This is the second part of our time travel. The first one was here.
Six months before October 1917, when what happened, what the leaders of the Bolsheviks initially called the coup, and later called the Great October Socialist Revolution, an event occurred that can be considered a landmark for the country's automotive life. The workers of the AMO plant, which was already almost completed and gradually began to work, were taken out on a dirty wheelbarrow to the tram stop by the director of the enterprise, talented engineer and organizer Dmitry Dmitrievich Bondarev: the indignant proletarians who were delayed after hearing about future reductions decided that in all troubles factory leaders are to blame. The wages of the workers, of course, did not increase. And the domestic auto industry did not develop faster.
In our country, the concept of "personal car" for several long decades actually ceased to exist. By the fall of 1917, the last dealers of foreign companies disappeared, as did the class of people who were their customers. The supplies of imported equipment that the warring army so needed were cut off. Soldiers, sailors and all kinds of deputies began to select cars from private owners in the spring of 1917.
| A new revolutionary application to the large and powerful 60 strong Fiat. A new revolutionary application to the large and powerful 60 strong Fiat.|| On Red Square - a car from among those that in Soviet times it was customary to call BTAZ 1 or Prombronn. In fact, this is a little modified in 1922 Russo-Balt S24 / 40. On Red Square - a car from among those that in Soviet times it was customary to call BTAZ 1 or Prombronn. In fact, this is a little modified in 1922 Russo-Balt S24 / 40.
Requisitioned, including from the garage of the last Russian emperor, cars made up a fleet of new leaders at all levels, police officers and other "people with a gun." But many of these cars, including the most prestigious brands of those years Renault, Delaunay-Belleville (these French cars were especially welcomed by Nicholas II), Mercedes and Rolls-Royce, were already hackneyed, requiring constant maintenance, repair and spare parts. As soon as the civil war ended, they began to buy cars abroad (mainly in the UK), again the most prestigious brands. Including Rolls-Royce, which was sung by the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.
Soon, the new government took care of updating its own fleet. In 1924, in the Moscow garage of the Council of People's Commissars there were already eight fresh (they were bought in Britain new or not very used) Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP models, known as Silver Ghost. Both American Packard and Lincoln bought it, met even Hispano-Suiza luxury French cars in the capital in the 1920s. By the end of the 1920s, there were already a lot of chic cars in Moscow, which ordinary people marveled at. Here is how the Czech writer Adolf Hoffmeister described the impressions of his next visit to Moscow: "I have never seen such a Rolls-Royce cluster that I observed one evening on the embankment of the Moscow River." For executives of a lower rank, they purchased cheaper imported cars.
| The first requisition began in the February revolution. Soldiers and all kinds of deputies got at their disposal prestigious imported cars - for example, this French car Turcat-Méry. The first requisition began in the February revolution. Soldiers and all kinds of deputies got at their disposal prestigious imported cars - for example, this French car Turcat-Méry.|| White American trucks with a 30 horsepower engine were repaired with the widespread use of domestic components at AMO in 1918–1924. A total of 131 cars were made. White American trucks with a 30 horsepower engine were repaired with the widespread use of domestic components at AMO in 1918–1924. A total of 131 cars were made.
The authorities were provided with cars, but the transportation problems of the vast country remained unresolved. Already in the mid-1920s, the USSR, although it “disowned the old world, ” began to buy buses - in the capital, in particular, British nosed British Leylands were traveling, Renault cars for a Moscow taxi, Amilcar light French cars for picking up letters from mailboxes, ambulances Mercedes-Benz 400 and other foreign cars. But the currency for mass motorization of the country was sorely lacking. I needed my own industry.
The slogan from the famous novel by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov “The Golden Calf” was indeed one of the leitmotifs of Soviet life in the 1920s. But the slogans and enthusiasm for motorization was not enough.Related Materials For the first time in the USSR: from four-wheel drive to automatic transmission
The factories founded during World War I were unfinished. The Russian-Baltic Plant, the most powerful automobile plant in the Russian Empire, was evacuated from Riga to Tver (car manufacturing), St. Petersburg and Moscow, to the Fili district. In St. Petersburg, individual specimens of Russo-Balt C24 / 40 were collected until about 1919, but this could not be called full-fledged production. The Filevsky plant, renamed BTAZ 1 (Armored Car Plant) and included in the Prombron association, in 1922 made four more pre-revolutionary models, but slightly modernized Russo-Balt S24 / 40, the first of which was solemnly presented to the Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee Mikhail Kalinin.
