18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

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Copying foreign cars began with the first Soviet passenger car, produced under license from Ford. Over time, the copying occurs most often without the permission of the Western factories. Research automobile Institute of the USSR bought from the capitalist oppressors of the working people several advanced models “to study” and a few years from the conveyors went the Soviet equivalent.

However often by the time a prototype is already obsolete and removed from production, and the Soviet copy was produced at least a decade.


The first mass car of the USSR was borrowed from the American automobile industry. GAS — a licensed copy of the us Ford A., the Soviet Union bought from the American company equipment and instruments for production in 1929, and two years later the release of the Ford was discontinued. A year later, in 1932, was released the first car GAZ-A.

Despite the fact that the first automobile plant produced according to the drawings of the American firm “Ford”, they were originally differed from the American prototype. After 1936 in Moscow and Leningrad exploitation of outdated GAS-were forbidden. Small car owners were instructed to pass GAS-BUT the government and the surcharge to buy new GAZ-M1.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars


Soviet pilot car was an almost exact copy of the vehicle Buick-32-90, which by American standards were of the highest, the middle class.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

Plant “Red Putilovets”, previously produced tractor, the Fordson, released 6 copies of L1 in 1933, most of the vehicles are unable to get to Moscow without serious damage. In the end, “Red Putilovets” was reoriented to the production of tractors and tanks, and revision A1 transferred to Moscow ZIS.

As the body of “Buick” is not consistent with the fashion of the middle thirties, the VMS designed it from scratch. American coach Budd company on the basis of Soviet sketches designed by elegant and modern appearance to the body of those years. It cost the state half a million dollars and took 16 months.


GAZ-M1, in turn, was designed to samples Ford model B (model 40A), 1934 , documentation which was handed over Gaza to the American party under the terms of the contract.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

In the course of adapting the model to the domestic use of the vehicle was largely redesigned by Soviet specialists.M1 line item later surpassed Ford products.


The first Soviet serial compact car, the basis of which the design was taken by the British Ford prefect.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

In the United States has produced stamps and drawings developed a body model of a Soviet artist-designer. In 1940, the plant began production of this model. KIM-10 was to be the first truly “national” Soviet car, but to implement the ambitious plan of the country’s leadership to ensure the majority of citizens personal vehicles was prevented by the Great Patriotic war.


The body design of the first Soviet post-war passenger car of the Executive class is almost completely imitated American “Packard” senior series pre-war output. Down to the last detail, the ZIS-110 was similar to the Packard 180 station wagon sedan last pre-war model 1942.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

Soviet self-development, especially betrayed the appearance of the American Packard in accordance with the taste preferences of the country’s top leadership and mainly of Stalin personally.

Hardly an American company liked such creative development of her ideas in the design of a Soviet car, but no complaints on her part in those years was not followed, especially since the production of large “Packard” after the war was not resumed.

Moskvich 400

Soviet small car was a complete analog of the car Opel Kadett К38, published in 1937-1940 in Germany, the German branch Opel, the American concern “General motors”, recreated after the war on the basis of the surviving copies, documentation and tooling.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

A piece of equipment for the production of the vehicle was removed from the factory Opel in Rüsselsheim (located in the American occupation zone) and mounted in the USSR. A significant portion of lost documentation and tooling for production has been recreated, and the work was carried out in Germany by order of the Soviet military administration forces mixed work teams, consisting of seconded civilian Soviet and German specialists, who worked in since the war the design Bureau.

The next three generations of “Muscovites” are lagging to repeat the products of the company Opel.


Six-seven-seater passenger car of a high class with a body “long-wheelbase six-window sedan” developed on the basis of the Buick super. Serially produced at the Gorky Automobile Plant (Plant named after Molotov) from 1950 to 1959 (some modifications — to 1960.)

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

To copy the Factory strongly recommended “Buick” model 1948, but engineers on the basis of the proposed model designed a car, the most based on already utilized in the production units and technologies. ZIM was not a copy of any specific foreign car either in terms of the design, especially in the technical aspect — in the past the designers of the plant even managed in some way “to say a new word” in the global automotive industry. In October 1950, was collected by the first industrial batch of GAZ-m-12.

GAZ-21 “Volga”

Passenger car of the middle class were technically created by domestic engineers and designers “from scratch”, but apparently copied the predominantly American models of the early 1950s. During the development of the studied design of foreign cars: Ford mainline, 210, Chevy, Plymouth Savoy Standard Vanguard and the Opel Kapitän.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

GAZ-21 was serially produced at the Gorky automobile plant from 1956 to 1970. Factory index of the model initially, the GAZ-M-21, later (since 1965) — GAZ-21.

By the beginning of serial production by world standards, the design of the “Volga” has become at least ordinary, and against the background of the serial cars of those years had not particularly stood out. Already by 1960, the “Volga” car was a hopelessly outdated design.


