Exclusive patrimony of ZIS
Initially, it was the phaetons, that is, four-door open-top cars without lifting side windows, that were the main protagonists of the celebrations on Red Square. At first, they had nothing to do with the army: Joseph Stalin believed that military reviews should be taken on horseback. However, phaetons flashed at the "civil" parades. For the first time on Red Square, the phaeton appeared on May 1, 1940 at the parade of athletes. It was a majestic and very rare for its time ZIS-102. The second time this car took a similar parade on August 15, 1945.
I must say that the production of open cars (phaetons, convertibles, roadsters) is a kind of aerobatics among automakers. It is not enough just to remove the roof from the limousine, it is also necessary to provide the necessary body rigidity. If you leave the four-door frame body open, it will be distorted from the loss of rigidity so that it will be impossible to close the doors. Engineering interventions are required in the design, which will seriously increase the weight of the machine. Therefore, there were certain problems with the production of phaetons in the young Soviet state.
In 1932, in accordance with the state program, it was planned to develop and put into mass production a high-class limousine, based on American models. The original source was the Buick Series 32 Ninety (a typical Chicago gangster car), which was planned to be put into production at the Krasny Putilovets plant in Leningrad under the L-1 brand. However, the upcoming defense orders for the enterprise and serious opposition from the leadership of the Moscow ZIS put an end to the prospects of the machine. The party leadership decided that top-class cars should be produced, firstly, in the capital, and, secondly, at the Stalin plant. In Moscow, the limousine was given the name ZIS-101 and since 1937 it has been produced in a seriously revised version.
Despite all the difficulties, the development of the production of the limousine went on its own. The factory workers thought about the open version of the car. This project, named ZIS-102, had its own difficulties. Firstly, the three-meter soft top with complex folding kinematics turned out to be difficult, the design of which included 14 hinges. In addition, the awning was heavy and rubberized, so special stops had to be developed to prevent it from sagging. Secondly, the removal of such an important element of rigidity as the roof required the reinforcement of the entire power frame. The main load was still borne by the car frame, so the wooden body frame (developed by Budd) had to be strengthened with additional fittings and the introduction of a special stern belt, reinforced with a metal wall, creating a rigid box for the folded top at the back. As a result, the volume of the trunk had to be reduced. Thirdly, the rear doors opening against the movement had to be deployed and installed in the position we are now used to. This was dictated by safety requirements: the incoming air flows could open such doors at full speed. This door design is now called suicidal, and it seems to have survived in modern times only on Rolls-Royce cars.
Interestingly, the original ZIS-102 was planned not as a phaeton, but as its kind of "convertible", or convertible, that is, a car with an open top, but retained side windows and frames. The open serial version of the GAZ-M20 had a similar design, but it was dictated by the economy of the rolled sheet, and not by considerations of prestige.
At the end of the 30s, the technological level of the ZIS was not ready for the mass production of convertibles. It was decided to stop at a simple phaeton. He did not have side windows at all, there were only vents in the front doors, and in bad weather the sidewalls of the body were simply closed with clip-on aprons with celluloid windows. The ZIS-102 car was produced since 1938, and in 1939 it underwent a slight update or, as they say now, restyling.
There is no need to talk about the serial production of the phaeton. Until 1940, only 9 cars were assembled, of which 7 had experimental status. In addition to the fact that the cars took parades on Red Square a couple of times, in August 1941 one of them was converted into a mobile radio station and served at one of the communication centers of the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense.
The ZIS-102 became a test of the pen for Moscow automakers, which is rarely truly successful. However, the experience and developments in this phaeton turned out to be useful when working on the next generation machine.
The first phaeton to receive Victory parades was the laconic and strict ZIS-110B, an open version of the ZIS-110 limousine. The external stylistic motives of the car # 1 of the Stalin era were creatively rethought by the designers of the modern presidential Aurus. This is especially evident in the example of the design of the front part of the body. It's hard to believe, but the development of a high-class passenger car in Moscow began in 1942. On September 14, the People's Commissariat of Medium Machine Building issued a corresponding order. It was initially clear that it was pointless to make a novelty based on the outdated ZIS-101, and it would take more than one year to develop a completely original design. Therefore, they again decided to go for borrowing, especially since the war did not allow especially spending budget funds. The prototype was a Packard Super Eight 180, dated 1942. For the domestic auto industry, serial production was organized in a record short time: on July 20, 1945, work on the first batch of cars began at ZIS. But here we are talking about a limousine with a hardtop, but again with an open phaeton it was not easy. The original "American" of this model year did not have an open version at all, which forced the ZIS engineers to independently design the power structure of the parade version. Initially, the powerful spar frame of the car with an X-shaped crosspiece was maximally lightened in order to gain kilograms for further reinforcement. Some of its bearing functions were redistributed between the power elements of the body, and also strengthened its individual parts - for example, a massive windshield frame appeared.
With the top closed, as in the case of the predecessor ZIS-102, the sidewalls of the body were covered with tarpaulin aprons with celluloid windows. In this state, the cars looked completely unprofitable, and even images of such phaetons have survived only a few. But there were other versions of the open machine. Some of the phaetons had manual power windows, the windows in which were raised and lowered in narrow chrome frames - this version can already be considered a four-door convertible.