Production focused primarily on the needs of the Red Army. Of course, there was no talk of any sale of cars to the public! In addition, the Fili factory, which had only a small part of the equipment exported from Riga, was not capable of mass production of cars even in modest, at least pre-revolutionary volumes. Already in 1923, BTAZ 1 was redesigned - it was concessioned to the German aviation company Junkers, and at the BTAZ 2 plant (located near Preobrazhenskaya Zastava), another twenty-two slightly modernized pre-war vehicles were manufactured in 1925-1926.
| AMO-F15, the first car of the AMO factory, completely made from domestic components, was manufactured on November 1, 1924. In fact, this is the Italian Fiat 15 Ter, by that time already ten years old. AMO-F15, the first car of the AMO factory, completely made from domestic components, was manufactured on November 1, 1924. In fact, this is the Italian Fiat 15 Ter, by that time already ten years old.|| Eleven staff vehicles were made on the basis of AMO-F15 for the leadership of the Red Army. Eleven staff vehicles were made on the basis of AMO-F15 for the leadership of the Red Army.
Not only production capacities, but also lacked experience. After all, even the small that they managed to accumulate before the revolution was lost, the new leaders did not want to deal with specialists of non-proletarian origin - from the former, as they said then. Say, with the same Dmitry Bondarev, who was kicked out of the AMO plant. By the way, the Ryabushinsky during the First World War gathered the best specialists at the AMO, achieved the release of skilled workers from military conscription, began to build housing for workers and employees of the plant …
Since 1918, American White trucks, which were purchased in large quantities for the army during the war, were slowly being repaired at AMO. From the repair, which at first was reduced to the assembly of one machine from several worn out and plundered, slowly proceeded to the manufacture of missing parts. Even the cylinder blocks began to pour, however, with great difficulty. Learned how to make copies of Zenith carburetors.
| The first bus on the AMO chassis was assembled in 1925. In six years, only 192 such machines were mastered. The first bus on the AMO chassis was assembled in 1925. In six years, only 192 such machines were mastered.|| In the 1920s, British Leyland buses and German Bussing buses worked in Moscow. Own bodies under the German triaxial Bussing chassis were made by the Moscow Aremkuz plant. In the 1920s, British Leyland buses and German Bussing buses worked in Moscow. Own bodies under the German triaxial Bussing chassis were made by the Moscow Aremkuz plant.
In Moscow, a batch of Italian one-and-a-half-ton trucks Fiat 15 Ter of the 1915 model was also assembled - these were exactly the machines that the Moscow plant founded by the Ryabushinsky brothers should have made. But while the shops were being completed and re-equipped, we bought a batch of Italian assembly kits (cargo platforms were made at AMO), which, however, ended by 1919.
Only five years later, on November 1, 1924, the first AMO-F15 was manufactured at the cost of tremendous effort. It, in fact, was all the same Fiat design of 1915, but made entirely of domestic components. And on November 7, the first AMOs, of course, participated in a demonstration on Red Square.Related Materials The revival of brands and models: successes and failures
This truck in Soviet times became a kind of fetish - a symbol of the birth of the mighty Soviet automobile industry. Sometimes it was called even the first domestic car. But, strictly speaking, AMO was not the first Soviet one either. Rousseau-Balta, made in Petrograd between 1917 and 1919 and in 1922 at the BTAZ Moscow plant, will be called a stretch with some stretch.
On the basis of AMO-F15, buses, fire trucks, and postal vans, so needed by the country, were made. They collected even a little more than a dozen passenger headquarters vehicles. But all this is a drop in the ocean. In 1928, they reported on the release in Moscow of only a thousandth truck.
The Yaroslavl plant, founded during the First World War by the famous Russian engineer and entrepreneur Vladimir Lebedev, was supposed to produce cars designed by the British company Crosley (Crosley). But by 1917, the degree of readiness of the plant was much lower than that of the Moscow AMO. Only by 1925 did they manage to start production of three-tonne trucks I 3, which were again based on the American White (White). Since there was simply no other engine in the USSR, I installed a 42 strong AMO-F15 unit on I 3, which hardly accelerated the car to 38 km / h. In the first three years of operation, the Yaroslavl plant assembled only 160 trucks and chassis.The first Yaroslavl truck I 3 was based on the design of the American three-ton White. The poorly equipped factory in Yaroslavl in the years 1925-1928 assembled only 160 cars. The first Yaroslavl truck I 3 was based on the design of the American three-ton White. The poorly equipped factory in Yaroslavl in the years 1925-1928 assembled only 160 cars.
In 1927, the production of new Soviet cars began in Moscow. The design was developed at the NAMI Institute, founded in 1921. The impetus was the graduation project of the young engineer Konstantin Sharapov, which, in essence, was a simple and cheap Czechoslovak subcompact Tatra 11, adapted to local conditions.
