A fantastic nostalgic exhibition of Soviet-era vehicles was opened in Moscow in August. The event, which celebrates the history of Soviet vehicle production from 1924 until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, is set to run until 1 October. James Kinnear was there.
Held within the Kosmos pavilion of the VDNKh Exhibition Centre in Moscow, which was used during the latter Soviet years as a showground for Soviet technical innovation, the exhibition included many superbly restored Soviet passenger cars, light trucks and government limousines, with a few military vehicles also on display. The majority of the vehicles present were restored to near-concours condition, reflecting the serious restoration budgets of some Russian collectors.
The GAZ-A was based on the US Ford-A and built at the GAZ plant in Gorkiy.
The oldest car displayed was the NAMI-1, the first series production passenger car of the Soviet era. There were vehicles from the 1930s, including a GAZ-A passenger car and GAZ-AA truck (based on the Ford-A and Ford-AA respectively) and various civilian and military versions of these base vehicles. Several Russian jeeps were present, from the earliest GAZ-64, to the better-known GAZ-67B and the post-war GAZ-69, which served Soviet collective farms and the Soviet Army in the 1950s and 1960s.
Though primarily a civilian vehicle, the GAZ-M1 was used by the Red Army as an officer transport and command vehicle.
Of course, no exhibition of Russian vehicles is complete without a generous helping of Moskvichs and Ladas. Both marques were well represented, with standard passenger cars, off-road variants and utility vehicles. There were even examples of Russian taxis and fire engines on display.
The GAZ-M-415 Pikap was as the name suggests a pick-up version of the GAZ-M series.
The collection also included several government limousines, including special variants such as the GAZ-41-05 Chaika cabriolet, as used during military parades on Red Square.
The GAZ-61 was an all-terrain version of the GAZ-M1, used by the Red Army.
The ZiL-41045, for high-ranking officials only, with a 7.7-litre V-8 engine and 310hp.
The Kosmos pavilion where the 2014 classic car exhibition was held, as it looked in 1981.
The GAZ-41-05 Chaika (seagull) was a parade commander’s car, as used on Red Square military parades.
The GAZ-M-20 Pobeda (Victory) passenger car.