Iceland is a land of contrasts. The fire and the ice, the midnight sun and the dark winters, the sulfurous hot baths and the frozen tundra… And one can add to this list: old American iron and Soviet tin-cans. By virtue of geography, Iceland was one country where Detroit’s fine products routinely shared the road (that one road around the country) with the USSR’s very own “Big Three” – GAZ, AvtoVAZ (a.k.a Lada) and AZLK, better known as Moskvich. Get a cup of tea from the samovar, comrades, it’s going to be a good one.
Before we start, GAZ, Lada and Moskvich weren’t the only Soviet carmakers – ZIL, ZAZ, UAZ and Izh were also making vehicles – but they were the largest and, unlike the others, they were exported to both COMECON and Western markets. GAZ (Gorky Automobile Factory) started off circa 1930 by making a licensed version of the Ford Model A in Gorky (present-day Nizhny-Novgorod); soon, a GAZ factory was operating in Moscow under the name KIM (literally, “Factory named after Communist Youth International”). By 1939, KIM became independent from GAZ. Taking inspiration from the Ford Prefect for its mechanicals and the Opel Olympia for its styling, a brand new small car, the KIM 10-50, was launched in 1940. But barely a few hundred were made before Germany invaded.
After 1945, the factory became MZMA (Moscow Small Car Factory) and the cars became Moskvich. The Red Army had brought back most of Opel’s Rüsselsheim factory as war reparations, so the 1938 Opel Kadett became the 1946 Moskvich 400 four-door sedan and cabriolet. As pre-war cars go, this was a pretty modern design, with independent front suspension, hydraulic brakes, a capable 1.1 litre engine and all-steel construction. It became the 401 in 1951, still sporting the pre-war Opel sidevalve engine; the mooted facelift shown above did not make it to production. These were the first Soviet cars to be exported to the West (Belgium and Norway) in the early ‘50s.
The follow-up model, logically named 402, came out in 1955. This time, it was a purely home-grown design, pretty comparable to the contemporary Fiat 1100 or Hillman Minx. The engine was upped to a 1.2 and the electrics switched to 12 volts. The drop-tops were ditched in favour of a wagon variant and exports were widened to more countries. There was also a 4×4 version. The basic design went through several detail and name changes, becoming the 407 and later the 403 (Peugeot must’ve had a fit). In Belgium and several other countries, it was known as Scaldia; the Belgian importer even made a special version with a Perkins Diesel engine, creating the cheapest Diesel-powered car on the market. Production lasted until about 1965.
Moskvich were more style-conscious than one would have thought, so the 402-403-407 was completely re-engineered with an OHV engine bored out to 1350cc as the 408 in 1961. Production only got going in 1964. This was to be the definitive RWD Moskvich body shell: the Brezhnev years were synonymous with stagnation, and this was visible in the USSR’s automobile production as much as anywhere else.
Still, the 408 was given a mild restyle in 1968, giving rise to the “new” Moskvich 412. One other feature had been updated: the engine was no longer an Opel descendant but a modern alloy-block 1.5 litre OHC with hemi heads delivering 80 hp (SAE). Moskvich had allegedly reverse-engineered the BMW Neue Klasse’s motor, but kept the leaf-sprung live rear axle and drum brakes of the 408 (which remained in production in parallel) – you can’t have everything.
The 412 also shaved off a few pounds compared to its predecessor, chiefly through the adoption of thinner-gauge steel and a wider use of plastics. This helped the car’s performance but didn’t do much for its durability. At least the 412 kept the impressively complete standard toolkit that was always the hallmark of Russian cars. A companion wagon model was also produced, the 427, that kept the 408’s quaint vertical light clusters.
Exports were still a priority, so cars slated for Western markets were usually better equipped than ones for domestic customers. Nearly all contemporary tests made by Western European automags emphasized how these were “a lot of car for your money”: terrific heater, all compartments with lighting, radio, rear defroster, ashtrays and cigar lighters galore – all these were standard issue in the Moskvich, at least in the West. But the same rags also berated the Moskvich’s crude controls, ageing styling and questionable build quality and finish.
