Beginning with the Second World War when manufacturing had to be moved from Moscow to Ulyanovsk, through the collapse of the Soviet Union and into the present, Russian truck manufacturer UAZ (Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod) has managed to survive some of the most trying times in modern history. In fact, while the company has adapted through time, the actual trucks that UAZ still produces have changed relatively little in 60 years.
Despite the fact that modern UAZ trucks look like they are straight off of the set of some Cold War movie, and while many automakers worldwide struggle to make payroll, sales of UAZ vehicles have risen by 7% in the past year. No doubt the company is riding high on the Russian oil boom. Nevertheless, UAZ has built its reputation on providing extremely durable, inexpensive and easily repairable vehicles that are still used in certain areas of the Russian military. The use of UAZ vehicles by the Russian armed forces is only a partial reason for the truck’s simple design. While in modern Russia, those with money have their pick of any of the finest automobiles in the world, those of more modest means, and particularly farmers and laborers, prefer vehicles that they can fix themselves rather than rely on professional mechanics. The result is that even UAZ vehicles of a slightly more refined quality, such as the “Hunter” model pictured in this post, remain largely unchanged from previous models. Hunters come with the option of 3 engine choices, none of them extremely powerful in terms of horsepower. The two gasoline engines, produce 84 and 128 horsepower, while the diesel produces 86 horses. The list of creature comforts is short, almost amusing, especially as described in official press releases. With the Hunter you get upholstered seats that slide forward and backwards to accomodate “tall and middle height drivers.” The back seats fold down, the interior includes carpeting and the doors have weathering stripping. All of which helps the Hunter to be downright “cosy.” Their word, not mine. But really, what would you expect of a vehicle that has been given the nickname by Russians as “the goat?”