In the mid-1990s, the Gorky Automobile Concern produced its own last car in the sedan body, which was named Volga 3105. In general, the sale of the vehicle touched only a little more than 100 cars, based on which it is logical to conclude that the car can not be called a painful spread among Russians.
The essence of this is that this car was produced under the order of the government, so the degree of comfort and safety of the car on a rather high bar. This article will describe the technical characteristics of GAZ 3105 Volga, as well as the photo of the little-known model. The whole model range is GAZ.
The mid-1980s allowed a sufficiently old “conveyor” life Volga-24 to “refresh”, after which it was named 24-10. In principle, the model was still the same as the 24th model, but there was a little more modern design of the exterior of the car, as well as a slightly modified interior.
Some technical changes have been made, but it cannot be called a new car. On this basis, the design staff of the automobile plant in the city of Gorky began to develop a promising family, which, as they planned, would replace the Volga of the 2nd family.
In addition to “consumer” cars, such as the Volga, the Gorky people also assembled GAZ-14 seagull. This vehicle was used by high-ranking officials and party nomenclature. It should be noted that they did not represent the district scale, but were in more valuable offices. But the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics took the course of perestroika, so in 1988, suddenly the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, together with the Council of Ministers, under the pressure of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, ordered the removal of GAZ-14 (Chaika) from the assembly line.
Moreover, the talk was not about a simple assurance of production of this car, but it was proposed to eliminate Chaika as a class, as a type of car, which was used as a service car for prominent people of the government. These actions can be seen as flirting with the electorate and as real actions to ensure democracy in the country. In addition, they may have wanted to deprive them of the “benefits and realities” that were so characteristic of the Brezhnev stagnation. But don’t say anything, and Chaika was liquidated in 1988.
Only the Volga River was left in the service of the state apparatuses. The improved GAZ-24-10 and the more prestigious 31st could not even save the situation. The situation in which the country found itself was realized “at the top” and “at the bottom”, at the enterprise itself. Proceeding from this, the Gorky Automobile Plant started to deal vigorously with the new car.
However, it was not a question of a car that was supposed to replace the standard GAZ-24. The model that was able to become a “member carrier of the new time” was being developed. In other words, there should have been a car with more compact dimensions, which would not have been as stiff and heavy as the previous Gas-14. In addition, the model should not have been designed “for ordinary citizens”, which means that it was expected to be specific and well equipped.
Also, it shouldn’t have been sold in car dealerships. The specialists of the Gorky Automobile Plant began to analyze the current trends in the global automotive industry. As a result, they agreed in the opinion, which implied the installation of a non-standard layout – the all-wheel drive system. Interestingly, the section “quattro”, which at that time only began to develop the company Audi, was chosen at the plant for the exceptionally correct direction of formation of the machine, which received the index – 3105.
But the logical question arises, why did you choose the all-wheel drive system? The standard layout, as the specialists of the Gorky Automobile Plant believed, was already used quite a bit and did not give the implementation of the required level of controllability and stability. If we switched only to the front-drive configuration, it would not be quite rational, as for such a massive and heavy machine, and it would be impossible because of plans to install under the hood of sedans a V-shaped “eight” instead of some in-line four-cylinder “phenomotor”.
It is also very important that the leadership of the USSR together with the company represented the new car not only in the Soviet space, but in the countries of the West and Europe – no matter how, it would make the model a source of currency. Therefore, the new car was required to fully comply with all the current properties and achievements of recent years.
Although, in addition to the all-wheel-drive car (3105), the framework for the construction of future cars included the presence of other models, such as GAZ-3103 (front-drive configuration) and GAZ-3104 (rear-drive configuration). It turns out that the new Volga would have all the variants of the layout of the “Big German Three”, namely, Audi, Mercedes and BMW. Even in theoretical terms, this should have made the models competitive even in “foreign countries”.
In the given period of time there was a problem: whether it is necessary to project the car by own efforts, or it is better to choose purchase already any ready licence? Because the Soviet car industry has not yet forgotten a good experience with Zhiguli. Probable “donors” were Ford Scorpio and Peugeot 605, however, a little bit later, the situation was overplayed in the direction of personal developments.
