GAZ 14

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Keywords: chaika,gaz,gaz 14,russian,soviet
Description: Q: Why is the GAZ 14’s key hole almost halfway between the door handle and the door sill? A: Because nearly half of GAZ 14 drivers were KGB, the low key hole position made it easier for crouching KGB agents to unlock the door while being out of the ...

The first GAZ 14 was presented to Brezhnev in 1976 for his 70th birthday.  Thereafter, about 100 were made every year.  At the end of its run in 1988, Gorbachev curiously ordered that all blueprints be destroyed so that the car would never be built again.

The following video, in Russian, has some detailed shots of the sedan’s interior and exterior:

This video features the GAZ 14-05 convertible parade car, which still sees regular duty at Victory Day celebrations:

I agree. Unrealistic to go undercover in one of these. But C/D said nearly half were KGB. I may have been duped.

The intake runners look really puny and restrictive for a car that has 2x4bbl carbs. The air cleaner inlet is similarly insignificant-looking.

That tube looks more like plumbing to me. The only way to put 4 plug wires through it would be to install the boots later, meaning you would have to replace an entire side at a time if something needed repair. Also, with the wires bundled so closely together, arcing and crossfiring might be a problem.

I'm inclined towards the distributor-and-ignition-wire theory. My Plymouth has a factory wiring loom that requires the boots at the distributor to be installed afterwards, so I don't find that part surprising. Of course, with the Plymouth, the loom is designed to keep the wires apart, not force them to run adjacent and parallel to one another. I suppose that shouldn't be surprising here either, though.

Besides, it would account for those secondary green covers that are held in place with wing nuts. I don't see any other spark plug leads.

The loom or whatever that thing is on this car has something that looks like hose clamps at the ends. I wouldn't think those would be necessary for plug wires, but in absence of a better explanation, I'll accept it for now.

Any idea what western design that engine was derived from? I check pictures of Packard, Studebaker, and Buick nailhead V-8s. It didn't look too close to any of those.

GAZ had some history with Ford, but that ended in 1938, and either the spark plugs or the distributor are in the wrong spot for their line up (after the Windsor, Ford put the distributor out front, and the Y-block has the plugs below the exhaust headers).

Maybe a Mopar? Like the Chrysler Spitfire (polyspherical)? The valve covers are a bit wrong, but Chrysler was putting the generator way up high in the late 50s, the plugs are in the right spot and the distributor was in back. Also, they came in 301, 331 and 354. 331 is a 5.4L, which is right in line for turning into a 5.5L engine. This is just from staring at pictures on allpar.com.

(I'm really curious too, because the Soviets couldn't possibly have designed their own V8…)

My gut says they derived it from Packard as I seem to remember reading that somewhere. Remember that Stalin had a thing for Packards and even had ZIS build copies of them for his personal use after Roosevelt gifted him one during the war. However, I tend to think this engine is a later development (It reminds me a little of a Rolls Royce/Bentley 6 3/4 litre on the outside). You have to remember the way the USSR worked. They were pragmatists of the highest order and would try to use one design of a component for many different pieces of machinery. Thus, this was probably also some sort of an industrial engine as, for example, ZIL was primarily a maker of heavy trucks. High end cars was one of their other minor projects for the state. As I think this engine was shared with ZIL, it would make sense that it may have also been developed for use in some other application, an ekronoplan perhaps or some sort of medium duty truck.

Remember that the Soviets were not as backwards as we like to think and were perfectly capable of developing their own products when the need arose. It's just that copying the designs of other companies (that they would refuse to pay royalties for) was far simpler most of the time than designing it out of whole cloth. For example, why would you spend the effort to develop a long range strategic bomber if all you had to do was copy a Boeing B-29 and christen it the Tupolev TU-4? It's not like Tupolev was incapable of designing anything better, it's just that it was done for expediency's sake. They later designed aircraft that were a match for anything the Americans or British could put in the air so what makes you think something as simple as a passenger car engine was beyond their abilities?

I guess the fact they didn't make their own steering wheels made me think they probably "borrowed" the engine design too. But it does seem this might have been a somewhat original design. It looks like most of these engines found a home in the BRDM armored cars.



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