hooked up to a Toyota UZ V8 engine.

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As for the front, there’s a sliding idler wheel with horizontally-oriented coil springs and dampers—a setup that acts to help keep the track from slipping off. Of course, there is no traditional steering setup up there—instead, the team uses the nature of the open rear differential. By simply applying one rear brake, power is sent only to the other side, creating a “skid steer” design.

Screenshot: AcademeG (YouTube)
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After trimming the Bentley’s body to fit, the team dropped the car on top of this platform and bolted it into place using rubber mounts just like on a body-on-frame vehicle, according to the host.

It’s an incredible build, even if the track falls off every now and the brakes don’t quite work yet (other than one in the back when steering).

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio