Three liters of gas oil per one hundred kilometers. This is what a small tractor of Ivan Melnyk needs to cover the distance. He made it by himself. An engine and gearing system from a walk-behind tractor, a body and a chassis from a ZAZ Zaporozhets car – this is how a wizard-car looks like.
Ivan Melnyk lives in the village of Ivankivtsi, in the Chernivtsy region. There are chickens, geese, a dog Cheburek running in his yard. Pigs are oinking behind the net. Five children are standing under a tent and wondering who came to their house.
A hand-made car stands in the middle of the yard. A bright-green body catches people’s attention from the road. It is impossible not to notice the car – on the road, at the parking or in a field.
Ivan is proud of the car. You can tell it by his eyes. But he is not very talkative; he is not comfortable to speak much. He doesn’t want to show off.
“Actually, I don’t remember how much time it took me to make this car. I guess, a month. Years have passed. I made this car ten years ago,” Ivan says.
He tells that he put a body on a tractor so the rain didn’t drop on his head, the wind didn’t blow in, and the sun didn’t heat when he went to a shop or field. The idea to make a car appeared because of the need. The man needed a cheap machine, but along with that enduring and easy to use one.
Ivan uses his tractor to carry vegetables and fruit, bring products from a shop. The family is big; he can’t go for a shopping with just a small bag. He has to buy products wholesale, not at retail. He also helps people in the village during harvest.
By the way, Ivan and his wife work in Chernivtsy. They cover 30 km each day by the tractor. They park it near a supermarket on the outskirts and criss-cross the town to their factory by a bus. In the evening, they come back the same way. Though the tractor can’t reach the speed of a bus, for the couple, this variant is cheaper than public transport.
“Of course, we would like to have a more spacious car. Kind of a minibus, so all the children and parents could sit and go wherever we need. But we have no money for that. So we have what we have,” Ivan Melnyk adds.
Ivan is known as a good master in his village. People bring him power saws, weed-whackers, tractors, different appliances, and he repairs them.
“Even tractor men ask Ivan for an advice. They ask him to look at a tractor if something is wrong with it. And he solves a problem,” Halyna says.
Ivan Melnyk is a person who created something new and unique, and what is more important, useful and economical. He made it not because of the dream, childish illusions, but because of the need. But the man used circumstances to improve his life. He doesn’t give up because he just doesn’t have time for it. He lives his every day and is optimistic about his future.
Text and photo by Maxym Kozmenko