GAZ-13 "Chaika" is a Soviet representative car of a large class, produced in small series at the Gorky Automobile Plant from 1959 to 1981. The first running model was assembled in 1957. In total, 3,179 cars of this model were manufactured. They were offered a project of a visually modern, original and dynamic car, created under the clear influence of the latest American models, such as the Packard Patrician sedan and the Packard Caribbean convertible (1956), which were purchased by NAMI to study. For this car a completely new engine, the V8, was designed, instead of the in-line "six" on the Zim limusine. It had a rather progressive design for those years, in particular - the cylinder block, and the heads, the intake manifold, and the pistons were made of aluminum alloy - the rarest technical solution at that time (in America, the first aluminum engines appeared in the early sixties, but they did not receive special propagation at that time). As for the design of the Gaz 13 Chaika, contrary to the often-held statements, it did not bear a direct resemblance to a particular foreign model of the car (including Packard models, etc.), and not only due to completely different proportions of its long-bodied body with three rows of side windows, but also thanks to the completely original findings of the designer in plastic and decoration. If we talk about stylistic resonance with other cars, the similar visors over the headlights were used not only by Packard cars of 1955 and 1956 model years, but also, in certain years, Lincoln (1956), Mercury (1955-1956), Plymouth (1955-1956 ) and other brands, and as an initial prototype of this style, the concept car Ford X-100, presented in 1953, was clearly made. The design of the tail section of the Chaika with V-shaped lanterns with horizontal sections of turn signals clearly resembled the then corporate style of the General Motors concern, used in the period from the mid-fifties to the early sixties on cars of such brands as Chevrolet (1956-1957) , Pontiac (1957), Buick (1955-1958), Holden (1960-1962), but in no way stylized under the arches of the rear lights of the "Packard". Most of the design elements were just typical of the "Detroit Baroque" of those years. As a result, from the stylistic solutions used in the Chaika, reminiscent of - remotely - characteristic directly for Packard's products, it is possible to name, perhaps, only the instrument panel, with characteristic gold trim and glove box in the center, while the layout is very different, visually lighter, slightly reminiscent of the Oldsmobile panels of the same years, as well as front turn signals and a bumper with equally characteristic. In the rest, although the car was created with a clear orientation towards the American style, like all GAZ products of those years, it was not a "stylistic copy" or "creative development" of the foreign model, let alone technically Gaz 13 chaika was quite original and progressive for its time (lightweight X-frame, fully aluminum engine, 3-speed hydromechanical transmission with torque converter, etc.) Soviet development. Also completely original: the exhaust system. I'm surprised nobody remarks on that, but the Chayka had a completely original exhaust system that reduced noise and was integrated into the rear bumper. The muffler was a truck muffler, which is why it worked so well, and I think they saw the exhaust pipe integrated into the rear bumper as a feature on some US-made concept car that was never intended for production, borrowed the feature, and put it into production.The vehicles of the pilot series were sent to a test run of approximately 21,000 km. In January 1958, the experimental model with the number "E-2", which had a turquoise-milk color, was sent to Expo'58 in Brussels, Belgium, where it was exhibited from April to October of the same year and was awarded the Grand Prix Diploma (together with GAZ-21 and GAZ-52). Officially, the date of the release of GAZ-13 "Chaika" is considered to be January 16, 1959, but in fact the first cars were going to leave the GAZ factory in the fall of 1958. The first cars produced had a number of minor differences from the following, for example, the other layout of GAZ 13 "Seagull". Over the next few years, GAZ Chaika cars "Seagulls" have been exhibited many times at automotive and industrial exhibitions abroad, including Brno, Budapest, Geneva, New York, Leipzig and Mexico. In New York, at the Soviet exhibition in 1959 (in response to the American exhibition in the USSR of the same year), a single-colored "Seagull" (most likely black) was presented, but with a salon characteristic for two-color cars (with scarlet cloth upholstery, Pattern. For several years, the two-tone burgundy-beige "Seagull" was exhibited at VDNKh in the pavilion "Mechanical Engineering".
Many constructive decisions of Gaz 13 Chaika were later used in the design of the middle-class model, the Volga GAZ-24, in particular - the front suspension on rubber-metal hinges, rear trapezium steering, telescopic shock absorbers, self-adjusting brake cylinders, vacuum brake booster, and so on. Further. At the initial stage of the design of this car even provided for a transition to a separate frame, similar to the frame "Seagulls". Unlike ZIM, which was officially sold to the public (although at a very high price - 40,000 rubles, more than twice as expensive as the GAZ M20 "Victory"), the Gaz 13 Chaika was never a consumer product, did not even have an established retail prices. There are no confirmed data on cars of this brand, new citizens who have fallen into personal use, according to other sources, the writer Sholokhov and the ballerina Ulanova received the "Seagulls", the woman-cosmonaut Tereshkova received the first white GAZ-13). "Seagulls" were used as a personal transport of the highest nomenclature (mainly ministers, first secretaries of regional committees), which was issued as an integral part of the "package" of privileges. They also served in the embassies, both the USSR itself abroad, and other countries in the USSR.
Also, "Seagulls" entered Intourist, where, in turn, they could be ordered by everyone who wished to use as wedding limousines. Nowadays, the bulk of the surviving "Seagulls" is used in the wedding business, and, as a rule, is in a completely redone state. The remaining authentic specimens are in private collections and museums around the world.
In 2013, during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Tereshkova's flight on Vostok-6 during the trip along Leninsky Prospekt, the Seagull was used. In 2016, two GAZ-13 phaetons, converted from sedans, are used as parade cars in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
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