The latter criticism was a particularly tough nut to crack. The Soviet planners themselves were keenly aware that MZMA’s output was of mediocre quality (even within the Soviet context), but struggled to fix the numerous issues they correctly identified. This did not prevent the cars from being produced, but it did end up causing problems for Moskvich’s image both at home and abroad.
Western importers usually had to spend a lot of time and money getting Soviet cars to showroom condition when they received them. Missing trim, broken instruments, misaligned panels and mechanical gremlins were routine, but what was borderline acceptable back in the USSR (placed it!) was not going to fly in Western countries. This was also the case for Polish or Romanian imports, but far less so for East German or Czechoslovakian ones.
Our CC is a 1974 model – one of the last 412s made in the Moscow factory. The official name and badge changed to АЗЛК (AZLK, or Leninist Komsomol (Communist Youth) Automobile Factory) in 1969, though nobody used this acronym, even in Russia. By this time, Moskviches looked pretty dated and became harder to sell in Western countries. Sure, there were plenty of 1974 Western cars that looked even older (VW Beetle, Simca 1000, Citroën 2CV, Saab 96, Mini, etc.), but these were usually smaller city cars, not family saloons. The 412 was about as cheap as some of these cars in some markets, but somehow this argument was less than compelling.
So how did this particular example of Soviet engineering prowess end up in Iceland? Well, it seems it was all about the fish. Britain and Iceland have had regular “Cod Wars” over the decades, or even centuries, due to British fishermen often wandering into the rich Icelandic waters to catch their prey. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, tensions periodically flared up between the two countries, especially in the mid-’70s. Britain did not hesitate in using its still relatively large Royal Navy to protect its fishing fleet and prevent Icelandic fishing boats from leaving shore. This disrupted commerce quite a bit.
But there was one fleet the Royal Navy tried not to mess with, and that was the Soviet one. The Russians used this quarrel between NATO countries to their advantage and bartered Icelandic fish in exchange for Russian wares, including trucks, vodka, wood and… cars. Cheap Russian cars were pretty ideally suited to Icelandic conditions anyway, with their good heaters, rugged mechanics, complete toolkits and high floors. The Fiat-derived RWD Ladas, which are still in production today (in Egypt), were quite popular for these reasons in Iceland until the late ‘90s, when virtually all other European countries had already quit importing them.
In 1975, the “new” Moskvich 2140 entered production, replacing the 408 and 412. No idea why they switched to four digits, but that also happened to Lada and other Soviet marques around that time. The 2140 did away with the 412’s cute rear fin turn signals and was soon developed into an export-market 1500SL model with blacked-out trim, rubber bumpers and plastic mirrors à la ’80s. But the chromed cars remained available for a long while yet for domestic customers. The RWD Moskvich gave up the ghost circa 1990, as production of the completely new FWD Aleko ramped up.
But the 412 actually survived the collapse of the Soviet Union, just not in Moscow but in the Urals. The military manufacturer IzhMash (or just Izh) in Izhevsk, makers of the AK-47 Kalashnikov and other hardware as well as the best motorcycles in the Soviet Union, set up their own car-making line in the mid-‘60s to help Moskvich reach their production quotas. The Izh 412 was a carbon copy of the AZLK model initially, but after a while Izh put out their own designs, such as the strange 2125 Combi (the first Soviet hatchback!), a pick-up and the 2715 van.
The quality of the finished product was said to surpass the original one (faint praise). The Izh 412 was in production until 1997 at least and the 2715 vans were made until 2001. The Izh 2126 Oda, launched in 1987, was essentially a new body on the 412 chassis and was produced until 2005, though the later models used Lada engines. Izh sold their car plant to Lada in 2010.
