Saturday 30 June 2012
In late 1976, a review of the GAZ-24 was tasked with finding out the main drawbacks that would need to be fixed in its replacement, the design of which was scheduled to begin. However funds were never allocated for the project. Simultaneously GAZ launched the second generation of the Chaika limousine. The GAZ-14 in its size and interior jumped the class from its predecessor. Thus instead of replacing the Volga, GAZ was tasked with creating a new vehicle that would be suitable for the mid-class of the Soviet nomenklatura. Loosely based on its predecessor, the new Volga, in addition to receiving a new model number, had much of the Chaika's innovations incorporated in the design.
Initially the model was planned to have a 3-litre V6 engine as standard, but for economical reasons GAZ instead opted for a new stratified charge ZMZ-4022 I4 with 105 hp (78 kW) (somewhat similar to Honda CVCC design); GAZ started development of stratified charge, or, in original terms, "fore-chambered", petrol engines as early as in the early 1950-s, but designs ready for serial production appeared only in late 1970s.
It had 8 conventional inlet and exhaust valves, and 4 supplementary inlet valves that charged combustion fore-chambers, where spark plugs were located, with rich air-fuel mixture. Lean fuel-air mixture in main combustion chambers was ignited not directly by spark plugs, but by cones of heated gases from the fore-chambers.
It also had very unusual 3-barrel carburetor (primary, secondary and fore-chamber barrels), K-156 model.
Power output of this overall outdated OHV engine was somewhat improved if compared to the previous model (ZMZ-24D, 95 hp), fuel economy was largely improved, too. However, torque compared to the ZMZ-24D dropped. Also this power plant suffered from heating issues and was quite sensible to quality of maintenance. Still lacking balance shafts, being out of tune it vibrated violently.
All these issues made it a somewhat bad reputation, and by the 1990s it was replaced by more primitive, but also more reliable and cheap ZMZ-402.10 (98 hp), which was previously used in cheaper GAZ-24-10 Volga.
GAZ-3102 featured front disk brakes and 3.9:1 rear en, as well as many other improvements.
Initially GAZ had ambitious plans for the Volga model line, and 3102 was intended to be just a temporary substitute for completely new 3103, 3104 and 3105 models. These however would never see light, and despite introductions of -3102 based models (-31029, -3110, -31105 - see below), GAZ-3102 is currently still in small-scale production.
Following the introduction of the GAZ-3110, the model received a major mid-life upgrade in 1997. A new 5-step gearbox, single axle, power steering, new front ventilated disc-brakes, 15-inch wheels and modernised interior based on the -3110. Also from the -3110 came the 2.3 litre ZMZ-4062 130 hp (97 kW) fuel-injected engine. Small series production also included Steyr and Chrysler engines as well as ZMZ-4064 with 200 hp. In 2005, following the introduction of the GAZ-31105, the -3102 incorporates its interior, and in 2008 its engine standard becomes the 2.5 litre ZMZ-205 which answers to EuroIII standards.
Like its two Volga predecessors, there was limited version for police and KGB, with the Chaika V8 and automatic gearbox, produced up to 1996. Since the early 1990s, 3102 is positioned by GAZ as a more luxurious and classic breed of the Volga, and costs slightly more than a standard Volga, its reputation for quality of 3102 lives up to the price.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 2445 cc
- horsepower: 105 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 152 km/h