And besides, such a task would be far too simple, and the car wouldn’t get anywhere fast. Any assembly that presents corners is atrociously inefficient, and the ride is as smooth as a volcanic eruption. But the inventive Siberians have a few tricks up their oily sleeves – and aren’t afraid to take inspiration from the infinite wisdom of the internet.
Their latest project is a cleverly concealed track system camouflaged to look like a square wheel that doesn’t turn but appears to be sliding on the ground. To create this device for their car of choice – a Lada (this time, it’s another one, not the regular test mule that is showcased in the majority of their videos) – the Russians essentially built a front axle setup from timing chains, rollers, and bars of plastic and rubber.
As contradictory as it sounds, the logic behind it is to create an assembly that keeps action secluded. A square frame houses the rollers on which the tracks move freely, and a cover conceals the crude mechanism’s internals.
The simple but effective track is built from a set of timing chains with steel pads welded on them. To reduce the noise from bare metal rubbing against the road, secondary ground pads (cut from a rubber conveyor belt) cover the metal links.
Another detail regarding this contraption is the absence of brakes – the tracks move freely on their rollers. Remember that the Lada is rear-wheel drive and rear-wheel brake, and the Russians have built square wheels for the front only (for now…).
The square shape of the tracks gives them a perfect zero-degree approach angle, meaning they can’t go over obstacles. As you can see in the video, even a tiny pebble is enough to bring the car to a dead stop. Granted, the driver was very cautious with the throttle, being the car’s first drive and all, but it won’t make much of a difference for larger obstacles – like a curb.
Second, a tensioner would be welcome to prevent the track links from wobbling – something that is evident even at the low-speed tests in the video. As for further enhancements and upgrades, the YouTubing community of gearheads suggests a four-square-wheel automobile.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see it happen – after all, Garage 54 is famous for the team’s “hold my vodka while I nail this” automotive antics. As remarkable as that might be, it does require quite a bit of engineering to make it happen. Transferring engine power to the quadrangle tracks using a drivetrain is a different, more complex endeavor.