Car History 4U

History of Russian Motor Car / Automobile Manufacturers

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8.12 Russia


  • 8.12.1.  Russo-Balt

    • The Russo-Balt Company built cars in Latvia between 1909 and 1915 and in Moscow from 1922 to 1924.

      Russo-Balt 1909

    • In 1917 the company opened a factory in St Peterburg but this may only have produced armoured cars. Additional information on Russo-Balt and their cars is required.

  • 8.12.2.  ZIL

    • A company called AMO (Avtomobilnoe Moskovskoe Obshchestvo) was formed in 1916 and nationalised in 1918. In 1924 it produced its first vehicle, a truck.  

    • In 1931 the AMO plant was renamed ZIS (Zavod Imjeni Stalina).

    • There is a report that ZIS started producing a series of small cars in 1933, cars that were very similar in design to horseless carriages. Is this statement correct ?

    • In 1936 ZIS introduced the 5,800 cc, 90 hp (67 kW) ZIS- 101 limousine. The car, which had a 3-speed automatic gearbox, had a top speed of 115 kph (72 mph).

      ZIS 101

    • A two-seat, 141 hp (105 kW) sport  model capable of 162 kph (101 mph) was introduced in 1939 but only a few cars were built.

    • Production of ZIS cars, which ceased in 1941, resumed in 1946 with the 6 litre, 140 hp ZIS 110 model. This car was produced until 1958.

    • In 1956 the name was changed to ZIL (Zavod Imeni Likhacheva).

    • Other models include the 6 litre ZIL 111(from 1959), the 114 (1970-79), 115 and 117.

    • Between 1978 and 1985 the company produced the ZIL 4104 (and a Station Wagon version, the 41042).

    • In 1989 ZIL introduced the 41047 model. The seven-seat, 311hp (232 kW), limousine had a 7.7 litre engine and a top speed in excess of 190 kph (119 mph).

    • ZIL was privatised in 1992 and named AMO ZIL.

    • In 2005 the company announced the prototype 4122 model.

  • 8.12.3.  GAZ

    • A manufacturing plant called NNAZ was formed in 1929 to produce Ford cars under licence. Shortly afterwards the name was changed to GAZ (Gorky Avtomobilny Zoavod (Plant).   

    • GAZ produced over 100,000 Model A Ford cars (1932-36) and Model AA Ford trucks (1932-42).  See Part 2, The Last 100 Years, Section 8.15.4.

    • The GAZ produced Model A Ford car was known as the NAZ A.

    • Other early cars produced by GAZ include the GAZ-M1 (1936-1942) and the GAZ-M2 (1942-1946).

      GAZ 61

    • A four-wheel drive model called the GAZ-61 entered production in 1940. The 3,485 cc, 85 hp (63kW) car had a top speed of 100 kph (63 mph).

    • In 1941 GAZ introduced the 61-73 model. 

    • Between 1946 and 1958 GAZ produced the M20 Pobeda model, the first car designed in Russia to be fitted with electric windscreen wipers and turn indicators.

      GAZ Pobeda Pre-Production M20 1945

    • The car was also manufactured in Poland (1951 to 1973) as the “Warszawa”. Over 250,000 were made.

    • Over 20,000 GAZ-12 ZIM limousines were made between 1950 and about 1959. Further data on this car is required.

    • Models produced between 1956 and 1992 include the GAZ-21, GAZ-22, GAZ-72 Pobeda, GAZ-13 Chaika, GAZ-14 Chaika, GAZ-24 Volga and the GAZ-3102.

    • From 1992 to 2004 GAZ made the GAZ-31029, GAZ-31 Wolga (since 1997), GAZ-310221 (1997), GAZ-3110 Volga (1997-2004), GAZ-3111 Volga (1998-2000) and the GAZ-31105 Volga (2004).

