GAZ Reviews and Road Tests

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GAZ Cars

Founded in 1929 as NNAZ when a joint venture between the Soviet Union government and Ford was established. The name changed to GAZ (short for Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod) when the city was renamed after Maxim Gorky. The first car to roll off the production line in 1932 was the Ford Model A, which was sold in the Soviet Union as the NAZ A, then as the Ford Model AA under the GAZ AA marque - the Model A remaining in production until 1936 with over 100,000 being manufactured.

The successor to the Model AA was the GAZ M1, which was based largely on the Ford V8. Experience with the A and the M1 allowed the GAZ engineers to develop their own model independently of Ford - the GAZ M2. This more upscale model entered production in 1942 and remained in limited wartime production until 1946. The M2’s bodyshell entered limited production in 1941, mounted on a four-wheel drive chassis and sold in small quantities as the GAZ-61 (arguably the world’s first all-wheel drive passenger car).

During World War 2 the GAZ engineers worked to develop an all-new model to enter production once hostilities ended. Dubbed the GAZ-M20 Pobeda (Victory), this affordably-priced sedan featured streamlined, fastback styling, entering production in 1946 and remaining in manufacture until 1958. The company is best known today for the manufacture of the Volga series first developed in the early 1950's. These large luxury vehicles were built to last in the harsh climate and rough roads of the Soviet Union, with high ground clearance, rugged suspension, a strong and forgiving engine, and rustproofing on a scale unheard of in the 1950's.

Also see: The History of GAZ (USA Edition)
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GAZ Chaika 13  

GAZ Chaika 13 and 14

1959 - 1988
IN A free from competition market like the USSR used to be, every model was planned to fill a certain niche. There was no need to replace a design for marque prestige alone. Hence the Gorky Automobile Factory's flagship GAZ-13 Chaika (the seagull), first built in 1959, remained in production for years longer than any similar car would have in the West. More>>
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GAZ M21 Volga Sedan
 

GAZ M21 Volga Sedan

1956 - 1970
Making the M21 Volga individualistic was the high waisted style, even though many design elements from contemporary US cars seemed to be present. More important than any perceived similarities however was that the new Volga be more adept at handling the unforgiving roads and climate in which it would operate. More>>
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GAZ M22 Volga Estate  

GAZ M22 Volga Estate

1962 - 1970
Six years after the introduction of the GAZ M21 Saloon came the M22 Estate (station wagon) version, which remained in production from 1962 to 1970. Best known of these was the 5 door M22D "Universal", which entered service in the Soviet Union as an ambulance. More>>
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GAZ M24 Volga

GAZ M24 Volga

1970 - 1992
The replacement to the M21, the all new M24 Volga entered limited production in 1968. The new model would spawn other unique models, such as the 1973/1974 experimental GAZ 24-95, which featured an all-wheel-drive system, although only 5 were ever produced, one being proudly owned by Soviet leader Leonid Illich Brezhnev. More>>
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