WE AND THE CAR
85 YEARS BACK IN SIMONOVSKAYA SLOBOD
AMO PLANT LAUNCHED
TEXT / SERGEY KANUNNIKOV
Despite the wartime, the Petrograd-Moscow train arrived at its final destination on schedule. At the meeting, Dmitry Dmitrievich Bondarev, Director of the Joint-Stock Machine-Building Society (AMO) Plant Director, Sergey Pavlovich Ryabushinsky himself, a co-owner of a recently founded enterprise, arrived. Immediately from the Nikolaev station we went to Simonovskaya Sloboda. The driver stopped the spacious Protos at the edge of the field, and the passengers got out of it, although it was raining. “Here,” Sergey Pavlovich waved a light glove towards the Moscow River, from where the spring dank wind was pulling, “the city will be laid here!” Exactly one year later, in March 1917, the first cars should leave the gates of the new plant. There were more than good reasons for that.
The war showed: the Russian army is sorely lacking in cars. It was then that the military department decided to lay several companies at once - Russian Renault in Rybinsk, Aksaya in Nakhichevan, in addition, it was planned to produce cars in Yaroslavl's factory at V. A. Lebedev. In Moscow, at Fili, the management of the Russian-Baltic Wagon Plant (RBVZ), partially evacuated from Riga, and in the Simonov settlement “Partnership of Kuznetsov, Ryabushinsky and Co.” took over the organization of their production. All mentioned enterprises were partially financed by the state.
Incidentally, the eldest of the eight Ryabushinsky brothers, the head of the vast financial and industrial empire, the owner of the newspaper Utro Rossii, Pavel Pavlovich, was opposed to investing in the manufacture of automobiles. Glass factories, sawmills, a banking house with branches in many cities of Russia and, of course, textile manufactories, with which the founder of the dynasty, grandfather Mikhailo Yakovlevich, started, brought good income. At family dinners, Pavel Pavlovich used to say that cars are a windy fashion, it’s risky to invest in it, and “you won’t go outside without port, sorry.” But the brothers Sergey and Stepan stood their ground: all over the world the production of cars brings income, and considerable. In addition, a part of the money is provided by the military department, and further state orders are provided.
In the end, the brothers got down to business thoroughly and on a grand scale. Immediately after signing the agreement with the War Department, the Ryabushinsky bought for 4 million rubles a "forest cottage" from von Derviz - a plot of 138 square fathoms (64 hectares). This place was not chosen by chance for the plant: near the Moskva River, two railway lines (one, parallel to Simonov shaft, was laid recently), near the Kozhukhovo station. In addition, many skilled workers lived in the nearby villages of the Dynamo plants, A. Gan pipe rolling, and the Oka and Nobel oil depots. Almost the entire color of Russian engineering was invited to lead the Ryabushinsky plant.
Thirty-eight-year-old Dmitry Dmitrievich Bondarev was appointed director. A native of the Don village of Razdorskaya, a graduate of the Kharkov Institute of Technology (he, incidentally, was expelled for freethinking, so he completed the course only in 1909) headed the automobile department of the RBVZ. When the Riga enterprise was evacuated, he worked at the Promet factory in Petrograd. The Ryabushinsky offered Bondarev 40 thousand annual salary (nine times more than the general), the same amount of lifting and one hundred rubles for each produced car. The director could choose employees at his discretion. Bondarev’s metropolitan apartment turned into a design bureau, where former RBVZ employees worked on plans for a plant unprecedented by Russia - 1, 500, and later 3, 000 cars a year.
In the Simonovo settlement they decided to produce FIATs - a three-ton truck and a large passenger car for headquarters service. Within a couple of weeks after Bondarev’s move to Moscow, AMO engineers set off to purchase equipment in England, Sweden, and Denmark. And on August 2, 1916 (according to the old style - July 20), on Ilyin’s day, a symbolic stone was solemnly laid in the foundation of the plant.
By this day, construction has already gained full speed. They went to work willingly at AMO: a high salary, exemption from military service, for nonresident Ryabushinsky rented an eight-story house on Bolshaya Andronovka. At the same time, dwelling houses were erected: for single - apartment buildings, for family - small ones with plots for garden and vegetable garden. At the end of summer, Major General Krivoshein inspected the construction site and reported to the Military Department that the work was proceeding "in brilliant order."
In September, equipment was already imported to the workshops where interior decoration was in progress. But meeting the planned deadlines was incredibly difficult. The European factories loaded with military orders disrupted supplies, the two Germans sank ships with machine tools, and the Russian railways struggled to cope with military cargo. In order not to violate the terms of the contract, Ryabushinsky and Bondarev decided to buy car kits from FIAT. Three-ton preferred a cheaper and simple one and a half ton FIAT-15 Ter. These cars proved to be excellent during the colonial wars in Africa, quite a few of these trucks worked in Russia. The army was supposed to receive the first vehicles on time - in March 1917.
But in February it was no longer up to cars: strikes, rallies, endless elections to various councils began at the plant. On March 3, under the hoots and whistles, the crowds of Bondarev were driven out of the factory - they were taken out in a dirty car to the tram stop. True, he was soon asked to return, but the proud descendant of the Don Cossacks did not agree. He went home, served with the chieftain Kaledin. Friends, including colleague RBVZ famous aircraft designer Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky, called Dmitry Dmitrievich abroad. He refused: he designed and built Rostselmash, worked as the chief engineer of the Main Automotive and Tractor Administration. In 1935, Likhachev persuaded Bondarev to return - already to the VMS, to the factory reconstruction bureau. Two years later, he was arrested, and soon shot …
In 1917, the plant was on the verge of closure. In order to somehow continue the work, even autorot soldiers had to be involved. Nevertheless, by the fall, the construction of the buildings was almost completed, about 85% of the equipment was delivered, and half were installed. However, the plant was not able to work at full capacity. Having assembled FIATs from Italian parts, then AMO began to repair various-sized cars. In 1917, 432 cars got out of the gates of the plant.
In May 1918, even before the decree on nationalization, the plant passed into government control. Formally, anarchy ended, but until the present start-up of the plant there were still six long years. All these years, AMO has been repairing tractors, motorcycles and cars, mainly American White trucks. The equipment purchased by Ryabushinsky made it possible to make serious parts, even cylinder blocks. In the years 1917-1919. The factory assembled and repaired 1319 cars. In 1920, they tried to take up the tanks, and in 1924 they built five bus bodies on the “White” chassis.
On the night of November 1, 1924, the first truck of the F15 model was assembled at AMO, created on the basis of an old friend - FIAT-15 Ter. A new history of the enterprise began.
Since then, the plant has undergone reconstruction, a change of directors, and in the last decade, even the owners. And yet, the foundation of the current AMO-ZIL, which is not going through the best of times, is the very stones that were laid 85 years ago …
FIAT-15 Ter (1912 version). A one and a half ton truck with a 35-horsepower (4398 cm3) engine with a capacity of 35 liters. with. developed 47 km / h.
Top left. Dmitry Dmirievich Bondarev - the first director of AMO.
The passenger FIAT, assembled at the AMO (apparently, Tipo-4, 45 hp, 5699 cm3), in the autumn of 1917 served on the Moscow Military Revolutionary Committee.
White, overhauled at AMO. Carrying capacity - 3 tons, engine (3684 cm3) with a capacity of 30 liters. sec., maximum speed - 21 km / h.