Привет товарищи!

Today we look another car that seemed to be custom made for Soviet conditions - yet started off at another time and another place entirely.

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But first things first - the Moskvich 423 was the wagon version of the Moskvich 402 - the standard Soviet sedan made from 1956 to 1965. And while the body looked modern enough for the time, the engine was a 1.2l side valve affair producing a pretty miserable 35hp. Top speed was 90 km/h (or 55 mph).

The reason for that lack of power lay in the origin of the car's design. Because underneath the Russian designed body was the platform of a 1930s Opel Kadett - the small car made by General Motors in Germany. That Opel was a very modern design at its debut in 1937 - only the second car made with a chassis-less monocoque design.

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Opel's manufacturing facilities were (like that of most German car makers) located in the Soviet controlled part of occupied Germany - and it was lock, stock and barrel dismantled and re-assembled on the outskirts of Moscow. Hence the name Moskvich - which roughly translates as "Son of Moscow".

And so a car designed by an American company became the first car to be assembled in the post war Soviet Union. The first Moskvich looked exactly like the old Opel as it was virtually unchanged.

This model was the first major upgrade to the pre-war design, and while the engine was slightly enlarged, it still remained essentially unchanged. Only in 1958 did they switch to an OHV design which gave much improved performance. This car was called the 407.

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This model is by Grell, and is really not their finest work, as it seems to suffer from a hugely oversized nose section. But if you want a 1950s small scale Moskvich, this is the only one out there. However, there are some better 1/43 models available.