Tuesday 9 February 2016
The GAZ M21 Volga is an automobile which was produced in the Soviet Union by GAZ ("Gorki Automobiljni Zavod", in English : "Gorky automobile factory") from 1956 to 1970. The first car to carry the Volga name, it was developed in the early 1950s. Volgas were built with high ground clearance (which gives it a specific "high" look, contrary to "low-long-sleek" look of Western cars of similar design), rugged suspension, strong and forgiving engine, and rustproofing on a scale unheard of in the 1950s.
The Volga was stylistically in line with the major United States manufacturers of the period, and incorporated such then-luxury features as the reclining front seat, cigarette lighter, heater, windshield washer and 3-wave radio.
When in 1959 the 6-cylinder line of GAZ cars was discontinued, Volga M-21 became the biggest and most luxurious car officially sold to individual owners in the USSR in large quantities, though its price was very high and made it unavailable for most car buyers.
Three series GAZ-21 were released, most easily distinguished by the grille. The First Series (1956–58), known as the Star, featured a lattice of three large horizontal bars in the centre of which was a medallion with a star. Vehicles of the Second Series (1958-1962), known as the Shark, featured a grille with 16 vertical slits. Finally, the Third Series (1962-1970), known as the Baleen, featured a grille with 34 thin vertical rods.
In Russia, each generation of the "Volga" received its own nicknames: for example, cars of the First Series were called "Stars", the Second Series were "Shark mouths", and the Third Series "Whalebones".
The Third Series was produced from 1962 to 1970. The 1962 models dropped the leaping deer hood ornament, and had a new grille. It used a 6.7:1 compression engine of 75 hp (56 kW; 76 PS) with an optional 7.65:1 compression of 80 hp (60 kW; 81 PS) (usually reserved for the export models). The headliner changed from cloth to vinyl, and the radio became optional. It was offered as the standard M21L, M21T taxi, and right-hand drive M21N export model.
Also in 1962, GAZ advertised a station wagon/estate model, the M22; most of these were exported or reserved for official use. The first station wagons/estates were delivered in 1963, and were designated M22 (75 hp (56 kW; 76 PS)), M22G (export, 75 hp (56 kW; 76 PS)), M22T (export, 85 hp (63 kW; 86 PS)); ambulances were M22B (75 hp (56 kW; 76 PS)) and M22BK (85 hp (63 kW; 86 PS)). An M22 prototype four-wheel drive station wagon/estate was also built, as was an M22A van.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 2445 cc
- horsepower: 75 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 120 km/h