This 1978 Tupolev N007 Gullwing Boat is one of more than 140 vehicles from the Ron Pratte Collection crossing the block at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction in January.

In 1961, the Russian military ordered the Tupolev Aircraft Company to design and build an amphibious craft small enough to be transported inside the Russian MK6 giant helicopter. It was to be used for the recovery of Russian cosmonauts downed in Siberia after completion of their space flights. The craft had to be capable of crossing lakes, swampy tundra and hostile terrain while also being capable of operating at temperatures well below freezing at speeds of above 100km/h.

Aleksei Tupolev (1888-1972) was a Russian aircraft designer and is considered the father of Soviet Aviation. His designs include the Tu-95 Bear, which is a famous Russian bomber, and the Tu-444, which is also known as the Russian Concord. He built Tupolev into one of the most successful aviation companies in the world employing more than 11,000 of Russia’s finest engineers.

In 1965, Tupolev first introduced his prototype we call the “N007″ at the “Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy of the USSR” in Moscow. His design won the “Diploma of Finest Engineer in the USSR.”

In 1999, “N007″ was acquired in dilapidated condition. A German metal craftsman restored the body by hand and the engine was overhauled in Bacau, Romania, by the original factory. Restorations of the propeller and the interior of the craft were also necessary. After completion in 2004, the craft was shown at boat shows all over the country and featured in many TV newscasts and written publications.

In 2005, “N007″ received the “Corinthian Award” at the “Keels and Wheels” Concours d’Elegance in Houston. In 2006, the craft not only received the “Corinthian Award” again, but also the “Award of Excellence” in a prestigious show called “Concours d’Elegance” in Greenwich, CT.

The exact number of these cosmonaut rescue crafts has always been kept a secret, but “N007″ is the only one known to exist in the country. Engine MP14B, Turbocharged 360hp and 350-liter fuel capacity for long range. Length is 6.11 meters and width 2.16 meters with a height of propeller at 2.20 meters. Its weight is 2,100kg and payload on water is 300kg.

This being one of the last models built, it was equipped with a leading edge differential for control system. It has a 500psi air pressure system to start the engine and operates without the need of batteries in extremely cold temperatures.

The 1978 Tupolev N007 Gullwing Boat (Lot #2019) will cross the auction block in Scottsdale on Tuesday, Jan. 13.

Ron Pratte’s prestigious collection of automobilia will kick off the 44th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction beginning Saturday, Jan. 10 at 9 a.m. and running through Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. Pratte’s vehicles first cross the block at 4 p.m. on Tuesday with lot numbers 2000 through 2109 and will continue with lot numbers 2500 through 2530 on Saturday, Jan. 17.