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Strap-on tank converts a car into a true all-terrain vehicle

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February 16, 2010

The strap-on tank means flat tires are a thing of the past

The strap-on tank means flat tires are a thing of the past

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If you thought replacing the wheels of a Subaru WRX STi with a Mattracks rubber track system was impressive, take a look at the strap-on tank that turns your old rust-bucket into a half tank, half car, true all-terrain vehicle.

Apparently the brainchild of a resourceful inventor from Chelyabinsk, Russia, Metelica is constructed from the leftover tread assemblies. As the videos show, the car is driven onto the treads, the wheels are removed and (although exactly how the conversion works remains a bit of a mystery to us) the driver is able to control both the speed and steering of the treads using the cars controls.

Check out the vids to see the strap-on tank in action. If you can enlighten us with further details, please drop us a line in the comments. We’re sure we’re not the only ones who’d love to learn more about this unit.

Via DVICE

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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6 Comments

Potentially a good idea, but poorly executed. And the Russian "inventor" wasn't the first to come up with it. An almost identical track conversion was produced in the UK back in the 'seventies. I recall seeing it on demonstration with a Ford P100 pick-up truck on the back. In that instance, though, the vehicle's wheels were retained and the tracks were driven via rollers which were rotated by the tyres. Any wheeled two-wheel-drive vehicle could be driven on and off the tracked platform without modification. If I recall, directional control was achieved by hydraulically operated steering brakes via a simple remote control, but I'm a bit sketchy on that aspect of it. There may well be a demand fo something cheap and cheerful like this in Russia, but I suspect considerably more development is required.

Similarly, you refer to the Subaru WRX STI with its Trax conversion. This isn't a new idea either. The concept was first developed by a Scottish engineer back in the 'sixties, if not earlier, when a Land Rover was fitted with four Cuthbertson track units so it could operate in boggy conditions. It was used initially by the Royal Air Force Bomb Disposal teams on the bombing ranges and, subsequently, other duties were found for it. The conversion was available for Land Rovers for years.

I guess there is rarely ever anything new in this world. :)

Grunt
17th February, 2010 @ 05:41 am PST

At to steering, I think they are using a split master cylinder system with braking of one tread at a time to steer. the front Hubs are on a connection to the master cylinders and "brake" the track to cause it to turn the way you wish to go. This is not a hard concept to put in use as the Cushman Trackster has used it for over 30 years as has most tracked units of any design or the alternate of shifting power from one track to the other.

Hope this helps you.

Facebook User
17th February, 2010 @ 07:02 am PST

This conversion system operates by mounting a car chassis to the track assembly and the power is delivered by apparently attatching the vehicles drivelline to the diferential that is built into the track assembly. the steering is accomplished by the two master cylinders that are attatched to what appears to be the front axles. when the wheel is turned it actuates the master cylinder porportionaly and brakes the corrisponding disc brake assembly at the rear of the track assembly slowing the track on that side and making the vehicle turn. Buldozers use this same method of control, though more complex. This track assembly is driven from the rear and would most likely only work with a rear wheel drive car without signifigant modification to the track assembly.

bmwkrider
17th February, 2010 @ 11:33 am PST

I' m surprised to hear the British came up with both the trax and the tank design for car especially back many years ago. I remember actually seeing a Hummer fitted with 4 trax treads a decade ago similar to the recently Subaru which promted I had to get a Hummer just for that... LOL...

Chris7527
17th February, 2010 @ 09:42 pm PST

From the videos, it surely looks like a good thing to own a tank in that -30C degrees weather!!!!

Chris7527
17th February, 2010 @ 09:45 pm PST

What red blooded Ruskii could say Niet?

Craig Jennings
18th February, 2010 @ 08:07 pm PST
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