Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1974 (?) GAZ-21 Volga - In US - Listed on eBay

I don't know why I'm fascinated by old Russian cars, I just am. Maybe it's because I've never seen one in person (I did see a Lada in a junkyard once. It had Canadian plates on it, which made me believe that someone's US vacation ended poorly. There were two other cars sitting precariously on top of it. I wanted to check it out thoroughly, but I can think of 100 other ways I'd rather die than being crushed by a junk car, so I didn't spend too much time with it.)

In the west when we think of Russian cars we usually think of the Lada, a car based on a Fiat and slightly modified for Russian use and production. What makes the GAZ interesting is that it is 100% Russian designed.

Officially introduced in 1956, the GAZ-21 Volga looks remarkably like a 1950s American sedan. It's powered by a 4 cylinder engine. Most came with a manual transmission, although a 3 speed automatic was available. There was a V8 version offered, known as the GAZ-23, but very few were made.

Back in the days of the Cold War we were told that all Russian cars were crap. They were supposedly poorly designed utilitarian devices. I, like most Americans, believed that. Looking at this car now I realize that the design and build is very similar most cars of the 1950s, especially American cars. Hardly utilitarian, these cars would have looked right at home in a US dealership in the 1950s. Granted, by the time this went out of production it really was an old car, but the same could be said for the VW Beetle.

The car being offered on eBay appears to be in amazingly good condition. The seller states the body has no rust and "the interior is in great condition - no restoration required - seat covers, door panels, ceiling, non-cracked dash, windows, radio and clock that work". The car hasn't run in 3 years and will need a tune-up, fluid change and battery to get it going. It is also in need of a brake master cylinder.

Note - I am no expert on older Soviet cars, but to the best of my knowledge the GAZ-21 Volga was not produced after 1970, so right away there's a problem with this car's eBay listing. Not that it matters, the car comes with a US title that says it's a 1974 and I can't imagine that the clerk at your local DMV will know that there were no GAZ-21 Volgas made after 1970. I'd be really impressed if they did. (If anyone knows more details about the production dates of the GAZ-21 Volga, please e-mail me or post the info in the comments section. I could very well have the wrong information)

I can't give you any good reason to buy this car. It's not a very valuable car. It's not practical to use everyday. Like most 1950s cars, it's probably interesting to drive, but probably not extremely fun. I guess you'd buy it just to say you own it. There's nothing wrong with that.

Click here to see the listing for this GAZ-21 Volga.

After writing this I found yet another GAZ-21 for sale on eBay. This one is a Series 2, which has a slightly different grill and minor details, including a strip of chrome on the hood with Deer (?) ornament at the end of it. This ad includes a bunch of clear photos. Click here to see it.

One more note - The seller of the GAZ-21 Volga pictured above now says the car is a 1975. I'm completely confused.

Click here to find a website dedicated to the GAZ Volga line of cars.


Andre said...

I recognize this Volga - it was imported from the Ukraine by Gary Shikhman - who used to own the now defunct He sold quite a few Russian cars including Volgas, Ladas, Zaporozhets, Moscwitch. The current bid (just over 5 grand) is a good deal for this car, although as the late 3-series, it's not much of a collector item.

The 2-series one is ridiculously priced, and is far from "all original" - it's been discussed in the Russian forums, and the conclusion was that it's a repainted mish-mash of earlier and later cars with many unoriginal parts.

Anyway - keep up the good work!


Sam said...

I cant belive the price of the second one. I had a friend who imported a few of these into the States.

Sam - Orlando Junk Car Buyers