Russian Into summer: GAZ M-20 Pobeda Convertible

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a Pobeda and this one certainly deserves attention. Why would anyone in Russia want a convertible? Work started on the Pobeda during the war and was one the first Russian-designed cars. The front suspension and perhaps the unitized body were influenced by the 1938 Opel Kapitän, but the body design was Russian and used Russian body dies. The “Ponton” or slab-sided styling ahead of several American car companies. They had electric turn signals, electric wipers, a radio, hydraulic brakes and other modern features. So, why a convertible? They certainly didn’t sell well and were only produced from 1949 until 1953. It’s said that the Russians sheet metal production was limited due to war damage and a convertible was one way to use less sheet metal. This rare convertible is listed on eBay with current bidding not much over $1000 at this time with no reserve. But before you start thinking what a great deal this is, you either have to move to Russia to enjoy it or have it shipped from Sochi, Russia.

This Gaz was restored 3 years ago and the car was displayed, so the interior is in great condition.

The unusual layout and color combination make this dash, well, unique. It does look nicely restored.

That’s a 50 horsepower flathead four. It’s a bit dusty and there’s a little seepage around the head bolts, but it looks like a nice restoration overall.

It is a cute little car and would leave most folks puzzled at any car show. The body panels were formed on wooden bucks, so the fit is not great. It almost looks like a miniature die cast model. I can’t imagine any of our readers will be bidding on this, but you never know. I hope any bidders will have read the entire description and read that the car is not really in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as stated but really is in Russia as revealed later in the description.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. L.M.K. Member

    Nice write up…Never saw one of these….

  2. Joe Haska

    What a unique and unusual car, it looks like some of the influence was from 46- 48 Chevy’s, especially the dash, and grill. It would sell in a heart beat if you could drive it back from Russia! Even if you could afford to ship it, what would be all the hoops, you would have to jump through, and be able to register it, and drive it? Does anyone Know? I am curious, I don’t have a clue!

  3. Joe Haska

    Guess I should have read the e-bay ad before my question about shipping. Although it doesn’t mention the cost, why doesn’t someone contact them and let us all know. Maybe it would be so cheap, you would have to buy it. If I had it, I would just tell everyone its a 47 Chevrolet, and I did all the work on it myself. Maybe, I could win Goodguy’s custom of the year!

  4. L.M.K. Member

    Keep your day job !

  5. RayT Member

    I want this, comrades! Not even going to suggest a SBC transplant. If I could buy it, I’d just put the top down and look for Willys MB drivers to race with….

    Assuming you get a title, and know someone who can translate from Russian, should be no problem registering it. Shipping would probably be a bit pricey, though.

    If I ever hit the Powerball on a big night, this would be the perfect cornerstone for my Museum of East Bloc Wackmobiles!

  6. Joe Haska

    Should have read e-bay ad, and called and asked how much to ship? Could it be so cheap, you would do it. Once you got it, you could enter it in Custom Car Shows and tell everyone you built it out of a 1947 Chevrolet. Who knows you might win Goodguy’s Custom of the year or the Riddler, yeah, that might be a stretch!

  7. LAB3

    That was my impression too! I’ve seen several ads for Dnepr (Ural in the USA) two wheel drive sidecar motorcycles at rock bottom prices on eBay. The old adage is of it’s too good to be true it probably is! Besides, I’ve seen a Dnepr for sale before, no chance at getting a title without a vin plate. My guess is that might also apply here as well. If you really wanted to to you could try for a special construction title, good luck with getting insurance.

  8. Michael Kazakov

    Shipping is not that big of a deal, maybe $3k to any port on the East Coast. You can import it easily (well, that is until you get to see a blue-haired lady at your local DMV…..) under 25 y.o. rule – done it before with a couple of cars from Japan and UK. Car is slow (ask me how I know….) but the convertible body makes it a VERY rare find (I grew up in Russia). Parts are easily sourced and some are interchangeable with newer Gaz-21 and Gaz-24 Volgas. I’d be surprised if it sells under $15k as there’s been a resurging interested in USSR-era cars over there in Russia recently

  9. Ken Carney

    Reminds me of a ’46 Kaiser or Frazier.
    Still a very nice resto job on a very rare
    car. I have to wonder though, where did
    they get the parts to restore it. From what I’ve read, parts for these cars no longer exist and have to be fabricated by
    hand. If I couldn’t get a Tchika, I’d take
    one of these.

