1954 GAZ M-20 Pobeda: From Russia With Love?

1954

Stalin’s favorite car was said to be a Gaz M-20 like this one listed here on eBay in Russia, “Барнаул, Алтайский край,” wherever that is. Pobeda is a Slavic word for “Victory”, the car was designed during the war for post war Russia, after the assumed victory. It was a modern car, with features like electric windshield wipers and 4 wheel hydraulic brakes, but the quality was very poor on the first cars (can you imagine a car that was poor by Russian standards!). Production was halted and the car redesigned and when production resumed after a few years, they were a lot better.

Gazbefore

This is the Pobeda when it was purchased in 1994. Shortly after this, the restoration was started. Over the years it appears they have done a lot of metal work and repaired a lot of the mechanical components. They couldn’t repair the engine, so they replaced it with a later model. The seller notes that the price includes a parts car and the original engine, but does not include shipping.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Mark E

    Imagine! Selling a car in Russia and NOT including shipping! The nerve!

  2. Patrick McC.

    Leave it there…

  3. Tirefriar

    Can’t speak on whether this was Stalin’s favorite car but it was actually built on the Opel production lines expropriated from Germany after the war and relocated to USSR. I believe Pobeda was closely based on Opel Kapitan. Initial production cars were all taxis or designated for government use. There were 4 wheel drive variant as well. This would have been the Buick of the Soviet cars. There was also Moskvitch 401 that was a copy of the Opel Kadette which was a step below the Pobeda.

    To put it into perspective, this particular car was built only nine years after WW2 in a country that was almost obliterated by the German army. They were still finding mass graves and people were loosing their lives to live ammo found in civilian building basements. So anything that moved on under its own power was a prized possession. Pobeda assembly line was sold to Poland where it was called Zastava and sold quite well.

    This Pobeda may look decent on the outside but is rather butchered on the inside. The dash is heavily modified with most of the chrome trimming gone and so is the beautiful white steering wheel with center horn ring (don’t recall the material but easy to look up). M20 is now the darling of the Russia’s car restorers with perfect examples running upwards of $35k.

    • Zoli

      Tirefriar,
      Zastava is not Polish. You were thinking of Warsawa.
      Zastavas were made in Kragujevac in the former Yugoslavia, now Serbia.

      • Tirefriar

        You are correct my friend. And it’s a beautiful city!

  4. RayT Member

    This is just nutball enough to appeal to me. I’ve driven a few East Bloc cars in the past, and all were uniformly awful, but bad enough to be fun.

    Too far away, though, and — by the time it’s bought, shipped, duty paid, etc. — too spendy to be fun. Truth be told, I’d rather have a Moskvich, Chaika, Wartburg, Hong Qui or even a Zaprozhets. Or, if I was really going to be flashy, a Stalin-era ZIL.

    Yup, I like the Nut Stuff. That’s part of the reason I love BF!

    • tirefriar

      Ray, I would agree with your choices but for the ZAZ – called “Zapor” for short by the Russians it was the car they loved to hate. BTW, “Zapor” translates as “constipation” in russian. Very befitting of the ZAZ model family.

  5. Fred

    For those of you who love this stuff and may not be aware of it’s existence, there is a museum near me in Nashville (Lane Motor Museum) that is HUGE and full of the most obscure European cars you will ever see. This month’s special exhibit is “90 years of Citroen”. And there are Tatra’s galore. http://www.lanemotormuseum.org

    • josh h

      Now that is my kind of car museum!

  6. Mike R

    Well, you would certainly have the only one at a car show!

    The taillights look vaguely familiar, which American car did they model them from? Packard? Plymouth?

  7. brakeservo

    Is it just ignorant arrogance or xenophobic egotism that compels so many people (most, if not all who have never owned or driven a Soviet car) to speak authoritatively that they are all junk with very poor build quality (hmmm, sounds a lot like the American automotive industry to me)?

    I have experience with several Soviet Communist regime cars so hopefully my experience based opinion is a little more valid than the typical commentor’s blind screed.

    The build quality of my old Russian GAZ 13 Chaika was superior to ANY other car I’ve ever owned, and that’s included Mercedes, Porsche, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari and Toyota. And my Tatra 603’s showed such innovative engineering and superior quality that they easily equaled the best of any German car I’ve ever owned too.

    There was a reason the Russians beat us into space with both Sputnik and their early space program. Yes, we did a major face saving and got to the moon, but at what cost??

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