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04/07/23: RIP Monster Trucks: The Atlas ATV Ukrainian Ogre Is Here To Eat Your Big-Tire Souls

If you think 37-inch off-road tires on a RAM TRX Mammoth are big (courtesy of Hennessey), you might want to consider resetting your standards to factory settings and installing the upgraded scale. There’s a new player in town, and this big boy doesn’t play games. Or, if you prefer to look at the bright side, join the dark side of fun. The Atlas ATV has come States-side and is ready to go anywhere.

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The Ukrainians are not among the most famous nation to take the lead position at social gatherings among carmaking society events. That’s mainly because the former Soviet country doesn’t have a tradition of building its own brands of automobiles.

But a couple of years ago, things changed—a lot. “Go big, or go home” is the mantra of winners, and a bunch of car enthusiasts from the Eastern European country picked up the gauntlet. After turning a few wrenches, they presented the world with their creation: Atlas All-Terrain Vehicle.

The name might be deceptive – we usually associate the ATV acronym with a half-breed between a sand buggy and an extreme dirt bike. Four beefy wheels, a handlebar, and best-of-luck staying in the seat – that’s the general recipe for ATV adventure.

Not for the Ukrainians. They built something a little different. Put a straight-edge body (that appears to be chiseled out of a standard container) on 65-inch monster tires and throw a 1.5-liter diesel engine inside. That’s it, job done; there’s the ATV from the “we-don’t-go-there” end of piston sophistication.

The Atlas ATV is the name of the megalodon on wheels, and the prehistoric aquatic monster reference is not arbitrary – the vehicle can drive on water, land, and anything in between. And yes, that’s drive: thanks to its gigantic tires that act like floats and paddlewheels simultaneously, the Atlas can advance – at a steady 5-mph pace / 8 kph – across any medium where boats typically venture.

Courtesy of the ATLAS_ATV_USA fan club, the first example to roll the United States of America under its ego-boosting wheels has made the trip to the other end of the Atlantic. (it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that it drove all the way from its home country to the home of the brave).

If you happened to have been away from Planet Piston in the past two years, here’s a crash course in Atlas ATV: top speed of 37 mph / 60 kph, seating for 12, four-wheel steering, air suspensions, no mirrors (cameras aid the driver in seeing what’s behind the dinosaur). The self-inflating tires are its most immediately visible feature.

The massive box atop the four rubber donuts is as simple as it comes: straight lines, sharp edges, and high ground clearance. Despite its intimidating tenure, the Atlas is as easy to drive as any regular passenger car. The machine weighs merely 2.2 tons and has a gross weight limit of 3.7 tons.

The engine and gearbox are sourced from a small Renault (Clio is the exact model if you’re interested), so the 4WD Atlas has to make do with 89 hp and 162 lb-ft (90 hp and 220 Nm). If a Cadillac is your definition of a wide car, then imagine the Atlas is 99.6 inches (253 cm) from side to side, 110.2 inches tall (280 cm), and 183 inches long (466 cm).

The base price is $159,000, and the air conditioning option is $5,500 (probably attempting burnouts on a lake is cool enough). Add the other options, and you’re looking at $175,000 and change for one Atlas ATV. One last note: fuel consumption is 1.1 gallons per hour (four liters), and service interval is due every 200 engine hours. 

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