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.

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/, Samuli Ikäheimo/Flickr