“Pchelka” (‘Bee’) little truck was designed and built in the late 1990s in the Tula State University (Russia) by the request of Tulamashzavod. It was supposed to be the successor to the scooter “Muravey” (‘Ant’) and had a modular design. The main module is a frame with independent rear suspension and power unit (11 hp diesel TMZ-450D, step-down gearbox and main gearbox along with the main gear from the Lada 2108 car).
The second module is the entire front end. It consisted of a closed two-seat cabin, independent front suspension and the steering rack from a Lada car with the original bevel gear. The windshield with wiper, instrument panel, steering column and headlights are taken from “Oka” citycar.
By replacing the second module, the project provides the possibility of obtaining different versions with different wheelbases (varying from 1.6 to 2 meters), different cabins (2 or 4-seater, cabover or bonneted, with a rigid or removable canvas top) and even different wheel configurations – by installing a different bottom panel, dashboard, motorcycle front suspension and steering wheel, the “Pchelka” truck could be turned from 4-wheeler to 3-wheeler.
Well, the last module is a cargo body. The prototype managed to try two flatbed bodies: a long and shortened cargo platform, which allows installing an additional bench for two people between it and the cab. To service the engine located in the rear overhang of the frame, the body could be removed or tilted to the side. This design would have made it easy to convert the truck into a micro dump truck. The payload of the “Pchelka” was half a ton.
Alas, when the project was ready, the machine-building factory could not keep profitable even the existing motorcycle production. But the “Pchelka” itself is still alive – it is stored in the hangar of Tula State University.