Cold War Classic: Some (Crappy) Photos Of A GAZ-24-34 V8-Powered Volga

These photos were taken by me in the fall of 2007, and only recently found in some backup on an old removable hard drive. Very low quality, sorry about that, but they show some very interesting details of a rare factory V8-powered Volga – many details which were often removed later because they were of no use to the “civilian” owners.

There is not very much info about these cars on the Internet, so I suppose even such photos would be of some interest. To the best of my knowledge, 275 cars of this model were built between 1987 and 1993. Very few survived, and none is completely original because a lot of cool “special purpose” equipment was ripped out before they were sold into private hands.

Oh, I’ve warned you, the photos are really crappy… But I just have to show these two. As you can see, outwardly this is just you regular GAZ-24-10 Volga. Appearances are often deceiving…

The two guys on the right, if you are interested are the owner of the car and my Dad, barely visible (Hi, Dad!).

Now on to the more interesting parts. This photo is a bit out of focus – again, sorry about that. At least you can clearly see that it is a V8… and some details of the layout under the hood. That bulbous thing behind the radiator is the oil cleaning centrifuge. These engines did not have oil filters, because who needs an oil filter anyway?

Yeah, I know, should’ve taken some photos of the serial number data plate. I didn’t…I’m not even sure if it existed at all (the place where it should be seems to be empty). I don’t even remember the year of manufacture. Shame on me…

Some details are visible here. This V8 engine is a late one (can’t remember the exact model… must’ve been ZMZ-503, though). Closed crankcase ventilation, cast aluminum valve covers, etc.

The “civilian” ignition coil on the valve cover is obviously a later add-on.

More interesting details. Look at the distributor. It seems that this car still had some remnants of the original ignition system that was shielded against Electromagnetic Pulse. A common thing for Soviet military vehicles (nuclear warfare and all…). When new, it looked somewhat like this (maybe not exactly like this, though, as this is a UAZ version):

The ignition wires were attached via a screw-on plug connector – you can see its female counterpart on this photo.

That roundish silvery thing on the left – I wasn’t completely sure what it was, but it definitely looks like some piece of military equipment. Some Googling revealed that this is a military FR-series Radio Frequency Interference Filter. Cool. I guess resistor spark plug caps just weren’t enough to prevent the ignition system from interfering with radio transmission.

GAZ-13 Chayka 4-barrel carburetor, K-114 model. Nothing special about it other than the prodigious amount of grit and dirt.

Now, to the interior. Once again, abysmally poor photo. But anyway, there is nothing special about it – just a normal 24-10 Volga interior…

But wait! Why is this shifter bent at such an awkward angle (the normal Volga manual transmission shifter is absolutely straight)?

That’s right – this car has a 3-speed automatic transmission. Shift pattern is R-N-D-L (I’m almost sure there was no Park, which is typical for these old GAZ transmissions). Simple enough so you don’t need marked positions, just pull it back one click and go. In D the car starts in second, so you have to shift into L to engage first gear.

These two pedals look pretty normal… Unless you know that both are brake pedals… no clutch pedal in an automatic transmission car, obviously. Just look how badly worn they are. This car must’ve been through a lot.

More interesting details. This is some kind of an inventory number. Remember, these cars were all originally assigned to some vehicle fleets. There are several of these all over the car.

There are several pedestals for some kind of special equipment in the trunk. The common explanation (a better word might be “legend”) is that the pedestal on the second photo is for a concrete block, used to provide some additional traction in winter. Doesn’t seem to be the case, though…

Another explanation (much more realistic) is that it is a pedestal for a mobile radio telephone. Not a modern cell phone, mind you – a big, chunky 1970’s style car phone with an external transceiver in the trunk. The handset, the control head and the loudspeaker would be located between the front seats. Something like this.

According to the owner, the pedestal on the right (not visible) was for a secondary battery.

I really should’ve bought this car when I had the chance.  But at least I have the pictures to share here.