25 years ago, the first UAZ 469 rolled off the assembly line of the Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant, but even today the question of stopping its production does not arise. Not from some local "jeep" conservatism - "Defender" from the English "Land Rover" has been released altogether since 1948. It’s just that the “goat” remains the embodiment of the principle “they don’t look for good from good”. Surely something, but he carries out the duties of a utilitarian vehicle imputed to him.


Photo from the factory archive

and Vladimir Knyazev

However, in 1955 such words were not yet known. It was then that the collection of preliminary information began, which was supposed to be taken into account when designing a new “commander’s car”. The terms of reference were issued by the main customer (military) and therefore was already secret.

So, the role of OZ was played by the Ministry of Defense (Ministry of Defense), although at the same time it never bought more than 10% of the annual UAZ production. But even purely civilian cars, which went into the national economy, had to comply with the requirements of OZ, since they were subject to mandatory registration at military registration and enlistment offices and mobilization in the event of war. Only this explains the awning, absurd in the harsh Russian climate, the hood unprotected from encroachments and a number of similar features.

Abroad, where it is not customary to win by number, it would never occur to anyone to mobilize a “civilian” car. The military equipment there is too special and has nothing to do with the civilian Cherokee or Pajero. Our designers had to create an army car suitable for civilian use. (We note in parentheses that this circumstance earned him at the dawn of conveyor youth a compliment from one of the American military experts: “the most elegant army jeep.”)

But back in 1955. From the UAZ conveyor then went GAZ-69, the production of which was transferred from Gorky. They were going to change the model in 10-15 years, or even later. Nevertheless, they began to prepare for this. The aforementioned “Defender”, “Campagnola” from FIAT, and some other vehicles for the NATO armies were subjected to careful study.

In the first sketches, the new Soviet all-terrain vehicle had a rear-engine layout, independent torsion bar suspension of all wheels and a floating body. At the end of 1956, the customer’s representatives who joined the work said that the car was called “cargo-passenger” and therefore should have a folding tailgate. The engine "moved" forward. But the independent suspension, on which, by the way, "OZ" insisted, could not be realized: it turned out to be too complicated, abounded with small details - that is, it turned out to be time-consuming and unreliable. We decided to return to the GAZ-69, but with increased ground clearance. I had to guarantee to the customer that even with such a scheme it is possible to achieve the necessary smoothness of movement (by the way, young specialist George Mirzoev then worked on the chassis then, now the chief designer of VAZ).

The first car was introduced to the customer in the fall of 1960. Ground clearance was considered insufficient. Then the idea of ​​two options was born - the “military” “469th” with wheel gears and the “national economic” 469B with conventional bridges. Such samples were built, and in 1961 tests began on the route familiar to factory workers through Central Asia, the Pamirs to the Caspian Sea and returning along the Volga. In addition, tests on special routes of the military department.

Troubleshooting, including including design miscalculations, took a lot of time. The new car passed state tests only in 1964: in December it was recommended for mass production.

Such a long way to the treasured verdict of the State Commission was determined not by the weakness of the design base, but by the rigidity of the requirements for army equipment in the USSR. It is interesting to note that the foreign cars tested in parallel were removed from the race due to the “inability to continue driving under the proposed road conditions”. But the cars were purely army.

But eight years passed before the UAZ 469 replaced its predecessor. The transition to a new model itself was carried out according to a scheme unusual for the domestic auto industry. The protracted preparation for production allowed not to gradually supplant the old model (which was common practice), but to replace it overnight: behind the last GAZ-69, the first UAZ 469 sailed through the conveyor. And they still sail, however, under a different index: in accordance with the industry norm, the “469th” after modernization is called 3151, and the national economic 469B - 31512. Since August of this year, quite unusual people began to appear on the passenger string of the UAZ main conveyor 3160, which we talked about in the October issue of the magazine.

Over a quarter of a century, nearly 1.3 million UAZs have been produced, which have earned the brand fame.

This fall, I was able to get into the Guinness Book of Records "Defender", climbed to the highest peak in Europe - Elbrus (5621 m). It is known that the expedition prepared for more than a year and cost a lot of money. At the same time, they somehow forgot that UAZ 469 visited these places of the Caucasus in August 1974: it was tested here for rate of climb and the ability to work at high altitudes. The difference in 2000 m was overcome in 38 minutes. The height of the glacier reached - 4000 m. At the same time, the cars were completely standard, without winches and traction chains. There were three cars, and they traveled all the way there and back without the help of helicopters.

This is an example from a number of extremes. But it was the “469th” that, with its reliability and cross-country ability, generated the famous saying: “What can these Russians not think of, if only not to build roads!”

It's time to ask a question: is the conveyor demise of the glorious "469th" nearing? The answer is short and unequivocal - no.

Relatively calm, the car was produced in 1972-1975. Further modernization began. It can be seen from the table that the greatest number of improvements occurred in the last five years - in the market conditions, the main customer, who does not now take 10% of the manufactured cars, can no longer dictate his limitations. The plant needs to track the needs of a consumer who does not have enough smoothness calculated for artillery combat crew with a box of shells and a gun on the trailer. A metal roof, an efficient heater, more comfortable seats, a suspension that has lost its “oakiness” on low-leaf springs, a whole windshield, a wiper engine hidden under the instrument panel - these are just the first steps in the veteran’s big modernization.

At one time, when designing a fundamentally new 3160, designers were severely limited by the requirement to “disturb” the main production as little as possible. For designers, this, of course, is bad. But for the old days, the “469th” was just great! "Dad" has every chance to get an inheritance from his own "son". We are talking about a more flexible suspension of the power unit, and a five-speed gearbox, a small-modular low-noise “razdatka”, a power steering and reliable continuous axles. All of the above will find its place in the well-known model 3151. At the same time, in contrast to the “sixties, ” it has a much cheaper body.

The conveyor longevity of the English Defender confirms the correct calculations of the Ulyanovsk people. In the presence of a "sophisticated" and expensive "Range Rover" in the program of the company there is a place for the "old man" born in 1948. And he, in turn, has enough fans. Either the poor, or those who really need a jeep, and not some kind of a miracle of color - “metallic” on large wheels with a “thoughtful” transmission.

Will UAZ be able to take a place in the niche of expensive jeeps, time will tell. But in the technology market for real men, he may well expand his presence. The military provided him with strong reliable roots (well, what other car was required to be able to move as part of a tank column?). And the same military, who insisted on pure utilitarianism, provided the broadest field of activity for those who are today engaged in improving the real Russian all-terrain vehicle.

Daily routine: late 60s.

The first UAZ 469 stood for many years on a pedestal at the factory entrance.

Styling motor 421 under the hood 3153.

Representatives of the current generation of UAZ vehicles: 31514 - with a metal roof, lower wiper arrangement and other innovations (above) and 3153 - with an elongated base.

"UAZ" on the tests in the editorial staff "Behind the wheel."

Work on new modifications of the old "UAZ" does not stop. Before you - an experienced pickup truck.


Telescopic shock absorbers (all four are the same) 1980

Engine model 414 - 77 liters. with. 1983

Closed cooling system with expansion tank 1984

1988 brake booster

Engine model 417 - 90 liters. with. 1989

Gearbox with synchronizers in all gears * 1989

Metal Roof * 1993

One-piece windshield 1994

Front suspension on springs * 1994

Engine model 421 - 100 liters. with. 1996

Wiper lower position 1997