  10. Scotty Staff

    That’s one heck of a car for less than $5,000! Nice find, David.

    • Dave Wright

      That wasn’t a “heck of a car” new………did you ever see the Anthony Bourdain piece he did somewhere in the eastern block where he drove one? Pretty bad stuff. The Russian leaders all collect American and European cars for a reason.

      • David

        At least this one isn’t made of that cardboard like substance (infused with resin?) like the one Anthony was driving!

  11. Jesper

    Nice find. Rare in cabrio.
    I live in Dresden east Germany. Here they are not super rare.
    Last year i was in Bremen for buying one. The price was only 1500€. It was wery org. With the right flat four, but body work was bad made. So left it.
    Dum 1500 was nothing for that thing.
    It look a bit like my Standard Vanguard, but the Rushians was first, so no copy there.

  12. David

    Not rare? So you see Pobeda convertibles?

  13. Jesper

    Ok. They are rare, but not the normal saloon.
    And again when is a car rare?
    No them we also dont se every day.
    But compare with feks. The newer Volga, so they are rare

  14. Jesper

    And again. Read my first line again.

  15. Righteous Bob

    Seems a whole lot Fishy to me, shipping quote is less than 400.00 bucks and location is MN???

  16. Jesper

    3000$ fits better.

  17. Mitchell Ross Member

    Not $400 and not $3000. Somewhere in the middle. Put a Niva in the container with it. Whole container should be $3000

  18. Marshall

    I would have to agree that the deal kind a looks fishy to me as well, after looking at the eBay ad. For one thing, they say that they will pay for the escrow.

  19. tirefriar

    Appears to be a very good example of the M20 cabriolet in a desirable color. Cabrio was not the first choice in CCCP due to weather conditions and the soft top made it easier to break into or vandalize. As Michael Kazakov points out, there is a resurgence in of the Soviet era automobiles in Mother Russia. As for the value of this car, I’d guess somewhere in the high 20’s but on the Russian market. Basing my guess on the fact that the most popular retro USSR model is Gaz21, hero of many movies and an unobtainable dream of millions of hard working soviets. Gaz 21 in a properly restored condition often fetch over $30k.

    I would be very wary with this particular sale. First, there is very limited information on this car. I went through the seller’s history, this is quite a jump from the usual items that he sold previously. Car being in Russia, need to make sure that the car actually belongs to the person selling the car. Its a common practice to operate and sell the car “po doverennosti” or through power of attorney. Last thing you want to happen after paying your hard earned American dollars for this car is to find out that the seller is not the factual owner of the car. Also, need to make sure that this car is “free and clear” of any designations, such as item of cultural value thus not available for export. As in any line of business, if you are set on finding one hook up with a reputable broker in Russia or find one in the western former Soviet republics or countries of the Warsaw pact.

  20. Bill McCoskey

    Tire Friar – you are so right on many points. I’ve brought out a few Soviet Bloc cars over the last 25 years, and a few that I had to sell back or forego my deposit as I was unable to get them out. [Gaz 12 Zim cabrio limo, Tatra T-87, and Gaz 14 cabrio limo come to mind!] The 2 cabrio long wheel base cars were ex-government, & declared historical. would have cost me at least another $10 grand each to get the paperwork changed.

    As for the Opel comments in the barn finds listing, the entire pre-war Opel factory was disassembled & taken back to Russia and used to produce the new Pobeda cars. While the first ones looked just like the pre-war Opels, by the time this car was manufactured, they had a new outer shell, but the mechanicals and chassis were the from the old pre-war car.

    For anyone wanting to look into ownership of a Soviet Bloc automobile, I highly suggest checking with the Soviet Bloc car clubs in the UK, they are very involved in obtaining good examples, plus spare parts, from Trabant to Tatra, ZIL, ZIS or ZIM.

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