The appearance of the car a small class model repeated Opel Olympia Rekord – successor to the Opel Kadett К38. The participation of experts from the strip, where in full swing to develop “Volga” GAZ-21 had a strong impact on the vehicle under design. “Moskvich” borrowed from it many elements of its design.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

Serial production of “Moskvich-402” was curtailed in may 1958.

GAZ-13 “Chaika”

Representative passenger car of a large class created under the obvious influence of the newest models of the American firm Packard, which in those years were studied in US (convertible Packard in the Caribbean and sedan Packard Patrician, both 1956 model year).

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

“The Seagull” was created with a clear focus on the influences of the American style, as well as all production of Gas for those years, but was not wholly “stylistic copy” or upgrading Packard. The car was produced in small series at the Gorky automobile plant from 1959 to 1981. There were made 3 189 cars of this model.

“The Seagull” was used as the personal transport of the higher nomenclature (mainly of Ministers, first secretaries of regional committees), which were issued as an integral part of the statutory package of benefits.

And sedans, and convertibles “the Seagull” was used in parades, was served at meetings of foreign leaders, prominent figures and heroes, were used as support vehicles. Also, “the Seagull” was received at “Intourist”, which, in turn, they could order everyone to be used as wedding limousines.


Copying American design in various Soviet factories has led to the fact that the shape of the car ZIL-111 was created on the same model as the “Seagull”. As a result, in the country, while superficially similar cars. ZIL-111 is often mistaken for the more common “Seagull”.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

Passenger car of the highest class stylistically represented a compilation of various elements of American cars middle and upper class the first half of 1950s, mostly resembled a Cadillac, Buick and Packard. The basis for the external design of the ZIL-111 as “the Seagull”, formed the design of models of the American firm Packard 1955-56 period. But compared to models Packard, ZIL was larger in all dimensions, looked much stricter and “squarer”, with the lines straightened, had a more complex and detailed decor.

From 1959 to 1967 it was collected only 112 copies of this car.


The main prototype minicar was the Fiat 600.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

The car was designed MZMA (“Moskvich”), together with the automobile Institute US. The first samples received the designation of “Moskvich-444”, and was significantly different from the Italian prototype. Later the designation was changed to “Moskvich-560”. Meanwhile, the pipeline itself MZMA the time were fully loaded, and reserves for development in the production of mini cars at the plant were not available. Therefore, for vehicle production it was decided to reconstruct the plant “Kommunar” in Zaporozhye (Ukrainian SSR), previously engaged in production of combine harvesters and other agricultural machinery


Passenger car very small class demonstrates considerable similarity with the German car NSU Prince IV (Germany, 1961).

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

GAZ-24 “Volga”

Passenger car of the middle class has become a hybrid of the North American Ford Falcon and Plymouth Valiant.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars 18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

Serially produced at the Gorky automobile plant from 1969 to 1992. The appearance and design of the car was rather standard for this field, technical specifications were also about average. Most of the “Volga” was not intended for sale for personal use and used in taxis and other public organizations.


VAZ-2101 “Lada” — rear-wheel drive passenger car with the sedan type is the same as a Fiat 124, received in 1967 the title of “Car of the year”.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

Under the agreement, the Soviet Foreign trade and the Fiat company, Italy was created by the Volzhsky automobile factory in Togliatti with a full production cycle. In the group entrusted technological equipment of the plant, training of the specialists.

VAZ-2101 was subjected to major changes. In total, the design of the Fiat 124 was made more than 800 changes, after which he received a Fiat 124R. “Russification” Fiat 124 proved to be very useful for the firm FIAT, gained unique information about the reliability of their vehicles in extreme conditions.


Rear-wheel drive passenger car with the sedan type. Was developed jointly with the Italian company Fiat based on Fiat 124 and Fiat 125.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

Later, on the basis of the VAZ-2103 was developed by the “project 21031” later renamed the VAZ-2106.


Model VAZ-2105 was developed by major upgrade previously produced models in the framework of the “second” generation of rear-engined cars VAZ as a replacement for the firstborn of the VAZ-2101. The basis of the design took the Fiat 128 Berlin.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

In the Intro 15 series 17 season of the Simpsons, where the Simpsons played by real actors, real scenery, Homer goes home for Lada Nova (export name “five”).


Replace the Moskvich-412 was able to design only in the 1980s, and it was a completely different car, Moskvich-2141, front-wheel drive hatchback based on the body of the French “Simcoe” is already outdated by the time the engine TIES. Export name — Aleko, from the Lenin Komsomol Automobile plant.

18 examples of how the USSR copied foreign cars

As the best prototype for the acceleration of the design of the new car Minavtoprom seen recently introduced the Franco-American model of Simca 1308 production of the European division of Chrysler Corporation. Designers were ordered to copy the car up to “iron””. However, in the process of developing the body of the car was designed from scratch, with the result that the exterior of the car differed significantly from the French sample and, though with some reservations, but consistent with the level of the mid-eighties.