Driving a GAZ-M1 car, which is 63 years old.
Photo by Vladimir Knyazev
She looked reproachfully with big headlights, like a kind loyal dog, which she had suddenly been offended. Say, served, served faithfully, and now she has survived - they are selling to another owner. I wanted to stroke her on the black lacquered hood, saying, don’t worry, I’m not a buyer, but walk around with the crank in my hands, like a real driver of the 30s, for a completely different reason …
On the eve of the anniversary of the magazine, we decided to remember the car of yesteryear. And although the AMO-F-15 truck flaunted on the cover of the first issue of “Driving” in 1928, they nevertheless chose this good old Emochka - GAZ-M1. The fact is that "Emochka" is this special, already born in 1935. So, from among the first prototypes. After all, the serial production of this model began only a year later. But even more surprising: to this day, she regularly carries out her service. I can’t even believe that its owner, Lev Serafimovich Volkov, travels around cities and towns on his Emochka, sets off for car lovers to the summer cottage both in summer and winter. Well, how to resist the temptation to “grab” on such a miracle machine!
… We started, barely a winter dawn took over Moscow. The ignition key is turned, the lever of the start flap is pulled out, the handle is inserted into the ratchet … Of course, it was possible to use an electric starter - there is one with the six-volt battery on the emka. However, drivers of the pre-war era at every opportunity tried to save the starter with a very unreliable bendix and battery. Starting the motor with the crank for them is a familiar thing.
I, skeptically examining a simple single-chamber carburetor Zenith, doubted. Still, in the courtyard "minus 12", no less …
- Boldly, start up! This is not a cold for her,”Lev Serafimovich encouraged me.
To begin with, I slowly do the first three turns with the handle - suck the mixture into the intake pipe. The crankshaft cranked easily, despite the three-liter displacement “with a tail”, since the engine has modern oil, not an autol, as in the 30s. Of course, this lightness is also facilitated by the low compression ratio of the engine - 4.6, designed for A-59 gasoline.
I made it to rotate the handle in full force “seriously and for a long time”, and the engine came to life almost immediately and earned it gently. He keeps the revs confidently - about 1000 by ear. So, it's time to remove the nickel-plated radiator plug with the cast letter "M" and fill in the water. Yes, yes, after the launch, and not in advance. And then, God forbid, the engine does not start and the radiator “grabs” the frost.
In fairness, I’ll say that in the 30s non-freezing liquids for cooling systems appeared, but then they were very rare. In the absence of their life, sometimes they forced drivers to fill in a radiator … diesel fuel, colloquially - diesel fuel, for which they soon paid for the replacement of rubber pipes.
Oh and reluctantly at idle the engine warms up with a massive cast-iron block, without a thermostat in the cooling system. Yes, and if the thermostat was provided, it would still have to be removed if water was flooded. He starts to drive her in a small circle, past the radiator - that tube will freeze.
The enrichment, designed for additional fuel supply, helps to start off and go on a cold Emke engine. Gasoline enters the spray tube of the carburetor through a special calibrated hole, which, when the enrichment is turned off, is blocked by a locking needle. The actuator of the starting flap and the concentrator are combined. That is, the latter starts to work automatically, it is worth pulling the “suction” shifter. It turns out that this small carburetor is not so simple to check!
Five minutes passed, and we set off. The road lay from the very outskirts of the city to Red Square, where Emochka was to work as a “model”. I was spread out in the back seat of the couch, like a “real colonel”, and was happy about the space. High ceiling, the rear wall of the body is almost vertical, so that does not press on the back of the head. Of course, the three of us would be cramped here. But even a basketball player does not rest his knees in the back of the front seat. That's just, preparing for a long trip, I would have to give up comfort. There is no luggage compartment on the GAZ-M1, which means that supplies of food and luggage must be loaded into the cabin.
At the very beginning of our journey I was pleasantly surprised by the softness of the suspension. And this, mind you, in a car adapted to rollicking pre-war roads! Of course, the Emka cannot be compared in terms of ride with a modern limousine, but, for example, it is possible with the Niva. Moreover, thanks to the long base, Emka does not "goat" on bumps.
Despite one and a half tons of the car’s mass, its single-acting lever hydraulic shock absorbers do their job perfectly. Helps them with internal friction in the springs.
In the cabin, a pleasant bass engine exhaust is heard, but muffled in soft low tones. I admit that these sounds are much sweeter to my heart than the balalaika chime and creak of stamped door trim, air ducts and plastic panels of Samara.
The simple fabric upholstery of the ceiling and doors of Emochka, if it does not caress, does not hurt the eyes. On each door, in addition to the massive lock handle and power window handle, there is another, slightly smaller, opening the windshield window. Thanks to the worm drive, the windshield is not afraid of any headwind, it will not shut - well, what a delight! In front of the windshield is an air intake hatch. And the flat windshield itself can turn slightly in the opening. You twist the T-shaped handle in the middle of the dashboard - and its lower edge rises above the hood. In general, in the summer - expanse. In winter, it’s just a disaster. The fact is that Emka, like, by the way, and most of its contemporaries, is not equipped with either a heater or a windshield blower.
