Vintage Russian Race Cars – GAZ-GL1



Although this isn’t the original model it’s a darn good replica of the GAZ-GL1. This beautiful race car was designed by Evgenie Agitov before WWII. It was built in the Gaza plant in 1938 , based on components from a GAZ M-1. This version was produced between 1936 and 1942 based on the 1933 Ford V8.  The engine installed in model was boosted another 15 hp over the 50 hp the car already had. The engine was souped up by altering the compression ratio and by installing modified cylinder heads and larger valves. Once completed, the GL-1 made it opening debute in Kiev in October 1938. Arkady Nikolaev a GAZ test technician drove the car on it’s initial run. Once the car was broken in it attained a top speed of 148 kph with the modified GAZ M-1 engine.


When the  GAZ-11-73 caMe out in 1940, its new straight inline 6 cylinder engine was able achieve a top speed of 140 kph.[6] Under Agitov’s leadership, The decision was made to upgrade the GL-1, under Agitov’s guidance the car received a new 6 cylinder 100 hp engine from a GAZ-11-73. Along with the new engine the car was also redesigned to improve the aerodynamics. Airflow over the engine was changed since overheating had been a problem with the first model. The new grille for the car was improved along with a bubble that enclosed the driver’s compartment. These improvements changed the weight of the car by only 100 kilograms  . On  September 22, 1940, when the second version of the GL-1 was completed it became the fastest car in the Soviet Union.  It set an All-Union speed record of 161.9 kph. during its speed trials.

Then under mysterious circumstances the GL-1 was destroyed. According to one story it was cut up into pieces at the factory, while another version claims that it was destroyed during a bombing of the GAZ factory during the war.

A replica of the second version of the GAZ GL-1 was built in February of 2010. It is currently on  display at the Moscow Museum. The new replica took 3 years to build, the project was the brainchild of Boushuev Coachbuild. To recreate this masterpiece drawings from by the famous artist Alexander Zakharov  were used along with surviving photographs that came from that era.


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