The Volga GAZ-3111 represents a Russian business-class passenger car (E2 segment according to European classifications), which was produced in a small-scale format in the period from 2000 to 2004 at the Gorky Automobile Plant.
This vehicle turned out to be an original representative of the company in a sense. The developers faced the task to produce a premium-class car, which would have been able to retain the unique shapes, which were inherent to the cars of the Gorky Automobile Plant. The whole model range is GAZ.
But to our grief, the car was able to stay on the conveyor belt for a while. Partly it happened because of the novelty of the model itself and unpreparedness of the traditional domestic automobile market. Sedan managed to get out of the list of many Russian models, and it can be attributed not only to the unusual appearance, but also to the interior.
But anyway, the car is considered to be a worthy conveyor bellwether of the Russian enterprise. Today some people use tuning for such cars. In this article it will be possible to get acquainted with the model closer and see the video of the sedan work.
History of the origin
At the Moscow Annual Motor Show-98 in 1998, a new Volga, GAZ-3111, was presented to the public. The road to its production was long and thorny, but the produced car was modern in appearance and interior, and also provided a rich list of technological innovations.
At the end of 1998, the staff of the Gorky Automobile Plant was awarded a diploma of the 6th All-Russian Exhibition-Contest “Design-98” for the design of the model 3111 and its previous prototypes in the category “Project of the Year”.
The “Eleventh” model was to become a flagship version of the Russian enterprise and a possible replacement for foreign cars of that time. Speaking in general, the sedan managed to meet the most modern needs of the car market and was actually a worthy rival to foreign cars, if not for the only “but”.
The basic equipment did not have an electric package, a radio set and even airbags, and the cost of the car as of 1990 was $13,500. At the same time, for example, the “nine” was estimated at about $4,000.
In a complete set the sedan cost in general 35 000 $. Because of this, less than 500 cars could be sold in 3 years of production. Production of the new sedan was planned on a specialized production line, the capacity of which was up to 25 thousand cars annually.
But the serial version of the sedan almost immediately could not compete with other models because of morally obsolete elements of the construction department and poor quality interior finishing. In addition, it is worth mentioning a very expensive price tag.
Because of these moments already in 2002 the “eleventh” model was not produced from the conveyor. However, a couple of years later, a special order for a limited batch of sedans was issued. Some tuning companies were able to offer their variations on the platform 3111, where there were imported engines and automatic transmission Toyota.
There was even room for a long limousine. To date, this car is one of the most rare passenger cars of the 2000s. The car turned out to be a continuation of the whole range of “Volga”. Standard construction versions with units and assemblies were borrowed from GAZ-3110. The main feature of the “eleventh” model was the presence of streamlined bodywork and ergonomics of the interior with a hint of elitism.
The creators managed to provide the sedan with the latest accessories, among which was the availability of steering hydraulic booster, ABS, on-board computer and air conditioning unit. Revolutionary changes were not applied during the development of the walkway, the design staff adopted the rear continuous axle with springs at the standard “Volga”. However, the front hingeless suspension was used.
Along with a modest walk, it was not possible to equip the machine with a European level of comfort in operation, but when comparing these indicators with other outputs of the Gorky Automobile Plant, 3111 had clear advantages. Strange as it may seem, but it was decided to get rid of such a car – the project was closed. It is still unknown who, when and why decided to close the project.
For the domestic automotive market, GAZ-3111 was a real breakthrough, because already in the early 2000s there was a front lined optics, and behind it was an LED lighting system.
The “eleventh” model can be called a holiday car. Despite the motley traffic flow, much attention will be paid to GAZ-3111. The car has received an expressive silhouette with massive sides, muscular plastic component of the body and abundance of chrome. You immediately feel that the appearance of the Volga River was created by the designers of the plant in Gorky, having untied hands and unfettered consciousness.
But if you take a closer look at the appearance, you notice that in fact there are not so many chrome parts, or rather – just the frame of the grille with a molding over the rear number plate. Everything else – or painted “under the chrome” plastic or the use of metallized aluminum, which certainly allows you to originate inside a feeling of some kind of falsehood. But here’s what you can sincerely praise, is the light-amplifying technique.
For a while it is even hard to imagine that the hungry Russian Federation in the 1990s could equip a sedan with such luxurious and innovative optical headlights for those years. The headlamps did not have obsolete mirror diffusers, but lenses that are now used on current xenon headlamps.
In addition, the old-fashioned car front lights were made as a separate element. Rear lights got nothing there, and LED lighting! But during the 1990’s and 2000’s LED lighting could be found quite rarely, even on the cars of expensive European companies.
Not everyone likes the design solution of the “eleventh” model. It was made on the verge of kitsch, but, given this, the concept was quite interesting. The sedan could show not only the echoes of the classic appearance of the 21st model, but also some Soviet cultural code.