Moksvich as a marque did not survive for very long after the Russian financial crisis of 1998 – their exports had dwindled to a few former Soviet states by then, and their latest cars were, shall we say, rather misguided. The factory closed in 2002, though there have been recent mutterings that Renault, who had links with the Soviet firm back in the day, might re-launch the brand. But Moskvich is not Dacia and Russia isn’t Romania, so I’ll believe these rumours when I actually see something tangible. Moskvich spent its last 25 years in Lada’s shadow, at least as far as most export markets are concerned, and their reputation was never very good.
You still can see a few 412s or their descendants on the curbsides of the former Soviet Union and Cuba. Keeping these on the road is relatively straightforward, and they (plus Izh) did build around 150,000 per year for the better part of three decades. Seeing one in such pristine condition in Iceland was quite a surprise. It was on my bucket list, but I expected to see one in more eastern climes. That’s the nature of CC hunting, I guess – just keep your hopes up, your eyes peeled and your camera charged!
He is the hero of the famous comedy. “The Diamond Arm” or “Brillyantovaya ruka”.
Reminds me of an AMC Rambler
That was my first thought too..
a 5/8 scale Rambler Classic.
Great article though. Aside from the cars that resemble 5/8 scale ’56 Packards, I’m not that familiar with Soviet iron.
Has there been a CC article on the various Russian cars who’s styling was obviously “inspired” by American classics? Such as the one that looks like an early ’40s Packard, the mid-50s Packard (mentioned above and seen below) and another that resembles a 5/8 scale ’61-’62 Caddy (especially in it’s front end design)? If not, there should be
It began with the time of cooperation with Ford. Soviet automotive industry – tracing paper with American. But the assortment is very weak.
You are not right. The Soviets copied before the war, then began to develop their own cars.
there is a similarity
A Moskvich was also seen in the end of the classic Cold War thriller The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.
Looks more like a 1962 Ford Fairlane (US).
…and the participant of the rally “London-Mexico” http://autotool.com.ua/po-doroge-razocharovanij-istoricheskij-obzor-ralli-london-mexiko-chast2/
There was really nothing wrong with the car, it was just a victim of fashion. It was an aspirational brand, and therefore seen as a somewhat suspicional choice for the petty bourgousie. There’s just nothing as dated as yesterdays fad.
A Volga was really out of reach for Soviet citizens. Above all, a Volga meant you were connected, to the apparachik or the KGB, or if it had been rewarded as a company perk or through some heroic individual effort. But it also gave the impression that you were “somebody”, and that isn’t always the impression you want to make if you really belong to the large mass of nobodies.
The Moskvich was seen as the aspirational choice for those that really wanted to belong in the Volga crowd, but couldn’t afford it, didn’t want to wait, or didn’t have the connections. The Lada really became the people’s car of choice, and within that range there was more luxurious models.
As the Mini became the “smart” choice in the 60’s over yesterdays news like the BMC Farina saloons, the Lada became the smart choice in Russia. And the Moskvich was bought by all those people that “just didn’t get it.”
A new Volga was out of reach of the general population, but not a used one. The problem was that used ones were usually very used (as taxis or government cars) by the time they got sold on.
Great article, but the car labelled as a Moskvich 401 is actually a 1949 prototype that never entered production. Looks a bit like a ’46 Mercury, doesn’t it? The real 401 kept the old Opel-derived front.
Thanks for catching that! I’ll amend the text…
One more amendment is needed – Izhevsk is in Russia, not Ukraine.
D’oh! The Urals. Will fix. Thank you!
Ah, the reference to motorcycles now makes sense!!
Thanks for this. Really nice find and story.
The numbering changed in the 70’s because it was decided to standardise the codenames for vehicles. Of course, the numbering system went through minor changes and after some time it became entirely irrelevant.