US 1 was for its class quite modern, and in part even an advanced car. The body stood on a light tubular spinal frame, the suspension is independent. The air-cooled V2 engine had a displacement of 1.16 liters and produced 18.5 hp, and later 20.5 hp. True, the car lacked a differential, but such a simple design on some European subcompacts was used even in the first half of the 1930s.
| Engineers Karelsky and Petrov, employees of NAMI, made in 1925 a funny car-tandem Kar-a Pet with a motorcycle engine (in Europe such designs were then called cyclecar - cyclecar). They didn’t plan to produce Kar-a Pet; Apparently, he embodied the dream of his own car. At least about this. Engineers Karelsky and Petrov, employees of NAMI, made in 1925 a funny car-tandem Kar-a Pet with a motorcycle engine (in Europe such designs were then called cyclecar - cyclecar). They didn’t plan to produce Kar-a Pet; Apparently, he embodied the dream of his own car. At least about this.|| The first chassis of the first Soviet production subcompact NAMI 1 was assembled on May 1, 1927. The first chassis of the first Soviet production subcompact NAMI 1 was assembled on May 1, 1927.
The release of US 1 was established in Moscow, in the Karetny Ryad, at the State Automobile Plant No. 4 (GAZ 4), also known as Spartak (before the revolution, body workshops by Pyotr Ilyin). Details for NAMI 1 were made by AMO and BTAZ 2. Production was semi-artisanal, and the quality of the cars was such that, in particular, in the magazine “Behind the Wheel”, even unbalanced Soviet drivers criticized them. Nevertheless, the press began to talk about increasing production to as many as 150 thousand cars a year, and even about the possibility of private owners appearing! As the poet wrote, there are a lot of plans … We will come back to US 1. In the meantime, remember the first Soviet private motorists.
It was Mayakovsky who became one of the first (if not the first!) Private motorists in the USSR, and his girlfriend Lilya Brik - the first Muscovite to receive a driver’s license. However, Lily usually used the services of a driver, and the poet generally did not drive.
Nevertheless, Mayakovsky brought from Paris a new Renault NN 6 CV sedan, bought for fees from foreign publications and performances. But in addition to solvency, the poet, of course, required the permission of the government. It favorably resolved. Even when the country headed for a new economic policy (NEP), which markedly improved the situation in the country, strengthened the ruble and contributed to the formation of a wealthy layer, it was impossible to buy a new car without government authorization.
| Lilya Brik and one of the few private cars in Moscow in the 1920s - Renault NN, brought from Paris by Vladimir Mayakovsky. Lilya Brik and one of the few private cars in Moscow in the 1920s - Renault NN, brought from Paris by Vladimir Mayakovsky.|| US 1 with a V2 air vent with a power of 18.5 hp in a test run. US 1 with a V2 air vent with a power of 18.5 hp in a test run.
Perhaps you remember how the hero of the novel by Ilf and Petrov Ostap Bender complained to the cheerful car enthusiast Adam Kazimirovich Kozlevich: “The state does not consider me a buyer. I am a private person. The only thing that could be obtained by announcement in the newspaper is the same junk as our Antelope. ” For several decades, only a few will be the owners of new cars - citizens close to the leadership of the state, mainly writers and poets (say, Demyan Poor), scientists, and artists of all kinds.
But even in the late 1920s, especially hot romantics timidly began to write about a mass car for a Soviet person. It was about the above mentioned US 1 and its successor NATI 2. The advanced NATI 2 with 22 powerful V4 engine was planned to be made not in Moscow, but in Izhevsk, where there were plenty of qualified personnel, at the Izhstal plant. But production was not established, and in the conditions in which the country was located, it was quite logical.
| For the leadership of the CPSU and the All-Russian Central Executive Committee in the 1920s, they purchased the most prestigious cars made in Europe and the USA. Especially at that time, the leaders valued British Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP cars. For the leadership of the CPSU and the All-Russian Central Executive Committee in the 1920s, they purchased the most prestigious cars made in Europe and the USA. Especially at that time, the leaders valued British Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP cars.|| WE were made at the former Ilyin factory in Moscow, in the Karetny Ryad. Serially, but on a very modest scale. WE were made at the former Ilyin factory in Moscow, in the Karetny Ryad. Serially, but on a very modest scale.
In 1928, an engineer, a popularizer of automobiles, and in the future academician Yevgeny Chudakov noted: approximately 20, 600 automobiles are in operation in the USSR, 319 thousand in Germany, 891 thousand in France, more than a million in the UK, and about 22 in the USA millions.
In the USSR, everything was still semi-handicraft, in scanty quantities they produced hundreds of cars a year, and mostly still pre-war models, which were pretty outdated. This situation could be changed only by the purchase of not only more modern imported structures, but also technologies. Corresponding agreements were concluded with the American company Autocar (its trucks formed the basis of the new generation of Soviet AMOs, soon renamed ZIS) and with the giant Ford. The assembly of Fords from car kits was established in Kharkov, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. And already in 1932, a powerful full-fledged plant started operating in Nizhny, where they launched the mass production of Soviet passenger cars and GAZ trucks - licensed Ford cars.