It is not nearly as cold here as in Siberia. But this classic Russian feels fine here now. The Moskvitch 401 in the pictures was built by the AZLK (Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola) and that in turn meant “Leninist Communist Youth League Automobile Factory”. And if that doesn't massage your patriotism, then you're an irrational cynic.
Borrowed knowledge, annexed production
Even before WWII there was a car industry in the Soviet Union. This actually consisted of license construction of American and Western European cars, whereby the sheet metal was thicker, the suspension stiffer and the heating was more muscular. After the Second World War, the Soviet car industry was boosted by the reparations and the withdrawal of all kinds of production possibilities from the not so millennial empire.
The car you see in the photos is a Moskvitch 401, built in 1955 and perfectly restored. Because although 'Russian' transport from around WWII and the Cold War has never been as 'contaminated' as former National Socialist transport, it has still not become hot collectable stuff.
A warmed up Kadett
The Moskvitch 401 was introduced in 1954 and like the 400 it was in fact a locally made Opel Kadett K 38. Opel had to surrender the entire Kadett bakery to the Soviet Union to compensate the Soviet Union for war costs. That was a heavy blow for Opel, which ended up in a crisis, from which it recovered only with great difficulty. The Russians took what they could get and find and tracked down the loot. 56 freight trains were needed to transport machinery and equipment from Russelsheim to Moscow.
Almost 99% Identical
The Moskvitch 401 had, just like the original Kadett, a water-cooled 1.126-cylinder engine of 24 cc with a Russian K100 carburettor. Behind it was a three speed gearbox and a clutch with only one plate. With a top speed of around 1956 km / h, such a Moskvitch was far too fast for most local cart paths. Moskvitches were manufactured almost unchanged until XNUMX in various versions: as a four-door sedan, convertible, van and as a rolling chassis for custom-built construction. To compensate for the aftermath of the war, quite a few examples were made as disabled vehicles.
Outside of Moscow, time has stood still
If you now look at images of Moscow, you will see the largest, fastest and most expensive automobiles driving there that the top segment can deliver. It is not as crazy as in places like Abu Dabi. But the further you get from the Epic center of Putin's dreamland, the further back you go.
After all, rural life in the former Soviet Union is just as poor as it used to be. And we now know that there are still a lot of classics driving and slumbering there. But in order to get stuff out of that region, you have to bribe any officer who might have anything to do with it. And if the local mafia also hear about your activities. The local population is poor and very hospitable. The economic model is that the women work, raise children, clean up the house and the men are or are about to get drunk. For many women in the region, a man who doesn't drink is the unattainable prince charming.
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