WHITE TOP BLACK BOTTOM
It is difficult to imagine a car less adapted for racing than the 21st Volga. True, in the years of her youth in the world there were many similar sedans - imposing and spacious. But on the racetracks brought them extremely rarely. In the USSR, the "Volga" competed not only with each other, but also with the "Muscovites", and at international rallies they even met sport-coupes tailored exclusively for speed. Those who found domestic races in the 21's will never forget an exciting spectacle: screeching tires, banks, deep drifts …
My car goes almost the same, because the suspension here is standard, although the shock absorbers are clearly stiffer than the serial ones. But the light and huge steering wheel just have time to rotate. But we have a training regime, which is not at all characteristic of the battles of real racers of the 1960s, who in ordinary life were ordinary drivers, taxi drivers, and testers.
In the winter of 1964, two Muscovites-403 and three Volga entered Monaco, the capital of world motorsport. GAZ-M-21 were painted in colors, which became for some time the branded gas for foreign competitions. A bit like a school physical education form, but the “Volga” in it looks quite noble.
On the "Volga" on the Monte Carlo Rally came crews Vaskovich - Dobrovolsky (the son of the famous gas photographer), Mosolov - Degtyarev and Tenishev - Dmitrievsky. They started from Minsk, which was included in the list of cities of the traditional "star camp" for this competition. On the roofs were spotlight-seekers, controlled by navigators. Almost the first time they used seat belts, on two cars - even imported sports seats. The rest of the 21s were almost serial. Even winter tires were bought only in Reims.
The horn ring was removed: without it, it’s more convenient to quickly turn the steering wheel. The lever of the four-speed gearbox is in the floor. The horn ring was removed: without it, it’s more convenient to quickly turn the steering wheel. The lever of the four-speed gearbox is in the floor.
To spend less currency, put 150-liter tanks in the trunk. Where possible, shoved parts and tools. They even took the factory tires they had taken with them - the authorities ordered not to leave anything. Opponents, seeing all this, twisted a finger at the temple. How the Russians were going to race in the mountains with such a load, they did not understand, because the usual 80-horsepower engine was to pull the load. By the way, the “Mini Cooper” winner that year, Paddy Hopkirk, who started with ours from Minsk, had 10 kg of curb weight per horsepower, and “Volga” - 17 kg.
WILL TO “VOLGA”
This “Volga” is one of four that were prepared in Latvia already in our time in accordance with the requirements of the historical Monte Carlo Rally. Only cars that have participated in the legendary competition at least once are allowed there. Cars, in general, were not far from prototypes from the mid-1960s. True, the engine was boosted to 112 hp, and the gearbox from the “twenty-four” was four-speed, with a lever in the floor. Native, drum brakes, but with hydraulic booster. Plus modern racing seats, belts and safety features. That's all the changes in the “Volga”, launched at the beginning of last year, among almost 300 participants of the retro rally.
Manageability remains the same, and the gearbox, from which you can’t assemble it, it’s better not to force it and switch more carefully.
From overheating, drum brakes, according to the rally participants, were saved by snow. Although for cooling made small slots in the rims and drums.
You can blame the Volga for a lot of things, but it is honest. It behaves according to the classic rear-wheel drive canons. And it doesn’t let you relax. A beautiful skid can always end with a loose feed even on a dry track, and snow and ice are common in the mountains near Monte Carlo. Well, the character of athletes is usually difficult. And GAZ-21, whatever one may say, deserves the title of Honored Master of Sports.
ON THE OLD LEGEND
In 1964, not one of the Soviet cars received the final standings - they did not meet the norm of time. The next year, two “Muscovites” again arrived in Monte Carlo with two “Volga” crews Karamyshev - Zimmerman and Mosolov - Dobrovolsky. Not a single crew finished the distance. Since then, Soviet racers did not go to Monaco.
No modern GPS navigators! Navigational instruments are in perfect harmony with the car and with the spirit of the historical rally. No modern GPS navigators! Navigational instruments are in perfect harmony with the car and with the spirit of the historical rally.
Do not blame our athletes, engineers, and even motorsport leaders. They did everything they could. Drivers and navigators who went in training with their knees drawn and amazed European gas station staff, demanding a copy of checks (so, despite the rally schedule, the authorities ordered!), They fought with foreign aces, mountainous snow-covered roads and their own cars, laying out on everything hundred. Leaders also wanted the best. It's just that they both lived in a completely different world.
"Volga" several times went to international competitions. The most successful was the performance of Karamyshev and Dobrovolsky in the Swedish Midnight Sun in 1964. But the best result - 16th place in the absolute in the rally "Thousand Lakes" - brought back in 1962, one Finnish crew who chose the Volga. By the way, at the London-Sydney marathon in 1968, at first, they also planned to send the Volga. They thought that the GAZ-21 was much stronger and tighter than the then-new Moskvich-412. But since the export potential of Volga was exhausted, nevertheless, more promising Muscovites detached themselves. But in the all-Union competitions of the 21st, to the delight of the audience, they participated until the mid-1970s.
After almost half a century, the performance of the GAZ-21 in Monte Carlo was much more successful. All four Russian Racing Team cars reached the finish line. The best result - 95th place among the 214 finishing crews.
Could those who led their 21st along these mountains in the mid-1960s could have imagined that 48 years later their restless descendants would make the same journey on the same machines. Hardly. But they probably would have liked it …