While Hans Glas switched to automobile production in 1955, his scooters lived on in the Soviet Union as the Tula Machine Plant introduced its copycat in 1956. The Tula 200 spawned many variants, including several commercial tricycles.
With the death of Stalin 1953 the incredibly military-oriented industries behind the Iron Curtain started changing direction. By 1956 this trend resulted in the development of two scooters in the Soviet Union, which were to be produced by two former military factories. Here we look at the Tula Machine-Building Plant named after V.M. Ryabikov. With some modifications the Tula 200 remained in production until 1987 with more than 2 million units produced.
In early 1957, the prototypes of a cargo version, called TG-200 were built with several parts, including a differential lifted from the SMZ motorized wheelchair. Initially, the cargo family included two modifications: TG-200K with an onboard platform with a carrying capacity of 200 kg and TG-200F with a van body. In 1962, the production of the TG-200I modification with an isothermal van for the transportation of perishable goods began.
In 1962, the Tula TG-200 was upgraded with new components, lifted from the modernized scooter, the T-200M – including new front suspension, simplified shock absorber. Engine power has increased to 9 hp, and the weight of the vehicle decreased slightly. The appearance of the scooter has changed due to the introduction of a new shape of the front wing and a loading platform with reduced height sides. In this form, the TG-200 model remained in production for 12 years. During this period 188,000 units were produced.
In 1968 the Tula plant introduced the (Ant), code named TGA-200 with an updated styling and mechanical bits, including a more powerful engine. Loading capacity has increased to 250 kg.
Over the years the TGA-200 saw many iterations even, including a batch with plastic cabin, dump truck (!) etc.
While the scooter was discontinued in 1987,the cargo version remained in production until the 1990s! with exports of CKD kits to Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. However the inevitable happened in 1996 when production was ultimately shelved.
In total, more than 1.5 million cargo scooters for various purposes were manufactured in Tula.
Tulamashzavod is still around. In 2020 they introduced a small electric truck, called the Ant again. There is no word on serial production.