The first open cars were presented to the government commission in 1947 and received the name ZIS-110B, and two years later they went into series. However, they were in no hurry to replace horses with new phaetons on Red Square - that was Stalin's will. In the memoirs of Professor I. F. Bobylev, who is responsible for preparing horses for military parades, one can find the following:
“Here is another example of I. V. Stalin to the cavalry traditions associated with horses, which I personally learned from the mouth of the then Minister of the Armed Forces of the USSR, Marshal of the Soviet Union N. A. Bulganin. The latter told me the following verbatim: “Yesterday Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev and I visited JV Stalin and suggested that he replace the ceremonial horses with cars. Comrade Stalin thought a little and answered: "We will not change the good tradition of the Soviet Army."
Now it is difficult to say where and when he made the debut of the ZIS-110B as a parade crew vehicle, but it is known for sure that the commander of the Pacific Fleet, Rear Admiral N. G. Kuznetsov, hosted the parade in Vladivostok in 1950. In the same year, the phaeton was seen on a detour of troops at a parade in Budapest. On Red Square, the ZIS-110B first appeared on May 1, 1953, and was immediately dressed in a carefully selected blue-gray branded livery. The car was not equipped with handrails and a sound relay system, so microphones had to be placed on the square at the places where the parade crew stopped. The marshal who received the parade, dressed in a gray-blue ceremonial coat, had to hold on to the back of the front seat. Later, the radio transmitters were placed in the trunk, and for the convenience of the first passenger, a transverse handrail appeared, which later became an indispensable attribute of domestic ceremonial phaetons and convertibles.
ZIS-110B worked as ceremonial vehicles in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Mongolia and China, and in North Korea, Stalin's phaetons not only received military reviews, but also served as standard-bearers. In the regions of the USSR, cars were used until the end of the 60s, and in Leningrad - until the early 80s. On Red Square, the ZIS-110B phaetons were replaced by open ZIL-111V vehicles on May 1, 1961.
Not a single ZIS
Alexander Chistyakov, chief designer of the "Chaika" ceremonial car, recalls:
“For such a solemn ritual as a parade on the main square of the country, ZIL (and earlier ZIS) was the best fit. Everything served to exemplary fulfillment of this task: solemnly strict exterior view of the body, painted with light gray (like a marshal's overcoat) nitro enamel, smooth and soft running and, of course, high reliability. But the country has one main square, and therefore there could not be many ceremonial ZILs: two main and one spare!"
That is why expensive and small ZISs were an unaffordable luxury for the regional elites of the Soviet Union. Therefore, I had to use the services of car factories that produce equipment of a lower rank. The first in this story were the GAZ-M20 Pobeda phaetons, devoid of door frames with glass. Two such machines made their debut on June 24, 1948 at the parade to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Karelo-Finnish Republic, and later left for service in Novosibirsk.
Parades in the USSR and the countries of the Warsaw Pact were sometimes hosted for whatever reason. It's good if you come across serial convertibles GAZ-13B "Chaika" or old ceremonial ZISs, and most often they were army GAZ-69, GAZ-69A and their successor UAZ-469. Parades in Alma-Ata, for example, were hosted for a long time on the old ZIL-111V (this machine will be discussed later), which served as Marshal Malinovsky.
The first open car for the "second echelon" parades was the GAZ-14-05 phaeton, built in only 15 copies from 1982 to 1988. One of them bore the status of an experienced one, and 14 were distributed, two for each military district. It is noteworthy that such a "Seagull" did not have a mechanism for folding the awning - it was simply pulled over the body. Due to the absence of a cover for the awning, the appearance of the phaeton was especially laconic.
The magazine "Autoreview" cites the memoirs of the chief designer of GAZ-13-05 Chistyakov, which can shed light on yet another reason for the rejection of the hydromechanics of folding the awning:
“In October 1980, we took part in the preparatory trainings of the ZILs. Colonel Pominov, the personal driver of the Minister of Defense during parades, drove us around Red Square: it was empty, it was drizzling. We went with an open awning. Instead of the minister, a wet young communications lieutenant stood at the microphone. And when the three-time detour of the "troops" was over, the colonel with a snide turned to us: "You were interested in how the awning is being built. Wait a minute! " By pressing a button, he turned on the mechanism, having previously left the car, and buckets of cold water, accumulated in the folds of the awning fabric, fell on me with the assigned military envoy! This shower cost me a week of sick leave."
Among the technical differences between the "general's" open "Chaika" from the limousine were the traditionally reinforced frame, electric fuel pump and cooling fan (for reliability), and the speedometer was replaced by a tachometer. At the parade, the driver was guided by it while driving. Naturally, there was a handrail for the general and a twin microphone setup with a radio transmitter. The 220-horsepower engine and 3-band automatic gearbox were left from the donor limousine.
For the only time in its career, GAZ-13-05 hosted the Moscow Victory Parade. It happened in 1995, when a solemn review was held on Poklonnaya Hill. For this occasion, the car had to be delivered from Tbilisi and urgently brought into a form appropriate for the event: the phaeton was in a pretty shabby condition.
Now, due to its rarity, GAZ-13-05 is a welcome exhibit of any automotive museum in the world, and the cost of well-groomed copies exceeds several tens of millions of rubles.