Tuesday 26 January 2016
The Moskvitch 412 (Moskvich 412, M-412) was a small family car produced by Soviet manufacturer MZMA/AZLK from 1967 to 1976, then as the restyled and modified Izh-412 by IZh in Izhevsk from 1967 to 1997 and replaced by the spun off Izh-2125 Kombi series thereafter. It was a more powerful and prestigious version of the M-408 model, offering more features to the driver for a higher price.
Upon designing the 1,478 cc (90.2 cu in) UZAM-412 engine, Moskvitch engineers might have taken some inspiration from the contemporary BMW M 115 engine used in the BMW 1500 model. The Moskvitch-412 had a slanted (to a tilt of 20 degrees) inline-four engine with a block, head, and inlet manifold cast in aluminium in order not to increase the weight of the engine and a hemispherical combustion chamber (unlike the BMW, which had a cast iron block). Steel cylinder liners were replaceable to enable easy repair of the engine instead of having to replace it entirely. Since it was of an OHC design it was taller than the OHV MZMA-408 engine it replaced, which is why it was mounted at a slant. The UZAM-412 had a capacity of 1480 c.c. and developed 75 horsepowers. Its more powerful version, the Moskvitch-412-2V, had 100 h.p. and was installed on sports cars.
In 1969, both the M-412 and the related M-408 had their body and taillights redesigned. These were notable for being the first Moskvitch models to feature square headlights and horizontal or vertical rear lights and triangular turn signals, which passed on to the 2138/2140 in 1976. Until then, the M-412 profited from heightened tailfins and tanned headlight lamps on export models. Another notable (but not unique, since it was used in other Russian cars at the time) feature were the so-called side signals, mounted on the C-pillars on some vehicles and similar to the American "opera lights". The car was upgraded with dual-circuit brake system, reinforced car-body structure, and passive safety features such as soft grip steering wheel cover, soft interior parts, seat belts, and padded dashboard. It was the first Moskvitch to pass safety features tests in France, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Sweden in 1970—71, and in Western Germany in 1972.
The M-412 was launched in the United Kingdom in 1969, when the first 20 dealerships were set up and some 300 cars were sold; its sales increased annually and peaked in 1973, when some 14,500 cars were sold through a 268-dealer network. However, soon afterwards the car was pushed off the British market by the fellow Soviet brand Lada, down to only 3462 sales in 1973 and 344 in 1975, so that Moskvitch decided to withdraw from the United Kingdom. Satra's 1974 rebranding it the Moskvitch 1500 did not change anything.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1478 cc
- horsepower: 75 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 140 km/h