Russia's Crazy Screw Drive Vehicle

What has no wheels, can go through almost any terrain and is the last vehicle on earth we would want to be run over with? This 1970s era Screw Propelled ZIL-4904, currently rotting in a Russian specialty junkyard.

Regular Jalopnik weekend readers might remember the very cool and very weird Russian screw drive vehicle we showed you at Christmas (if not, the video is below). This screw propelled ZIL 4904 is the original ZIL's big brother. Found in a Russian specialty junkyard whose specialty appear to be weird Russian military prototypes, this 4904 was designed in 1972 and is bigger than the first model we saw.

Although the model numbers would suggest otherwise, this ZIL 4904 appears to be an evolution in screw drive technology. According to EnglishRussia, where we found these pictures, the ZIL 4904 was the biggest screw-propelled vehicle in the world with a useful load weight of 2.5 tons. Amazingly, a useful application was not found and only a few of the screw drive vehicles were produced. Perhaps this is why there is almost no information or additional video footage to be found on these vehicles.

When we first saw the Russian Screw drive vehicle in action we thought it was pretty cool. Knowing where one of these screw drive vehicles actually ended up is even cooler. The fact that the Russians couldn't find a useful application for these weird vehicles merely suggests to us they were not using their imagination. Leaving a vehicle that looks like this much fun to rot for several decades is a crime.

Looking at this ZIL 4904, I can only wish they made a lot of them and somehow they ended up in America. Even if the few ever made are in junkyards several continents away, I want one badly. Sure, I wouldn't have anywhere to keep a huge screw driven military vehicle, but the thought of going out for some screw driven hoonage, like earlier ZIL in the below video footage, would almost make the thought of snow in April bearable.