The U.S. and U.K. are going through a truck driver shortage right now because driving a big rig is neither easy nor as well-paid as it should be, but I think the answer to that trucker shortage is somewhere close to Eastern Europe. A custom Lada shop in Russian Karelia built a big rig using a Lada Niva Legend as a base, and it’s obvious that this is what we need to solve the trucker shortage.
Really, how many people wouldn’t sign up to drive this thing and get paid, like, yesterday? Or, you know, we could just pay truckers better and improve their working conditions. Never mind that! Just look at this Legend:
I’m only half-kidding when I say that importing a fleet of these Ladas would convince a mess of people to give trucking a shot, or at least it might not require as much training as a full-on Commercial Driver’s License (CDL.) Maybe.
The Niva Legend tractor trailer concept was built by Petr Gruzdev and it’s the first of 30 similar builds, according to Lada Club. Gruzdev took a commercial Lada Niva Legend pickup, put a flat bed on it and added a fifth-wheel hitch. Then he tuned the four-cylinder engine to 1.8-liters, so that it makes 100 horsepower.
Gruzdev also beefed up the drivetrain by adding limited-slip differentials on both axles, and increased the wheelbase from 112 to 143 inches, per Lada Club. Gruzdev added air brakes to stop the whole thing, safely-ish. I guess it should be safe because it’s reportedly being certified for “small scale production.”
It’s almost a shame to cover up its rear fenders with the trailer, but this Lada has a job to do. The trailer that’s attached to the Legend is 36 feet long, and has a payload capacity of 1.5 tons, according to Autoforum.
Gruzdev has customized many different models from Lada, including a similar Niva Legend as an off-road camper with air suspension for ease-of-use. And a Lada Granta with a bed and built-in crane. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that between the Legend semi and the Granta, the U.S. could put a dent in that shipping backlog.