Back in the 1950s, airports had to find more powerful tractors to tow larger airliners around. The Soviet Union came up with a car for that purpose, a truly remarkable car called the MAZ-541. It was 25.6 feet long and 11.2 feet wide, and was powered by a diesel V12 tank engine. The look of a sedan may have been ramped up to impress international travelers.
The familiar three-box sedan body style of the 541 was likely more a matter of form following function, as it meant the vehicle could attach a tow line much closer to the aircraft than the large tractors it replaced, which helped maneuverability. The sedan body style was also so the second driver could operate the car in reverse. This way, they didn’t have to worry about turning it around. That’s right, there were two drivers, or at least two driving positions.
But, as mentioned in this article on the MAZ-541 featured on Russian Power, the amount of styling that went into the sedan is surprising considering its utilitarian roots and industrial manufacturer. There’s clearly some effort put into the flared body, chrome features and stylish grille.
There were only three such cars put into use. Read more about the MAZ-541, and see more pictures, at Jalopnik.