Welcome to Soviet Saturday, comrades. Here, I discuss the greatest automotive legends from the Soviet era and beyond.

Today I’ll show you one of my favorite Russian cars - Volga GAZ 3102.

In mid 1970s GAZ started development of a replacement for Volga GAZ 24 which was originally planned to be made for only 10 years. GAZ engineers wanted a car that could compete with foreign manufacturers. Initially the plan was the have both V6 and V8 engines as well as a variety of creature comforts.

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Being that this was USSR though, GAZ didn’t get the funding it was expecting from the government which decided to instead invest in VAZ. As a result the 3102 project was frozen.

It wasn’t until 1980 that the government decided to invest in GAZ again. As I recall one of the big shots from the government got killed in a car crash while riding in a GAZ 13 Chaika. That resulted in a lot of backlash for GAZ since they were still producing car designed in the 50s.

Soon after that the government gave GAZ the go ahead to produce a new car for low ranking officials. As a result we got GAZ 3102. The car was a rebodied GAZ 24 with new interior but same underpinnings.

Until 1993 the new Volga was only sold to government officials. It wasn’t until after the fall of the Soviet Union when GAZ became an independent company that these cars were sold to the public.

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These cars came with 3 different engines. 2.3 liter 4 cylinder, 2.5 liter 4 cylinder and 5.5 liter V8 out of a Chaika that was used in KGB and FSB chase cars. All models had a manual gear box.

Believe it or not GAZ 3102 was sold until 2009.

I have two diecasts of this car in 1/43 scale. One is a Soviet made model and the other is Chinese. This is one of the times where I actually prefer the Soviet model that has opening doors, hood and trunk. Sadly, this model is not numbered. Numbered models are highly valuable and sought after.

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The Chinese model is made by DeAsostini.

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