New Beetles. Minis and Fiat 500s? I see retro as designers weakness or cunning marketing. Retro is not real. Of course there are exceptions that I like. On two wheels there are the Kawasaki W650-800 king axers and the recent 650 cc Royal Enfield twins. These things each have added value. But whether one of the aforementioned retro's or the PT Cruiser will ever become him as a style icon? No, rather the Nissan Figaro, the only car with a My Little Pony endearing factor. The Plymouth Prowler was also such a cartoon car, but for boys. And that the Ford GT40 was reborn? That the New Mustang is very similar to the old one? Much more real than the UAZ 452.
Then nothing beats the original
No robbery for lack of imagination. No smart marketing. Just continuing to make the same car for about fifty, sixty, seventy results in a new car that is really old. I saw the most wonderful example of this yesterday. Tightly painted in a cheerful dark brown mud color, I saw a UAZ 452 'Bukhanka' at the branch to Eerbeek, which affectionately means 'sandwich'. And how they got that name now?
The story started with a problem
Russia was in trouble. It was the time of the Second World War, and the Soviet armies fought a very difficult war on two continents. This involved long distances with numerous transport and supply problems.
Russia is even bigger than Gelderland: You can travel through 14 time zones from east to west, and from south to north you experience deserts to the frozen Arctic. And all this usually without real roads under the tires.
So there was a logistical challenge at the time
Men had to be given food and clothing and, if wounded, had to be taken from the battlefield to a safe place. But more importantly, the military needed weapons and ammunition as well as all possible means to support the war effort. Given the circumstances, “But how?” Was a sensible question. It needed a simple vehicle capable of hauling heavy loads, providing warmth and shelter for men, climbing mountains and traversing rivers, climbing and scrambling over rocks and boulders, and plodding through muddy swamps. It had to be a kind of means of transport like the Greek donkeys: It had to eat everything, be able to carry a lot and if necessary, it had to be kept going with beating until death would follow. But preferably as late as possible. The all-rounder should also be an omnivore: from gasoline to diesel fuel, cooking oil to grape must. The dream car had to be high on the legs, have 4WD, short overhangs had to ensure optimal climbing skills. There had to be about nine men. Some more of those details. Not many words were spoken about the looks of the UAZ 452.
So far the book of requirements
Thus, the Ulyanovsk car factory got UAZ - Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod - the task of designing such a thing. At the time, UAZ was already producing GAZ 69, another iconic car from the Soviet era. The approach was basic. Limited resources and time. So UAZ used the basic design of the GAZ 69 as a basis, but added newly needed design and construction elements. There were even 'sandwiches' with hydraulic suspension for ambulance use.
The designers simply took a flat chassis, mounted the engine and other necessary details of the GAZ 69 and placed the new body on it. The result was called UAZ 452, devoid of marketing or sales influences. Why? Nobody seems to know or really care. Production really started in the 70s. But in fact, this classic has been built for about XNUMX+ years.
And so I saw about a nine-person van yesterday. Nowadays apparently with a Euro5 engine and some adjustments. But still as real as ever. There is even a Dutch and a Belgian importer. And when you see the price list? Then you are lost.