Such a design solution, which can be called pretentious, over-decorated, but, still, harmonious and attractive, were able to design only a Russian design team. I would like to tell you a little about some opinions about the fact that Russians copied Rover 75. However, such speculations have no place in reality, because they are quite similar, and in addition, two cars were presented in 1998. The specialists of the Gorky Automobile Plant simply couldn’t have time to copy the Rover physically.
If we talk about interior decoration, we can find here the presence of calm forms, academically correct ergonomics, and, surprisingly, a good level of quality of materials. The panel installed at the front was decorated with plastic inserts for lacquered wood, and the door panels, except for pseudo-wood details, received inserts with velour and chrome moldings.
The factory finish has a quiet color in tones. It would be desirable to note that, according to the owners, even after the sixteenth year of life of the sedan interior elements do not squeak and do not look worn or tired.
It is clear that if any car is well cared for, it will be in good condition, but still, the level of cars produced today is below the level of GAZ-3111. The salon has received several non-standard solutions for the ergonomic component, among which there is a block of hood openers, luggage compartment and gasoline tank hatch in the area of the driver’s threshold.
In addition, everything is quite similar to the cabin on 3110. Large buttons installed on the earlier Volga River were replaced with small buttons, and instead of heating system sliders they decided to use rotating handles.The instrument panel has a small on-board computer screen, which can even perform a self-test of the power pack control unit.
In another way, as chic as chic, it is simply impossible to say anything else, given the fact that there were the 1990’s of the twentieth century. Driver’s seat allows you to easily adjust the necessary fit for each driver. It would not be superfluous to mention that this sedan model is the first one, where the steering wheel can be adjusted in the angle of inclination and departure.
The driver’s seat itself, which was produced at the enterprise of the Russian Federation, can be adjusted in height. By the way, the chair is a product of the company from America – Lear.
Despite the 15-year experience of the sedan, its list of functions is not inferior to today’s equipment. There one could find four window lifts, the function of heating and electric drive of rear-view mirrors, the option of heating the washer nozzles and air conditioner.
Among other things, it all went from the factory and worked adequately. The saloon was able to deprive it of angularity, and thanks to the smooth transitions between the various parts of the saloon, a certain charm was introduced into the interior of the sedan.
If you compare 3111 with previous models, they were 120 mm shorter. As in almost all GAZ trucks, the “eleventh” model has a spacious luggage compartment, which allows you to carry a lot of necessary things. You can say a few words about the back sofa. In terms of spaciousness at the back (however, and in terms of interior volume), the new sedan slightly surpassed the classic Volga, in which it was possible to settle down quite freely.
Despite the presence of a sloping roof, the second row of seats allowed even the passenger to sit comfortably, whose height was 190 cm, and the space available above the head was still there. It is worth admitting that the seats here are located only for a couple of people, because the third will be a hindrance installed in the center of the tunnel. Among the individual features can be highlighted armrest and ashtray with backlight.
The luggage compartment of the car is huge. If you look at the passport, there are as much as 600 liters of useful space, but a solid part of the space is stolen by a full-size reserve. Installation of the underground spare wheel by the design team was hindered by the presence of a continuous drive axle together with the tank, which is traditionally placed in the layer in the rear overhang.
This rare vehicle was equipped with a 2.5-liter 155 hp ZMZ-405 petrol engine. Looking ahead, I would like to say that the 4-speed automatic gearbox ZF 4HP22 acted as a synchronizer. Such a modification of the car was developed and manufactured at the Gorky Automobile Plant itself. There was no trace of an outside tuning company, as it may seem initially.
ZMZ-4062.10, which had a four-cylinder system and distributed fuel injection, was also used. Both engines were equipped with 4 valves per cylinder. For standard vehicles 150-strong engine was not a bad option, but the massive design of the “Volga” required more potential. Because of this, they considered adding a ZMZ-4064.10 engine, which could produce 200 horsepower.
But the new engine was never destined to be delivered to the conveyor, so the novelty was left without additional capacity. In the future, this was one of the important factors that led to the removal of the sedan from mass production.
A little above we have already mentioned the automatic transmission ZF 4HP22, which was not even put some cars of the company BMW, Audi and Jaguar 1980-1990s. 3111 received an adapted version of the box, where there was an original “bell”, which was developed specifically for the Russian powertrain. A new hydraulic clutch drive was made for the sedan, where there was a spring servo-amplifier and an original small-size main cylinder.
The gearbox had similar design solutions to the 3110, but it was also equipped with a remote switching actuator, which made it possible to place the lever inside the machine more conveniently and to protect it from vibrations. Due to the fact that the location of the power unit along with the wheelbase has been changed, the cardan gear varies from 3110. A new, more reliable intermediate support has already been used here.
