The car show in front of the Avtozavod Palace of Culture on June 1, 2016 was dedicated to three memorable dates simultaneously – the 60th Anniversary of Volga GAZ-21, the 70th Anniversary of GAZ-20 Pobeda and the coming 85th Anniversary of the Gorky Automobile Plant. Participants, including over 60 Volgas and 7 Pobedas, arrived from all over the former Soviet Union. I’ve tried to limit the number of photos, concentrating on the most typical or rarest specimens. I’ve grouped them based on model and / or years of production.
1957-1958 model / 1st Series:
1959-1962 model / 2nd Series:
This 1959 GAZ-21I still bears severely faded original brown nitrocellulose paint.
The deer mascot, as installed on cars produced before 1962, except for taxicabs and some export versions. In the 1960s and 70s the State Technical Inspection often demanded the statuette being removed because of severe wounds it inflicted on a pedestrian in case of a road accident – with little effect, obviously. Much more real was the risk of it being stolen by “collectors”. Taxicabs had a much more modest teardrop-shaped hood ornament.
1962-1970 model / 3rd Series:
5.5 liter / 340 c.i. aluminum V8 with 4-bbl carb, a version of the Chayka engine.
GAZ-22 wagon by Konela, originally sold in Finland. Station wagons were arguably the most versatile and appealing cars in the first generation Volga line, but produced in relatively small numbers due to technological restrictions: a wagon’s body had to be welded in a separate welding jig, which had a severely limited output – no more than 8,000 bodies per year. Roughly half of this number were assembled as ambulances.
The tailgate makes for a nice table for a picnic.
An extremely rare GAZ-22B ambulance, only several original cars of this model are known to be still road worthy.
The Pobeda section of the show:
Factory Pobeda convertible was built in small numbers (circa 14,000 units) and is quite rare today.
These photos depict the process of restoration.
Floor shifter denotes a car built before 1950, when the column shifter was introduced.
As shown on this photo, this car is not a “real” convertible, but rather a regular sedan with a giant sunroof – the roof rails remain in place.
The soft top did not fold down, but rather had to be manually disassembled and put into trunk piece by piece. Which quite obviously did not add much to the joy of owning this car.
The ZIM, or GAZ-12, was essentially a stretched version of the Pobeda with a 90 hp 6-cylinder engine and suicide rear doors. Just like the Pobeda, this car utilized a unitized body with a separate front subframe – quite unusual for such a large vehicle.
With a wheelbase of 3200 mm / 126″, it is roughly comparable in size with the larger American full-size cars of its time, but has three rows of seats, like in a limousine. Styling is also very Americanesque, just as with most GAZ cars of that era.
The hood ornament glows bright red at night. I’ve seen this car cruising at night several times – in the light of days it loses the somewhat sinister look.
The ZIM had three stoplights, two lateral and one in the center – decades before that became mandatory.
There is no metal bar between the door glass and the vent wing. The front bench seat is fixed in place, its back doubles as the partition separating the driver from the rear passenger compartment.
An interesting juxtaposition of GAZ-21 Volga and the next model, GAZ-24 – both in Obkom Black.
This Volga from Estonia is far away from home…
…just as this one from Belarus.
And, for dessert – my own 1965 Volga GAZ-21R, finally up and happily running !
…not for very long, unfortunately – on the way home the Volga lost its muffler, much to the amusement of the eyewitnesses.
For the rest of the trip home it sounded like a race car, with a marginal increase in performance.