How do you decide what is the best movie you’ve ever seen? It is probably impossible to really say which is the best movie. It really depends on what your mood is when you see it and afterwards. Sometimes you may be looking for an action movie, or you may be looking for something that is more soothing. No doubt if your significant other, wife, is with you that will definitely impact your choice of what movie you’re going to go see.
There are some highlights for sure over the last 50 or so years. When it comes to science fiction movies the king of the hill is definitely Star Wars for most people. When it comes to thrillers the list is endless. No doubt many of seen the movie Alien which was one of the better science fiction movies little scare of the you know what out of you. When going back in time nobody can dispute the masterful works of Alfred Hitchcock.
The cars that have been used in the movies have really influenced people throughout time. Take the James Bond movies for instance and the incredible cars that were shown starting back in the 60s. Moving forward to modern day with the Asian imports for the United States people’s tastes in cars have definitely changed. And let’s not forget the incredible luxury cars manufactured in Bavaria and Europe.
But what about all the different war movies that have been made over time? The Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union have produced a significant number of cars and trucks that have been shown in the movies. The following is a description of one of the manufacturing plants for those really big trucks which have been in many movies. Many of them came from this manufacturing facility.
Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) Trucks
One of the largest automobile plants in Eastern Europe, the Minsk Automobile Plant, or MAZ, is based in Minsk, Belarus. Its services are not only limited in Eastern Europe, however, but also to foreign customers. Beginning with the modest MAZ-200, essentially a Russian utility truck with a General Motors engine, MAZ has come a long way, creating a
multitude of vehicles. Being in existence for more than seven decades, it has been a large producer of heavy trucks, cranes and military vehicles, such as the MAZ-543.
The company was established in August of 1944 in Minsk, Belarus, and was set up and organized by the State Defense Committee. The newly-formed company began work in August of 1945, when it was ordered by the State Defense Committee to build heavy-duty vehicles ‘on reconstruction and improving of the automobile industry in the USSR (Maz.by).’ Subsequently, MAZ, as it was now known, produced its first truck, the MAZ-200. This was no more than a utility truck, which had used a General Motors engine. It was the Soviet Union’s first diesel truck, and by 1947 the first five MAZ-205s (the dump-truck version) were built. This number would drastically rise, and by 1952 over 10,000 trucks had been built from the plant. Production wounded up in 1965 with the arrival of the MAZ-500, as mentioned below.
After the success with the MAZ-200, which used a foreign engine, MAZ decided to embark on a replacement vehicle with a Soviet-built engine. This vehicle would be the MAZ-500, which would appear in 1955. This truck differed from the MAZ-200 by having a cab-over layout. This was implemented to help reduce fuel consumption, weight and increase the maximum payload capacity. The vehicle would not enter mass production for another 10 years, due to problems developing the engine. However, small-scale production of the MAZ-500 started in 1963. The MAZ-500 comes in different forms, including a tractor-trailer form, dump truck version and chassis-cab versions.
MAZ’s field of work did not only focus on the civilian market, however. In fact, it is safe to say that MAZ’s most recognizable trucks are its military units. Take, for example, the MAZ-535. This truck was designed in the 1950’s as an artillery truck, a truck made for pulling artillery pieces or, in the case of the MAZ-535, even IRBMs (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles). This truck had a large 8×8 chassis, and a cab that extended halfway down the length of the chassis. Shortly after the MAZ-535 entered production in 1958, MAZ created the uprated MAZ-537. This vehicle was nearly identical to the 535, but was capable of carrying 50 tons of cargo (later versions up to 65 tons), and was used as an artillery tug, but also had its share in civil roles, such as hauling fuel or other overweight loads. MAZ produced the type from 1959-1965, when production was eventually superseded by the Kurgan Wheel Tractor Plant (KZKT) in 1963 and continued into 1990, when all production was halted. The MAZ-537 is still in service with Russia to this day, proving the reliability of the colossal machine.
Another truly unique vehicle is the MAZ-543 / MAZ-7310, another 8×8 giant. This monster was designed as another artillery truck, and was first revealed in the Moscow Red Square parade on November 7, 1965. This vehicle has the unique characteristic in having two separate compartments in the front of the vehicle, one for the driver, and one for another crewmember or passenger (possibly driver). This vehicle, like the MAZ-537, is also used for civilian purposes, such as an airport fire truck. Another even larger vehicle is the massive MAZ-7917, with a 14×12 chassis, designed to carry a Topol 800 kiloton nuclear warhead. It is still in service with the Russian Army today.