Therefore, it turns out that in addition to the automatic box, there was also a five-stage mechanical one. If we believe the words of some owners of this sedan, the car with an automatic box made in Germany was not much less than the standard modification, where there was a Russian 5-stage “mechanics”.
According to the passport data, it reached the first hundred in 12.9 seconds. But the “automatic” Volga had a slightly lower speed limit and could not reach up to 180 km/h, which was the case with the “mechanical” version of the sedan.
On the front “module” of the chassis was a lot of new approaches. They were tested on the front-drive and 4×4 models of the Gorky Automobile Plant, for example, on the prototype 3110 and 3104. If on the early suspension, which was used on the model 3110, where there were kingpins, the new sedan received an original transverse-lever suspension in front, where there was a turntable on ball supports.
The levers mounted at the bottom rested on a subframe, and the axis of the levers mounted at the top was mounted on a cast bracket. It was installed there as a spring support. Among the main differences of the rear suspension was the presence of a transverse stability stabilizer and another, close to vertical, installation of shock absorbers.
Thanks to these changes, the vehicle’s stability was improved, and the longitudinal spring deformations along with the rear axle oscillations were reduced. In short, the front suspension is represented by a hingeless, independent type, with transverse levers. The rear suspension has a dependent spring component, where there is a transverse stability stabilizer.
Steering wheel control
The steering unit has a rack and pinion type and an integrated hydraulic booster, which was designed and supplied by the Autohydraulic Power Plant.
Soviet-built sedan was the debut machine, the basic equipment which included ABS. During its development, the design staff turned to the famous Bosch company for help, which began to supply the company with system parts until the completion of construction of GAZ-3111.
Cost and equipment
As these vehicles have been produced relatively few, there are not many of them on the second-hand market, but they do exist. The price starts at $4,597. The sedan has received good electrical equipment.
There were electric door windows, a central lock, fog lights, an electric antenna with audio preparation and speakers. Moreover, the Gorky Automobile Plant has installed services that are able to maintain the glass, among which are the availability of heating, electric drive and washers.
In order to control the main parameters of the car, the on-board electronic system, which can notify the driver through the dashboard during the detection of deviations, is provided. Passengers sitting on the second row can observe the presence of backlit lamps and cigarette lighter with an ashtray. Some of them received an on-board trip computer.
It depends on which modification is chosen, there is a standard climate control system and an electronic unit, which supports automatic control of the temperature inside the car. As a separate option it was possible to order an air conditioner, a radio and other functions.
The pros and cons
- Stylish appearance, which is pleasant even today;
- Not bad power of the power unit;
- Acceptable height of road clearance;
- There is a big luggage department;
- Abundance of free space inside the car;
- Pleasant and comfortable seats;
- Moderate dynamic characteristics;
- Not bad suspension which softly swallows many bumps and potholes on a road site;
- Pleasant and modern dashboard;
- Presence of the hydraulic amplifier of a steering wheel;
- There is an air conditioner;
- 5-speed manual transmission;
- Automatic transmission (not so many models were produced with automatic transmission);
- Improved lighting;
- Nice and quality interior;
- Relatively low fuel consumption;
- A lot of electrical adjustments.
Cons of a car
- Big weight of the car;
- Large size;
- Imitation of chrome parts;
- It is difficult to serve model as in official services sedan simply do not accept, and techniques on its service is not remained;
- Sometimes for an automatic gearbox there is not enough standard power unit;
- Cost in the secondary market;
- Unfortunately, the level of a foreign car is still far away.
We sum up
It’s a pity that GAZ-3111 couldn’t survive in the car market for a long time. After all, the model was able to compete even with foreign brands not only in appearance, but also in interior decoration and technical stuffing.
The sedan received a lined optics, LED rear lighting, which is even now a sign of style, and in those years it was a novelty. If we compare GAS-24, which at those moments were very much even in the post-Soviet territory, with the “eleventh” model, it’s just heaven and earth.
If it wasn’t for the low cost and other unknown reasons, many drivers would have been happy to move to this luxury sedan. Inside there is everything to make you feel comfortable. There is a steering wheel, informative and comfortable dashboard, clear central console, comfortable seats, a lot of free space on the first and second row. Despite the fact that the luggage compartment has a full-size spare wheel, except for it, you can transport a lot of things there, because according to the passport the trunk has 600 liters of useful space.
The powertrain was not the most powerful, but it fulfilled its direct duties and could accelerate such a hard sedan to 100 km/h in just 12.9 seconds, that at that time was not such a bad result. The abundance of electrical systems made it simply out of competition among other Russian cars. GAZ-3111 The Volga can actually be called a good result of the work of the employees of the Gorky Automobile Plant.
We advise you to read the article: Dream car: how Volga was hardened