  • 8.12.4.  Moskvitch

    • A factory called the Moscow Automotive Plant (KIM) was built in 1929 and until 1939 it was controlled by GAZ (see Section 8.12.3). Data on cars produced is requried.

    • From about 1939 all cars produced by KIM were sold under the Moskvitch brand name. In 1941 the plant suspended making cars due to World War 2.

    • The KIM plant became the Moscow Compact Car Factory (MZMA) in about 1946. The first cars produced were the Moskvitch 400/420 and the 401 models.

    • The 400/420 model was based upon the Opel Kadett and was produced between 1947 and 1956.

      Moskvitch 400-420 1946-57

    • The 1,074 cc, 26 hp (19 kW)  Moskvitch 401 was introduced in about 1946 and had a top speed of  90 kph (56 mph). Production ceased in 1956.

    • The 1,220 cc Moskvitch 402 was produced from 1956 to 1958. A four-wheel drive version , the 410, was produced in 1957.

    • Between 1964 and 1976 MZMA produced the 1,358 cc Moskvitch-408, a car that was also assembled in Bulgaria from 1966 at a rate that increased to about 15,000 per year.

    • The 402 model was also sold as the Moskvitch Carat in Norway and the Moskvitch Elite 1300 in France.

    • In 1969, the name was changed to AZLK (Lenin Communist Youth League Automobile Factory). Could the year have been 1956 ? 

    • The Moskvitch 412, which was produced from 1967 to 1975, was replaced by the upgraded, 1500 cc  2140 model from 1975 to 1988. The Izh 412 version was made from 1967 to 1998. More data is required.

    • Other models include the Aleko 2141, 2142, Kalita and the Aleko from 1986 to 2000.

    • In 1991 AZLK was privitised and called the Moskvitch Stock Venture. In 2002 the company became bankrupt and ceased production.

  • 8.12.5.  Avto VAZ/Lada

    • The Avto VAZ (Volzhsky Automobilny Zavod) plant  was established in 1966 in collaboration with Fiat of Italy.

    • The first car  produced was the 1,198 cc VAZ 2101 (1970-84) which was based on the Fiat 124. Variants include the 1.3 litre VAZ-21011 in 1974 and the VAZ 21013 in 1977.

      Lada 2101

    • The VAZ cars were known in Russia under the brand name Zhiguli. The Lada name (“lovely little darling” in Russian) was originally applied only to the export models.

    • Other models introduced in the 1970s include the VAZ 2102 station wagon, the VAZ 2103 (1972), the four wheel drive 1.6 litre VAZ-2106 (1976-2001) and the AZ-2121 Niva (1978).

    • In 1980 VAZ introduced the Lada Riva (1.2 litre saloon and 1.2/1.5 litre estate versions). The car was also known as the Signet and Lada 1500 (Canada), the Laika (Brazil) and the Nova some European countries.

    • By 2005 over 13,500,000 Riva models had been manufactured. How many by 2007 ? 

    • Between 1984 and 2004 VAZ produced the Lada Samara, a name that  was intended to apply to just the export models. In Russia it was originally called the VAZ 21083 Sputnik. 1.1, 1.3 and 1.5 litre version were produced.

    • The VAZ 1111 Oka micro car was introduced in 1988.

    • Other models produced in the 1980s include the VAZ-2105 (1980), the VAZ-2107 (1982), the VAZ 2104 Station Wagon (1984) and the 5-door VAZ 21093 (1987).

    • VAZ introduced the 1.6 litre, 90 hp (67 kW) Lada 110 in 1996 and the Lada 111 from 1998 to 2004.

    • In 1999 AvtoVAZ formed a joint venture with General Motors and produced the Chevrolet Niva and the Chevrolet Viva.

    • Between 1970 and 2002 AvtoVAZ produced about 21 million cars.

    • Production of the Lada Kalina supermini began in November 2004. The car supplied with either a 80 or 91 hp engine and electric power steering. What models were being produced in  2007 ?

  • 8.12.6.  Russian Car Web Sites

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