This is a SHERP, a tough little off road box on wheels that’s built to go where you really shouldn’t.

The SHERP can climb metre high obstacles and scale 35 degrees. A relatively light body and those giant tyres combine to create a low pressure footprint enabling it to traverse rocks, fallen trees, deep snow, mud and sand, and climb in and out of swamps rivers and lakes. Yes, the SHERP floats, and propels itself through water ( max 3.5mph ) with its1600x600x25 tubeless tyres that double up as buoyancy aids and paddles.

SHERP international is based in the Ukraine. They spent more than a decade perfecting their machine to take on the world’s most difficult terrain. You can sum up the ethos of the SHERP as make it simple. make it strong. make it work, and make it last. Everything is for purpose rather than posing but take it anywhere other than the wilderness and you will be drawing crowds.

Music mogul, Kanye is a SHERP disciple, owning a fleet of them, although they may get thinned out after his bust up with Kim. SHERPs feature in music videos, and the Gamers amongst you might recognise it as the Rune Zahaba from Grand Theft Auto. Away from celebrity land a Russian team have achieved four world records with them, crossing from North West to North East Russia (Archangel to Anadyr) a journey of 10,000km all of it off road, above the Arctic Circle.

The body of the SHERP is aluminium with a galvanised steel frame keeping weight down to 1300KG. In basic model layout it can carry six people or a payload of 1000KG. It’s 11 feet long eight feet wide and eight feet high. It’s powered by a 44hp Kubota 3 cylinder chain driven diesel engine that is renowned for its simplicity and fuel frugality. Transmission is a five speed manual. Fuel capacity is measured in days, ‘average’ use sees it burn 3 litres of fuel an hour. Range can be extended by clever, extra tanks mounted in the wheels, giving you over a hundred hours of driving before you need to fill it up. In the UK it’s strictly for off road use only-with a max speed of 25mph, its probably for the best, but off road status means Red diesel, so you won’t be crying topping off the tanks.

Built with the worst of Russian weather in mind, the SHERP features an autonomous heating system in addition to that provided by the engine which also has its own pre heater for extreme cold environments. There’s a thermal lining available for the interior too. All four tyres can be deflated or inflated at the same time from inside the cab using a valve to redirect exhaust gases. You can run the SHERP on flat tyres, indeed it’s been said you can still drive it with one wheel missing on both sides (take that! Citroen DS). The mid mounted engine is accessible via removable panels in the floor, which means when you are in the middle of nowhere and it’s blowing a Siberian gale outside, you don’t have to be. Entry and exit is via a front and rear hatch with another on the roof.The dashboard is a couple of analogue gauges and a row of chunky rocker switches. Steering is by twin levers similar but not identical in operation to a Skid Steer. Enabling a pair of wheels on one side of the SHERP to brake independently of the other, offering great agility, and the promise of off road “Donut’ hoonery

I‘ve described the original SHERP here. You can bag a used original model around the £60,000 mark, if you can find one. Due to its success the model range has been extended and refreshed with larger vehicles and four cylinder diesel engines joining the line up. Now there is a SHERP N, the PRO, and SHERP the ARK, a £290.000 machine that is a 10×10, courtesy of being coupled with a 6×6 articulated swimming trailer unit that can carry loads, be a medical facility, or a passenger cabin capable of carrying 20 people over land and water just like its smaller siblings.

In the UK, there are currently just three SHERPs, one from each of the model range, making them a rare sight. “oop North’ there is a liveried rescue vehicle. Another in East Anglia is available to the Cambridgeshire Lowland Search and Rescue The whereabouts of the third is undisclosed. If you own it please drop us a line, I’d love to see one in the flesh. Whats it like to live with? For a better idea check out YouTuber, Rich Rebuilds, he’s busy tweaking his personal SHERP for extra power. Good lad.

Image Credits:

Rich Rebuilds ( Youtube)

SHERP North America

Sherp International

About The Author

Steve Swanson

Steve turns any opportunity to write about cars into a roadtrip. It's seen him ride shotgun in a Bentley Blower with Clive Cussler, and cross paths with automotive YouTubers in Canada and the US. His work has been published in Magneto, Classic Cars, Classic American and some magazines that no MotorPunk reader has ever heard of. When he's not writing or driving you can find him kicking tyres at seedy auctions and hawking junk optimistically described as Automobilia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.