10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive Industry


The fact that Soviet designers and stylists very often borrowed Western solutions has not been a secret for a long time. And they have done well! It was the ability to adopt advanced Western experience (not directly, but creatively) that helped develop our industry.

This isn’t just about the USSR buying western licenses or simply copying units and designs, but about groundbreaking, fateful decisions that defined Soviet technologies and designs for decades.

The largest companies in Europe and the US played their part here.

Ford

GAZ-A, also known as Ford A.

GAZ-A, also known as Ford A.


Thanks to cooperation with the American car company and the Austin construction company in Nizhny Novgorod (since 1932 – Gorky), a huge and then modern car factory was built in a short time.

It is true that the Ford A passenger car and the Ford AA truck designs had not progressed as early as the early 1930s. But for use in the USSR, it was precisely simple and maintainable vehicles in the field that turned out to be in great demand. Mastering and in-depth technical analysis of Ford models made it possible to later create their own technical school and original cars in Gorky. Some Ford units, for example the Ford AA gearbox, were made over decades with minor changes.

10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive IndustryThe design of the automatic transmission of the Volga and Chaika is based on the Ford unit.

The design of the automatic transmission of the Volga and Chaika is based on the Ford unit.

The Ford design became the basis for the first serial automatic transmission in the USSR for the Volga GAZ-M21. True, the machine did not grow huge on the Volga. But for many years a modification of this box was placed on the Volga with 8-cylinder engines and Chaika GAZ-13 and GAZ-14.

10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive IndustryThe KIM-10 was based on the Ford Prefect.

The KIM-10 was based on the Ford Prefect.

Out of respect for Ford technology, the British Ford was chosen in the late 1930s as the model for the first mass-produced small car in the Soviet Union, the KIM-10. True, the body of Ford Prefect with the frame of the Anglia model has changed noticeably. But all units and assemblies were copied from Ford’s. It turned out to be a decent car, whose mass production was prevented by the outbreak of war.

car

10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive IndustryZIS-5 was born from an Autocar truck.

ZIS-5 was born from an Autocar truck.


Now almost forgotten, the American company had a huge impact on the Soviet car industry. It was her design that became the first for the radically reconstructed AMO factory in Moscow, which had already been established before the revolution and renamed ZIS in 1931.

True, soon the American model Autocar CA was modernized (in terms of clutch, brakes and gearbox), turning it into the legendary three-ton ZIS-5. But the basics of the design were preserved for a very long time. In the Urals in Miass, variations on the ZIS-5 theme were produced until 1958.

And the six-cylinder engine with a capacity of 5.6 liters – however, repeatedly and very significantly modernized – was made until 1993.

Chrysler

10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive IndustryThe six-cylinder GAZ engine is a descendant of the Dodge engine.

The six-cylinder GAZ engine is a descendant of the Dodge engine.

The third-largest American concern primarily influenced the engine construction of the USSR. The Dodge D5 engine of the late 1930s is a six-cylinder in-line engine with lower valves and a working volume of 3.48 liters (82×110 mm) made under the names GAZ-11, GAZ-51, GAZ-52 in Nizhny Novgorod until the end of the eighties.

There are also Chrysler roots in the Zilovsky V8 engine with a capacity of 6 liters (100×95 mm). This engine is in the 200 hp version. in 1958 for the first time on the ZIL-111. And in the 150 horsepower version – on the now legendary and one of the most massive trucks in the entire history of the USSR ZIL-130. This one from Moscow was close to the Chrysler V8 (100×92 mm) of the late 1950s.

10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive IndustryChrysler’s design became a model for the ZIL-111 engine.

Chrysler’s design became a model for the ZIL-111 engine.

For the first time for our factory, the ZIL-111 was also equipped with an automatic transmission, the design of which was also borrowed from Chrysler’s 1952 unit of the Power Flite model.

Opel

10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive IndustryThe Moskvich-400 is a new Opel Kadett.

The Moskvich-400 is a new Opel Kadett.


The German mark has occupied a very important place in our history. It was Opel Kadett who was chosen at the highest level of government as the model for the first post-war small car Moskvich-400.

True, the Opel design of 1938 after the war was already obsolete. Almost immediately after the start of production and until 1956, when the Moskvich-401 was discontinued, it was constantly upgraded, including the engine and gearbox.

In Moskvich-402, Opel’s influence was minimal. The cylinder block with a larger volume has been preserved and the suspension of the German Opel Olympia Rekord, which debuted in 1953, became the main design of the independent front suspension of this Moskvich.

When designing the first post-war passenger car Gorky GAZ-M20 Pobeda, the engineers of the Soviet factory also carefully studied Opel, the advanced German Kapitan sedan before the end of the 1930s. From him Pobeda has the design of an all-metal load-bearing body (the style of a Soviet car is original and quite successful for the 1940s) and an independent front suspension.

FIAT

Launched in 1924, the AMO-F15 truck is a copy of the Italian FIAT 15 Ter. F15 is usually called the first Soviet car. Although the Russo-Balts were the first, which were made in small quantities in Moscow in 1922 under the name Prombron.

However, the Soviet automobile industry inherited Italian design from the era of the Ryabushinsky brothers, who founded the Moscow AMO factory in 1916.

10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive IndustryThe body structure of the prototype Moskvich-444 – the future ZAZ-965 – was borrowed from the FIAT 600.

The body structure of the prototype Moskvich-444 – the future ZAZ-965 – was borrowed from the FIAT 600.

The next important point in the history of the Italian brand in the USSR is the birth of Zaporozhets ZAZ-965. Soviet specialists carefully studied many foreign minicars and chose the FIAT 600 as a model for the body of the Soviet model. It was he who was recognized as the most advanced in the field of mass production technology in the USSR. The design was first worked out on prototypes of Moskvich-444 and then transferred to Ukraine in Zaporozhye.

10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive IndustryVAZ-2101 – heavily redesigned FIAT 124.

VAZ-2101 – heavily redesigned FIAT 124.


Finally, thanks to close collaboration with FIAT, a huge and modern factory was built in the town of Stavropol-on-Volga (now Togliatti). The design of the FIAT 124 was seriously revised by our engineers even before the start of mass production. But not only the car itself was important, but also the scale of the factory, unprecedented in the USSR, and advanced Western production technologies.

VAZ also became an impetus for the development of the production of many modern components – from rubber products to Weber carburetors, which were made in Dimitrovgrad under the name DAAZ.

Porsche

10 Foreign Designs That Advance Our Automotive IndustryVAZ-2108 from the Porsche collection, left as a souvenir in Germany in the factory museum.

VAZ-2108 from the Porsche collection, left as a souvenir in Germany in the factory museum.


Known for its famous sports and racing cars, the German company is also known for its powerful engineering and research department. In it they were reminiscent of the engine, transmission, brakes and other systems of the VAZ-2108. In addition, Soviet engineers and testers who worked in Germany for a long time enriched their experience with advanced techniques.

Thanks to such cooperation, the G8 proved to be a very successful, modern and popular car, also in the West.

Cooperation with leading foreign companies, the ability to use best practices and sometimes just purchase designs and technologies (this happened, for example, with brakes for Moskvich-2140 and Volga GAZ-3102, after purchasing a Girling license) and allowed the Soviet car industry to create acceptable and sometimes quite competitive cars.

  • Choosing a universal car for every day? To help you, a car roof rack from a domestic manufacturer LUX.
  • “Behind the wheel” can also be read in Yandex.Zen.

Source: Z R

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