More about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile_model_numbering_system_in_the_Soviet_Union_and_Russia
On a more personal note, my grandfather used to own a 1972 Moskvich 412. Even after he sold his car some spare parts (including gas pedal rubber, carburettor, and even an original pair of Hella foglights) were laying around his garage.
Thank you for this — a much needed clarification for me!
What is a “COD” WAR exactly? 🙂
He explains it in the article…
“Britain and Iceland have had regular “Cod Wars” over the decades, or even centuries, due to British fishermen often wandering into the rich Icelandic waters to catch their prey. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, tensions periodically flared up between the two countries, especially in the mid-’70s. Britain did not hesitate in using its still relatively large Royal Navy to protect its fishing fleet and prevent Icelandic fishing boats from leaving shore. This disrupted commerce quite a bit.”
Mate. Great article!
The funny thing is, this week I started looking into an Icelandic vacation again. I’ve always wanted to go but I put the thought out of my mind a little while ago but this week I’ve been giving it some serious thought… Perhaps your article is a sign…
I’d love to hear the full story of the Moskvich Aleko. I know you’d do it justice. Or, really anything obscure. Your research and writing is always an absolute delight.
More obscurities are on the way. No Aleko though… Didn’t see one lately, and I doubt I’ll see one soon now that I’m back in Asia.
Aleko was a very unfortunate model. It was completed with the engine VAZ-2106-70 and UZAM-331.10. Very weak for him. Also a very small batch with a Renault engine.
P.S. Sorry for bad English.
What a trip down memory lane, my father swapped a motorcycle for a Moscovich 412 in the late 70s.
All I remember was how bad it was , the strong smell inside from the rubbers and plastics was enough to make you sick, the front wheels rubbed the inner wheel wells on full lock, and the fact that it would never keep its brake fluid no matter how many wheel cylinders were replaced. When I was following it , the reversing lights would flash on with every gear change, there was still sand in the rough engine castings, and the handbook that said , engine fails to start , check carburettor for snow, or was that the Neval Motorcycle combo ?
I remember the cod wars reported on TV, just one more scrap that was going on, laughed at the claims of an Icelandic boat that it was rammed by a Royal Navy frigate with its midships, still not sure how a frigate moves sideways fast enough to ram something, but it reminds me how violent the 70s and early 80s were in the UK in comparison with today
It was more like sideswiping on the high seas, I believe, though the thought of a ship suddenly leaping sideways is fairly amusing. It seems to be done when an opposing vessel wants to show they’re VERY serious about wanting you to leave the area. Ramming with the bow would cause too much damage, and you certainly don’t want to back your rudder or propellors into someone.
Soviet era joke…….punter heads down to Moskovich dealership to lay down his hard earned on a new car. Salesman advises a 10 year wait. Our eager buyer enquiries when in the day, morning or after lunch. Does it matter? The salesman asks. “Only because the plumber is coming in the morning” ——–btw, Iceland has a very, very strong old car following
A morning belly laugh is good for a guy! Thanks for this, it was hilarious. Of course, humor us usually only humorous if there is some truth to it, and the truth was that the Soviet-era system was just awful for providing for the needs of its people.
A similar East German joke was that “Trabant 601” meant “For every 600 people who ordered, one has gotten delivery”. Of course, for the final 1990 model it was more like 600 cars on the lot and one customer.
I take it that in Iceland, antique/collector cars get the style of license plate that’s on the Moskvich and the two Fords you photographed?
For background on the cod wars, I recommend Cod by Mark Kurlansky, a fascinating book in its own right.
There is something irrationally appealing to me about this 1970s Soviet car. It hits me that it features so much that makes me love Studebakers – it was so far behind the times yet so simple and tough. If only they had been built as well as Studes.
I like the styling a lot and remain a fan of old-style chrome bumpers. It is just too bad that they really weren’t very good cars.
And thanks for the tutorial on Moskvich. Soviet cars have been quite mysterious to me and you have pulled the curtain back a bit.
