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Volga Weekend Edition: The 1956-1970 GAZ M-21

Antti Kautonen October 18, 2015 Weekend Edition 3 Comments

Instead of dedicating an article to the Volga Siber, which is most likely the most modern Volga there is – because that is a Russian-built Chrysler Sebring with Volga badging – I’ll rather go right back to the start and show the first Volga there was, the M-21 series. It’s a lovely, rounded 1950s design and on the lead image you can see all three versions of the 21: the first, “Star” series, the second “Shark” series, and the third, “Baleen” series. All the nicknames come from the way the radiator grilles were designed, as they differed a little from each other.

There was also a wagon variant, which was referred to as the “Shed”. If there had been a wagon version of the Siber, it would probably have been called the “Shedbring”.

gaz_21_volga_7_1

The M21 replaced the Pobeda, which was in production from 1946 onwards. The M21 had big shoes to fill, and the 1956-introduced car managed to be in production until 1970, even if the replacement’s design work started as early as 1961.

gaz_22_-volga-_4

Here is the Shed. It’s a very good-looking shed, and there’s even a view to the river.

gaz_m-21i_volga_3

The first cars had 64 horsepower out of the 2445cc engine, but by the third series the output was improved to 75. Export cars are mentioned to have had a ten-hp boost from that.

gaz_21_volga_prototip_4

I can’t vouch for the build quality of the cars, but that is a very endearing shape. Luckily quite a few M21-series cars have been preserved, as almost 640 000 cars were made during the fifteen years of production.

 

 

  • I’m greatly enjoying these weekend examinations of a marque.

  • Rover 1

    Iconic enough that a BMW 850 based special was made. Is it a caricature or an homage? You decide.


    And a later convertible based on the later 6-series

  • Sjalabais

    The 21 is the Volga to get if you’re looking for a well-built Soviet car. It has a great reputation. It is priced accordingly and it constitutes a quite big classic car market:

    …and you left out one version. The eco-friendly grassejovitch:

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