DESIGN: EXTENDED VEHICLE
ANATOLY FOMIN. PHOTO OF THE AUTHOR
"GAZ considers it unacceptable to re-equip a car without approval from the plant."
Oleg Filimonov, chief designer of trucks - deputy chief designer of GAZ OJSC.
You also probably saw these cars - unusually long passenger "gazelles". To learn about their origin was curious, but not too simple. The Internet was powerless, and there is practically no advertising.
Our own investigation showed that you can find at least two varieties of cars with the indices ATS-3287-0000010 and ATS-3274-0000010. The end result of detective work turned out to be successful: it was possible to find out that the 20-seater ATS-3287 was produced by the "Automotive Plant of Small Series". It was produced - until February 2004. His representatives did not make contact. However, according to the documents (and they still managed to look at them) everything is in order - the registration certificate clearly indicates the index and characteristics: 20 passengers and 4110 kg of full weight.
What did the designer say?
A few months ago, in a conversation with the chief designer of GAZ trucks Oleg Filimonov, the author asked about the origin of 20-seater cars and the possibility of creating modifications with increased carrying capacity in the gazelle family. The answer was categorically negative: the dimension of the nodes is not designed for heavy versions - the total weight should not exceed 3500 kg! According to the chief, there will certainly be problems with brakes and handling, and possibly steering. That sounds scary. So no two-ton trucks and 20-seater buses?
Indeed, an increase in total mass of 600 kg cannot pass without a trace. Especially for the front suspension, which will have 1540 kg instead of the estimated 1240 kg. Here, even the tires need others. However, this is just the least of the problems - 185 / 75R16C tires with a load index of 104 are produced in abundance in Russia. You can not put only the old, narrow tires 175R16C with an index of 98.
How can one not recall the long Gazelle shown at MIMS 2004, made directly at the factory! But this is nothing more than a concept, according to Nizhny Novgorod, so there is no contradiction.
If the first stage of the investigation did not succeed, then the second thread pulled unexpectedly easily - the official dealer of GAZ Avtoservice Center let out cars with an index of 3274 in Nizhny Novgorod. Its 20-seater cars are recognizable by the hinged side door (on other buses it is standard, sliding). A total of 35 such have been manufactured. Currently, the Auto Service Center produces only a 12-seater version of the long Gazelle. The production of 17- and 20-seater cars has been discontinued, although there is a “Type Approval” under the number 00013607 on them. The reason is clear: new requirements have come into effect since June. Buses for route transportation should be equipped with anti-lock brakes, and it is placed only on minibuses. Long-wheel vehicles were made from GAZ-2705 cargo vans, which ABS are not equipped. In addition, 20- and 17-seater cars go beyond the 3.5-tonne weight limit.
An extended bus for 12 passengers fits into the factory requirements. We will meet him.
STRETCH FUR, BELL!
Inside, a dozen passenger seats with adjustable backrests, head restraints and armrests from the 6-seater Sable. Only three fit in width, and two with a passage, so I had to use an additional 1260 mm of length in full to install five rows. Each seat has safety belts, the benefit of their installation does not cause difficulties - regular mounting points are suitable. Another feature is the electric sliding door. Now the driver opens it and closes it at the touch of a button.
The difference in acceleration dynamics compared to the usual "Gazelle" is barely noticeable, as is the change in the smoothness of the unloaded car. Maneuverability, of course, decreased, since with a wheelbase of 4160 mm against the standard 2900 and constant angles of rotation of the wheels, an increase in the turning radius by about 40% follows from the simplest geometric problem.
The extension of the base precisely by 1260 mm is explained simply: this is the length of one section of the body. By the way, the on-board versions of the "gazelles" are extended by only 900 mm. The technological process is simple: the van arriving at the Auto Service Center is disassembled and removed from the frame. After that, the frame goes to the neighboring workshop, where it is cut and extended, and the body sawn across is installed on the stock for assembly. While new floor and ceiling panels are being welded next to the frame, work is underway on the frame. "Auto Service Center" orders a special profile, the dimensions and strength of which correspond to the material of the original frame. The results of more than a year of operation of 20-seater cars did not reveal any serious defects, but the average front suspension bulkhead was reduced from 120 to 70 thousand kilometers.
NOTES BY AN EXTERNAL
Whatever you say, a long car is a kind of application for a larger number of seats, for a large mass, etc. If you can’t, but really want it, then you can - the popular saying goes. Alas, for official documents this wording is unacceptable. There are different points of view - GAZ adheres to a cautious and conservative position, and this is understandable. Who knows better than his own brainchild, its capabilities and reserves?
At the same time, due to understandable technological reasons, GAZ cannot quickly and flexibly create hundreds of modifications of its car, filling the smallest market segments. There is a demand for a 17- and 20-seat Gazelle, this is obvious. Moreover, its main application will surely be suburban and city (route) transportation.
Is it possible or impossible? Today, the answer is unequivocal - certification of a new vehicle made on the basis of a production car is impossible without the approval of the manufacturer.