-“But the 412 actually survived the collapse of the Soviet Union, just not in Russia but in Ukraine. The military manufacturer IzhMash (or just Izh) in Izhevsk, makers of the AK-47 Kalashnikov and other hardware as well as the best motorcycles in the Soviet Union, set up their own car-making line in the mid-‘60s to help Moskvich reach their production quotas.”
Izhevsk is in the Urals. About 1000 miles away from Ukraine. And the car factory has nothing to do with the guns factory.
Your 1st point is acknowledged (and now fixed). But I’m not sure about your 2nd point. The IzhMash industrial firm has its roots in guns, that’s just the way it is. Same as several other automakers (Hotchkiss, BSA, Skoda…). Of course the cars were not built alongside AK-47s, but it’s significant that they were made by a military supplier (and a very competent one at that), as it explains why Izh cars were regarded as being of better quality than the originals.
Thats right. Izhevsk factory was built by order of the ministry of defence(why and how is another story). The factory in Ufa that supplied the 412 engines for both AZLK and Izhmash was a part of the military structure too.
Great catch! Of all the many grille variations, this is by far my favorite, and the color is terrific too.
It was not a bad design job. given its provenance. It stands up a bit to high, but that’s for the exceptional ground clearance these cars had. Oh, and I did not know that the SOHC four was a BMW crib job. I suspect there must have been a few hot-rodders in Russia who knew how to wake these engines up to their higher potential.
Yes the Moskvitches were a force to be reckoned on the ice racing and even rally circuit, Soviet motorsports are an interesting niche. The Moskvitch’s 1500cc motor was generally less liked for everyday driving compared to the Lada, you had to rev it up to make good power. But for the driver with “sporting” pretentions, the Moskvitch motor was the one to have. At the same time, the Moskvitches crude leaf spring rear end and high clearance/narrow profile made it better suited to hauling bags of potatoes from the dacha than zipping around twisty roads. That crudeness is in part what helped on the international rally scene. The Moskvitch 412 is a tough, durable bugger.
Also, the Kombi IZH-2125 body was a real revelation when it came out in the mid 70s. It seemed very fashionable and contemporary at the time. My grandfather owned an ’87 from new until 2010 or so when he gave up driving. It excelled at hauling potatoes and hay, and could make it farther into the forest than a Lada during mushroom hunting season. Only the Zaporozhets had better offroad prowess among the Soviet sedans.
I saw this same fellow the previous summer near Skogafoss next to a 1965 Vauxhall Viva.
Yep, that’s the same car all right 🙂
Took some pictures of the Viva too, but I don’t know if I’ll do a post on it. Roger Carr’s post looks like the definitive one on that car, IMO.
With WOW Air’s recent announcement of service from CVG to Iceland, we’ll have a nice cheap way to get to Iceland, and points in Western Europe soon! Can’t wait!
I used to have a Polski Fiat catalog from the very early 80s. I THINK I got it on a trip to Panama in the early 80s, but I won’t swear to it. Just a weird little box on wheels, nothing like the land yachts that ruled the roads in the Midwest at that time. Amazing how much more similar US-market cars are to those in the rest of the world, compared to 30 years ago.
Great article — both about the car and its reason for being in Iceland. The design — both inside and out — is surprisingly pleasant, and doesn’t at all seem like the punitive stereotype that comes to mind when I think of Iron Curtain cars.
I can’t help admiring (or at least wondering about) the color. I presume that Moskvich sold in the USSR did not come in the vivid colors that this car, and many of the promotional photos, so brazenly flaunt. My recollections of Soviet-era streets is of dreary-looking clothing and cars — rather than the reds, blues and this mustard hue of the featured car.
