Лосёнок (Calf) – a Soviet Home-made Minivan

Museums are slowly reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. A report on the Time Machine Museum in Ukraine featured a photo, which prompted us to look further.

The Лосёнок today (Source: nashemisto.dp.ua)

We are busy updating our sister site http://automuseums.info That’s how we stumbled into this report on the Time Machine Museum.

There were hundreds, possibly thousands of Soviet self-made cars. Much like their Western counterparts, car fans behind the Iron Curtain used ingenuity and parts which were readily available in order to build their dream car.

Ivan Luk’yanovich Los’ was one of these people. He was born in what is known as Ukraine today. From his childhood he loved cars and attended classes at the famed Kharkiv National Automobile and Highway University in the early 1950s. He later worked at the Yuzhnoye Design Office, where he designed rockets and satellites.

As they did not have enough money to buy a car, Los built his own cars using engines, gearboxes and suspension parts from other vehicles.

Losenko-1 was powered by a motorcycle engine
Losenko-2 featured a strange shape
Losenko-3 with its builder

The most famous car was the Losenko-4, built in the early 1980s. There were hardly any self-made minivans in the Soviet Union, so Los’ creation attracted plenty of attention

The Losenko-4 was powered by a Zaporozhets engine, placed at the back. Body was made from aluminium – Los was familiar with the material due to his everyday job. Even the wheel rims were custom made.

Los with his son, Alexander Ivanovich who went on to become a four-times Soviet motorsport champion
Getting behind the wheel was a complicated process

The Losenko-4 was extensively featured in the contemporary Soviet press. Los toured the country and received many prizes for his interesting vehicle.

In 1998 it was bought by a collector in Dnipro an today it is being shown at the Time Machine museum.

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