eBay Classic: It’s Not a Packard–It’s a ’63 Chaika! $220,000!!

A previous post featured a GAZ 13 Chaika, but these photos I discovered on eBay show a much nicer example, with a lot of detailed, close-up shots.  So I thought it was worth documenting this car on Curbside while the eBay listing is still up.  This may be the only car of its kind in the U.S., and the “Buy It Now” price–that’s a lot of rubles!

Here’s how the seller describes what he has:

Gaz 13 ChaikaMade in USSR. Top Government Officials Car.

Gaz 13, produced from 1959 to 1981.

Only 3,179 examples built during the 22 years of production.

Not more than 150 left in the world.

This, exclusive luxury car 1963 year made.

Very few, if not only one car in US.

In 1996 it was restored in Molotov Garage (best restoration firm in Moscow).

Since, that time kept in garage in California.

Restoration completed 1000 miles ago.

Car runs and drives like new, ready for any parade, shows or touring rally,

beautiful car, must see AUTOMOBILE!!!

Good Luck and Thanks for Looking!

I first became aware of these when I was probably in junior high school and I had a copy of AUTO PARADE 1961, which had pictures and descriptions of cars all around the world made that year.

They were listed under the name “Avtoexport”, which seemed strange because I don’t think the Soviet Union was exporting that many “avtos” in 1961.

If this doesn’t stimulate interest in Russian cars, I don’t know what will!

Ч A й K A” across the front, means “seagull” in Russian.

From front to back I see ’56 Packard, ’55 Mercury, Checker . . .

. . . ’57 Pontiac or 58-59 Rambler Ambassador at the rear . . .

and ’57 Lincoln fins!

I also see Forward Look Mopar in the windshield design.  Whoever designed this Chaika was cribbing from everyone!

When I had my black ’58 Cadillac, I used to fill up at a Shell station run by Russian émigrés.  Seeing my car, they would excitedly cry out, “Chaika, Chaika!”  Also they would say, “Looks like John F. Kennedy’s car!”  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I was briefly dating a Russian girl from school, and I took her for a ride in my Cadillac.  She had an accent like Boris Badinov’s sidekick Natasha, and she exclaimed, “Thees eez lahk Roosian cahhrr!” [Unfortunately, she didn’t end it with “Dahhling!”]

Back to our Chaika . . . You’ve got to check out the inside.  Here we can really see the Packard similarity, right down to the silver “V” molding in the dashboard!

If that’s a real wood steering wheel, I would say that’s even more beautiful and luxurious than the American Packard!

Those are not typical AM/FM numbers on the radio band.  Maybe the Russians use different frequencies?  Or is it a short wave set?

Engine chromed and detailed to near perfection!  Here are some technical specs from the eBay listing:

Rear seat luxury suitable for the leader of a great superpower!

As a matter of fact, judging from these photos, it seems as if everything on this car is so well crafted!

I’ve seen a few Russian products made during the Soviet years, and I have to say I’m really impressed by their beauty and solidity.

A lot of things have that Fabergé jewelry-like quality . . .

Clock with timer in sparkling gold finish!

This sewing machine is like a work of art!

No, it’s not Sputnik, but a Russian vacuum cleaner!

Chaika vacuum.  This model to me resembles a streamlined train from the 1930s!

I have this Russian straightedge with rollers for drawing parallel lines.  What amazes me is how heavy it is!  I asked someone of Russian descent why these things are so heavy, and he replied, “That’s because we measure production in weight!”

So, were Soviet products and technology really so inferior, as many Westerners presume?  If I were an apologist for the Soviet system (which I am not), I would say that since the state-controlled industry produces ONE product of a certain kind, it aims to produce the BEST version of that product, without regard to cost-cutting, because there is no profit motive and no competition.

I believe this reads: “We slay lazy workers!”

And while I certainly have no first-hand knowledge, I would suspect that there was little tolerance in the USSR for the slacker, meatball, acceptance-of-mediocrity attitude in factories that is stereotypically associated with American workers and companies.

With all this industrial design talent, why did the Russian auto industry resort to aping out-of-date American car styling clichés instead of coming up with their own fashionable look, as with the other products I’ve shown?

And it looks like they’re still playing the same game!  This ZiL limousine proposal looks like a Chrysler 300 in the front, and a few other influences along the rest of the (heavy looking) car.

I actually think this car is quite spectacular!  Chrysler should start making it and call it Imperial!

Here’s another Russian stunner . . .

This is what Buick should be building.  Call it Limited or Riviera!

Good cars for video games!

As for this 1963 Chaika for sale, only a real decadent capitalist pig would be able to pony up $220,000 to Buy It Now.  Will it sell, comrade?  “The Free Market” will decide!

Also related:

CC 1976 GAZ 13 Chaika – Apparat Chic, Or A Short History of Long Soviet Cars  T87