The interiors of the 412s is especially impressive given the context. Padded dash, a nicely styled and finished shift knob with a “perforated-leather” shift boot. The stereo in these was really cool too, you could remove it and use it like a portable radio at a picnic. When I was little riding in my grandpa’s I genuinely thought it was kind of luxurious to ride in, even compared to my family’s 1990 Civic, which had a very logical but slightly more austere and sterile feeling interior. The Moskvitches also have incredibly smooth rides, I don’t exaggerate when I say they ride softer than a crown vic/town car. Lots of travel, lots of slop, very compliant (and poor handling).
A Russian youtuber’s review of a IZH 412 Sedan (in Russian only unfortunately):
That colour is called “tabak”(tobacco). The colour finishes of export cars were the same as the ones for the USSR market. BTW Moskviches from both AZLK and Izhevsk were generally bright- lime green, sunflower yellow, orange, cosmic blue. There were also 4 metallic paints applied, but they are rather rare sight today.
Thanks — very interesting. This article stirred up my interest in these cars, so I’ve been looking around at other ads and promotional photos of Moskviches and have been surprised by the color offerings.
Another thing that occurred to me is the export-market spelling variation between Moskvich and Moskvitch. I’ve seen cars and ads with the name spelled in either way (with or without the “T”) — and I haven’t been able to figure out if there’s a pattern to it or not… i.e., whether the company changed its export-market spelling at some point, or whether it was sold in some markets with one spelling and some with the other. This Icelandic version is spelled “Moskvich,” which seems to be in the minority for what I’ve seen.
As regards the spelling, it really depends which language was used. Francophone countries usually went with “Moskvitch”, the UK and Scandinavia with “Moskvich”. There were other variants in other countries (e.g. German below). The badge always spelled it the English way, AFAIK — if it wasn’t spelled in Cyrillic.
Here is a couple of links to pics of Moskviches colours, not all of them but most-
412 and 408
It is pronounced Moskvich
That BMW engine resemblance in 412 is not with “Neue Klasse” but merely with BMW/EMW M78 six cylinder shortened to 4-cy, some minor parts are similar.
“The engine was developed entirely design team of the plant МЗМА. The first development верхнеклапанного engine with hemispherical combustion chambers and aluminium cylinder block (project «406») on the «Moscvich» dates back to the mid-fifties. Nevertheless, the prototype of quite a number of constructive solutions of the final version of this engine guess is simple – the latest, at the time, the power unit of the BMW M10 in the version with a capacity of 1500 cm3 (she was designated М115 and was produced until 1977, and the family of engines M10 existed on the Assembly line before 1987) – the unit itself is a uniquely successful and perfect for those times, a good account of itself as in a normal operation as well as in sports.
However, no copy, no further development of this engine UZAM-412 was not, and has from him extremely significant differences, in particular, a different geometry of the cylinders, some of the constructive decision of a majority of systems, and so on.
However, it is argued that and specialists of BMW the total with the engine of «Moskvich» the construction of the aluminum cylinder heads with hemispherical combustion chambers and V-shaped valves located, within a very long period of time the former characteristic for the engines of the firm, was also a «подсмотрена» the motor of the company Talbot at the Paris motor show, 1935.”
Moskvich 400 was based on quite rare K38 Spezial Limousine 4-door.
I’m not sure the 412’s engine is derived from the ’30s BMW 6-cyl. — makes a bit of sense on the one hand, as Moskvich would have had access to the EMW works in Eisenach, but it makes little sense to trade one ageing German block for another. Besides, the differences between the 412’s 4-cyl. and the BMW/EMW six are too numerous. The Talbot connection is even more far-fetched.
But then again, I’m going by what I can read online — and I cannot read Russian.
It’s not in the slightest way similar to BMW’s pre-war inline engines, which were ohv with very distinctive heads.
From a bit of reading, it appears that the UZAM-412 engine has a number of superficial similarities to the BMW M10 “Neue Klasse” four. But there are quite distinct differences too. For one, the 412 engine had an alloy block with steel liners, unlike the BMW’s iron block. The 20 degree slant was necessitated because the SOHC head made it too tall to sit upright under the 412’s hood.