What tricks drivers did not resort to in order to warm themselves at least a little. For example, a hole was cut in the partition between the cab and the engine compartment, a metal pipe of five centimeters in diameter was inserted into it. It ran over the cylinder head and ended at the very blades of the cooling fan with a funnel-bell. Little by little, but still the warm air from the radiator entered the cabin. But, despite the tricks, the glass inside froze mercilessly. So they brought with them a bag of table salt. Rub her glass, and it does not immediately freeze again. Though unclear, but visible.
Under the “wings” of the hood, which swing open up, giving access to the engine, wooden blocks were placed, and through the cracks warm air fell on the windshield. It cleans his one and only brush with a vacuum drive from the intake manifold. The second, for the passenger, was considered an excess. He pulled the lever - and with pleasant sighs the janitor cheerfully moved forward. At idle, when the shutter is closed and there is a lot of rarefaction in the pipeline, everything is fine. But it is worth opening the gas, giving the load to the motor, and at the most inopportune moment, the brush almost freezes.
However, I will not dissemble. On my own skin I could not experience the charms of "polar life". A caring owner long ago equipped Emochka with a heater. As, however, and direction indicators. Indeed, in the GAZ-M1 sidelights, single-stranded marker lamps were installed. The driver designated turns either by hand or with the help of flag pointers on the roof racks. The main improvement - such is the requirement of the traffic police - a neatly integrated hydraulic brake, instead of the "native" mechanical, where the pads of the front wheels were driven by cables in the shells, the rear ones by longitudinal rods.
But the rest of the units are from GAZ-M1. And maybe the most interesting of them is the engine. Perhaps it is he who determines the unique character of the machine. The motor according to modern concepts is low-power and slow-moving - 50 l. with. at 2800 rpm However, its solid working volume helps out. I myself had a chance to make sure of this when I was crossing the tram tracks at the wheel of the Emka: the hand mechanically laid down on the lever - lower the gear …
“Don’t worry, it will stretch out,” the owner of Emochka smiled.
And you go, in the third - direct transmission from a speed of "20", no more, pulled out the same. And he did not hesitate, the engine did not convulse. That's what a good torque characteristic means. But, to get it, only one large volume might not be enough. The camshaft of the lower valve "low-speed" with the "narrow" valve timing helps. Although it does not allow it to spin up the motor, it also provides high torque at low speeds, and a reliable start.
However, the motor "Emka" especially and can not be "untwisted." And here's why: the babbit bearings of the crankshaft connecting rod journals lack pressure lubrication. Instead, oil scoops, “scoops” about the size of a little finger’s fingernail, are made on the connecting rod caps. They grab oil from the oil pan to lubricate the bearings. Efficiency of such a device at high speeds is clearly lacking.
For this reason, sharp dynamic loads are contraindicated to the engine. I must admit, I really wanted to spur the “horse” at the start from the traffic lights. Eh, he would now have an “injection” of fuel and the “ignition” of the ignition - a little earlier. But, alas, this is impossible: on the M1 engine there is neither an accelerator pump, nor a vacuum regulator. However, maybe this is for the better: in this case, reliability is perhaps preferable to dynamics.
Despite sluggish acceleration (to “80” in 24 seconds), the GAZ-M1 develops 108 km / h. The "cruising" speed for driving is economical and comfortable - about 40-60 km / h - more than acceptable for roads before the war! Not so great fuel consumption - an average of about 14 liters. However, it is necessary to add oil often: neither a stuffing box, nor an oil-driven thread provide a reliable seal for the crankshaft.
However, we will not judge the car by the standards of our life today. The owner of the "Lada" may grimace scornfully, finding himself behind the wheel of "Emka". Say, in the front seat is cramped - the body in front is slightly narrowing. The left elbow rests against the door. The sofa seat is practically not adjustable. You can’t almost move away from the steering wheel, it is at the very chest. Mechanical clutch pedal is too tight. The accelerator stroke is small. Against this background, such unexpectedly pleasant trifles as easily readable devices, a “daily” mileage counter with a reset to zero, an ashtray and a cigarette lighter will probably disappear. And even things much more substantial. For example, thanks to the sliding clutches, the gears in the box are easily and clearly shifted. And the lever is located very convenient. And the passability of "Emochki" is generally beyond praise …
… Under the machine, the cobblestones of Vasilyevsky Descent softly rustled. By the way, do you know why it "rustled"? Because the tire pressure of 16-inch wheels is only one and a half atmospheres.
Have stopped. My trip is over. And here on Red Square, I suddenly remembered one curious coincidence. Exactly exactly 62 years ago, just in March, two of the same Emochki, gleaming with fresh paint, drove into the Kremlin’s gate to appear before the State Commission. It was headed by Joseph Stalin.
I wonder what exactly the flaws were found in them by the “father of peoples”? Indeed, in those days they talked slowly, as if he didn’t really like Emka, he preferred ZIS cars. Or maybe it's just a driver's tales.
Lev Serafimovich Volkov - the third owner of "Emochki" - a car that they never sold, but only presented in good hands.
A nickel-plated radiator could show off on the GAZ-M1, if Stalin had not considered this an excess in the course of the "state acceptance".
The engine is equipped with a contact oil filter. Pay attention to the intricate air path to the upstream carburetor.
Over time, several “non-native” electric toggle levers appeared on the dashboard, and the water temperature sensor took the place of the ashtray in the middle.