There is a team of gearheaded vloggers in that city, and they go by the YouTubing name Garage 54. They’re a lovely bunch of ingenious minds with wacky ideas – something we all think about doing, but come to our senses sooner rather than too late.
Not the Russians – they wouldn’t be proud citizens of the largest country in the world if they had anything but a “rules don’t apply” mindset. This is valid for anything, from space engineering to household appliance manufacturing. If it works, it’s good. And if it’s good, why change it?
Except they took that idea one wheel further. Bikes aren’t of much use in Novosibirsk – at least, not in the dead of winter. On the other hand, cars work just as fine in the snow as in fair weather. The YouTubers did it: they modified a car to run on rear half wheels.
Precisely half wheels – watch the video to see how they saw two wheels in half to obtain four half wheels. To keep the half tires mounted on the half wheels, the mechanical inventors/improvisers/innovators/ (insert word that starts with “i”) manufactured a… errrrr, frame?
The assembly was fitted to the rear axle of a Lada Sputnik – an edgy remnant of the defunct Soviet car industry. Of course, since each half-wheel requires its axis of rotation, a scaffolding was welded behind the rear axle.
The old saying, “if it’s stupid, but it works, it ain’t stupid” seems to have missed the Russian addendum. Sometimes, things don’t work, despite appearances. The Lada moves about on its engine power, but the ride is earthquake-measurable shaky.
The two parts are not semicircles, but arches with a length of slightly more than “pi times radius” (that’s the mathematical formula for the size of a half-circle). The extra bits allow the two sections of the wheel to overlap when making ground contact. This ensures a smooth load transition from one cutaway to the other.
Also, because the road is covered in snow – notorious for being a fierce deterrent of grip – the ride is even harder on the weird automobile. The chain synchronization isn’t flawless, either. The timing chains used to keep the half-wheels in sequence are repurposed from the distribution of another vehicle – and probably worn out.