The BMW M10 was released in 1962, the UZM-412 in 1964. So some influence is possible, but it appears not to be a reverse-engineered BMW engine.
I think the UZAM-412 went into production in 1967-68; the 408 had a different engine altogether. It’s undeniable that there are differences between that and the BMW 4-cyl., but timeline-wise, it fits.
I added an “allegedly” to the passage in the text in any case…
Paul, Yes, you must be right. My words were based on similar discussions on finnish sites where somebody insists after every couple of month that BMW has something to do with UZAM-412. There is a plausible almost proven possibility that couple of BMW engineers visited in MZMA engine factory at the time of new engine construction, what to do is not known. An oldtimer. told once that minor parts of old EMW engine would fit, but that is not prove of major similarlities
Another fascinating piece. I love that I get to take a virtual “trip” to another place and time through your really well-written articles. And I also like that the color of the featured car is quite similar to that of a “harvest gold” appliance that might have been in many a household here in the United States around 1974.
These were apparently sold in the U.K up until ’74 or so (I’ve never seen one in the flesh, not once) when they were given a serious hatchet job by the motoring press (I don’t know if it was valid or not. In those days “not invented here” was alive and well) relating to dangerous handling possibly leading to rollovers, sub standard brakes and the possibility of front seat occupants getting their legs chopped off by the lower dash in the event of a frontal collision. Sales evaporated almost instantly, the importer switching to the new first generation Lada instead. I had a Lada. It was awful. The mind boggles if this was seen as a superior machine to the moskvich.
After driving one in the late 70s, the hatchet job was justified, an Allegro was like a Jaguar in comparison, doubt my father got as much as a 1000 miles driving out of a second hand one before throwing it away.
Brake cylinders leaked constantly making it pull to one side or another. Virtually every European cars a decade older were superior to it. I do remember one redeeming feature , the gear change was quite nice.
An excellent addition to the collection of Soviet and Communist Bloc car histories that I have tried to expand over the years here. It even opens with an excellent pun (“Cod War”) in the title, which I always appreciate, having been guilty of more than my share of them.
I had a number of “taxi” rides in Moskviches back in the early 1990s, and I recall looking forward to seeing one coast to a stop to pick me up since they were more interesting than the usual Ladas and Volgas. I also recall liking the panoramic views through the large windows compared to the somewhat claustrophobic Volgas. Their rough ride is also a memory, though. Your description of the primitive suspension design explains it.
Thanks to your mentioning the short-lived KIM nameplate, I will likely spend the next several decades searching in vain for a KIM badge. Since not many were made in the 1930s, and the survival rate during and after WWII was probably minimal, I expect a long quest to find a surviving badge!
“Their rough ride is also a memory, though. Your description of the primitive suspension design explains it.”
It’s odd you say that IMO, since Moskvitches are generally regarded as having a very soft, comfortable ride (more so than Ladas, perhaps not quite as cushy as a Volga). Volgas have every bit as crude a suspension, in fact MORE crude as the Volga still used a king-pin front end right through the mid 90s.
That 401 prototype front clip looks like it was cribbed from a GAZ M20 Pobieda. Which was supposedly a Russian version of the Opel Kapitän, projected for 1943.
The 1st comment by Tapani Kaijanmäki (Finn?) is really interesting. Its long text, apparently Google translated from Russian, states that the head of the “406 project” engine had some similarity with the 1935 Talbot motor. The valve arrangement of this car resembles the one used by the 6-cylinder BMW of the ’30s and early ’50s.
Off topic: God knows what “podsmotrena” means…
means spied from, copied from
I had one of these for a while
A Moskvitch 434 van. Interesting motor. Surprisingly modern engine attached to a very vague gearbox. It had a Venetian blind for the radiator, cable controlled from within, and the brake pipes were commercial vehicle standard, 1/4 inch copper. The plastics crumbled and cracked in your hand.
Nobody else had one.