Russian cars are rarely noticed by the American public, especially Soviet-era classics. Some remember the Yugo, and Tom Hanks helped solidify the status of the Fiat 126p. And aside from the Lada Niva and the Ural motorcycles, that’s about it. So you’ve probably never heard of the subject of Doug DeMuro’s latest video: Volga GAZ-24-10. But, as you will soon discover, there is a very good reason for this.
Volga GAZ-24 : From communist Russia to the left –
The name Volga GAZ-24 needs some explanation. GAZ stands for Gorky Automobile Plant, which translated means Gorky Automobile Plant, according to Autoweek, the Russian automaker who came up with it. GAZ has produced a wide range of cars, including the Chaika, a V8-powered Cadillac-type sedan for senior officials, reports Petrolicium. And it also produced cars under the Volga brand that were modeled after modern American models, Jalopnik explains.
The company introduced the Volga GAZ-24 as a replacement for the previous GAZ-21, according to DriveTribe. And at the time, it was a decent Soviet sedan, according to Motor1. Compared to a 2002 BMW, this is very commendable.
# In 1970, mass production began on one of the most iconic Soviet cars, the GAZ-24 Volga. This is the most produced model of the #GAZ car plant – over 1.4 million of these cars were produced between 1970 and 1993 #SovietAutoLegends pic.twitter.com/Sil1391hNM
– Russia in South Africa (@EmbassyofRussia) 15 July 2020
The 1970 Volga GAZ-24 comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission, according to Autoweek. Diesel transmissions were also available, as were a limited number of models equipped with a 190-horsepower 5.5-liter V8 and a three-speed Chaika automatic transmission. GAZ has also made a grab with the 4WD systems on UAZ, reports Motor1.
In the past, the Volga GAZ-24 was a sort of communist version of the Mercedes E-Class W123. It is, however, much less luxurious. Standard equipment includes electric drum brakes, pedal-operated windshield washer, defroster and rear window defroster, reports Motor1. Although the GAZ-24 has an electric antenna, lights under the hood and an electric clock.
Despite its lack of options, the Volga GAZ-24 was rarely bought by the communist public. Instead, most have been used as taxis, thanks to their relatively high ground clearance and fairly robust construction, DriveTribe reports. By the mid-1980s, however, it was already obsolete.
GAZ tried to fix this problem with the Volga GAZ-24-10, reports Hemmings. But, as Doug DeMuro explains, it didn’t work.
What does Doug DeMuro think of the Volga GAZ-24-10?
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One example is the special Volga GAZ-24-10 in Doug DeMuro’s 1988 video. But, as Mr. DeMuro notes, he looks much older than he probably was in the 70s. By comparison : It was around the same time that BMW launched the E28 M5. And just two years before Lexus launched the LS400.
Part of the problem was that GAZ needed permission from the Soviet government to modernize its vehicles. And because of the internal conflicts within the Communist Party, this solution was slow in coming. So while this updated GAZ-24 has some elements of the more expensive GAZ models, it stays in the old design, reports Doug DeMuro.
Interior of a 1988 Volga GAZ-24-10 | Doug DeMuro via YouTube
APPROPRIATE: Combined UAZ SGR ships for the whole world.
The Volga GAZ-24-10, for example, while nominally a luxury car, is not particularly spacious. It also has no storage space in the door panels and, despite a four-speed manual transmission, no tachometer. Although, according to my sister, the 2002 Ford Focus didn’t have a tachometer either.
The GAZ-24-10 also has no fan speed controls, but it does have cup holders. Well, kind of like the notches on the inside of the glove box. The rear seats are spacious, but not equipped with safety belts. Remember, this is a 1988 luxury sedan. But the trunk is quite roomy. It also includes a surprisingly comprehensive first aid kit.
1988 Volga GAZ-24-10 interior rear view | Doug DeMuro via YouTube
APPROPRIATE: Americans still can’t get a Suzuki Jimny, but they can get a UAZ 4×4 Patriot.
Under the hood is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder carbureted engine that makes about 100 horsepower, reports Doug DeMuro. It’s no surprise that the 1988 Volga GAZ-24-10 isn’t fast, going 0-60 mph in about 19 seconds. Although, by 1970 standards, she’s pretty well behaved. The side mirrors are also small and difficult to adjust. In the words of Doug DeMuro: This is a rolling anachronism. But from the stories my parents told me about growing up under communism, it sounds very common.
Some survived the fall of the Iron Curtain.
As Doug DeMuro mentions in the video, it is extremely unlikely that a Volga GAZ-24 can be found in the US. These cars were durable, but not well made, and many of them simply rusted through in the former Soviet bloc.
APPROPRIATE: Bremach: The mysterious California car company that nobody knows about.
However, from time to time there are some for sale. In the past, two trailers worth $10,000 to $15,000 have been registered on the Bring a Trailer site. In 2016, an old GAZ-21 was auctioned in BaT, but it did not reach the $6600 mark.
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