It is worth noting that the debut plans for the whole company generation were abandoned for a while and the “important” model – GAZ-3105 with all-wheel drive – was given the advantage. But, as often happens, everything did not go exactly as planned. In fact, as early as 1987, the government decided to stop sponsoring automobile enterprises, which forced them to switch to economic calculation and self-sufficiency.
It is clear that the Gorky Automobile Plant was a special case, as its most important customer has always been the state itself. Therefore, the stability of demand together with the support of new models was provided at the conceptual level. Unfortunately or joyfully, it was at that time when the project was being completed and the car was being prepared for production that a major incident occurred – the Soviet Union collapsed. Despite this, the Gorky Automobile Plant had to buy some components abroad, so as a result, the price of finished products was $80,000 per vehicle.
The future of the sedan was aggravated by the fact that all the factories, except for those that were state-owned, were no longer constrained by administrative methods and could buy a foreign car with the existence of funds. It turns out that for tens of thousands of dollars at that time it was possible to buy, for example, a “wild boar”, or even a “six hundredth”. It is logical to conclude that any Volga, whatever it may be, even the most advanced and “stuffed”, could not compete in terms of quality of production and prestige with the new S-class, which is about to change on the pedestal W126.
Speaking in general, everyone liked the Russian model, many people even admired it, but there were no people who would go and buy it. They even decided to present the model at the car show in Brussels and Leipzig, but the factory was not able to instantly and successfully squeeze the car on the conveyor belt.
Also, they were not sure that all the manufactured cars, and according to the first plan they should have been about 250 a year, will be able to find their owners. Therefore, the life of the representative sedan, which did not have time to begin in 1993, ended in 1996, only 3 years later. Only 50 models were produced. It turns out that the production was much more expensive than income, so the cessation of production can be called a fairly logical decision.
Given the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the enterprise was already in a difficult situation, so there was no point in living. That is why the management of the Gorky Automobile Plant decided to concentrate on the production of a mass GAZ-31029 car, as well as a more “elite” one GAZ-3102. The plant was able to stay afloat by producing trucks.
When looking at the appearance, no matter by photo or in reality, GAZ-3105, it was as if a spacecraft landed on the ground. And this is all without exaggeration. Watching black-and-white photos, far from perfect quality, motorists in the USSR for a long period of time disassembled the July issue of the magazine “Za rulem” in 1990, where many people could see the new car for the first time. Its appearance was modern, dynamic, with smooth shapes and a minimum number of transitions.
The strong inclination of the glasses together with the wedge-shaped silhouette allowed the car to get excellent flowability and Cx at the level of 0.3. You can look at the photo to see how graceful it is. Although the most important feature of the 05th model was the presence of unusual glazing, as if the car hinted at “transparency”, openness and “openness”. The second row under the standard side windows was another small window, which seemed to “merge” with the door handles.
It would not be superfluous to notice that the standard side windows (large) did not sink. A little later, because of the intricacy in the application of this method in reality and its not the best technological side, the opening “window sills” decided to abandon. In this “duel” the standard lowering glasses which had a classical design won. Many people say that after this decision GAZ-3105 instantly became a bit boring in appearance. Although no one says that it became ugly – only in appearance began to be shown a lot of similar to the Audi 100, or Opel Senator or Lancia Thema.
The only thing I would like to say confidently is that the new model looked modern, attractive and original in those moments. A little later, some stylistic solutions of the 05th car were seen in other vehicles, the production of which was engaged in Gorky Automobile Plant. For example, the restyled version of the standard Volga car, which received the index 31029, and the truck Gazelle, some elements were taken from GAZ-3105.
We were surprised not only at the exterior of GAZ-3105, but also at the interior of the model. For example, there was the presence of adjustment of the steering column on the departure and inclination, various (even electrified) settings of seats with the option of memory and heating, climate control system with the option of maintaining a set temperature, which did not depend on the conditions overboard, acoustic system with 6 speakers, hydraulic power steering with a steering column.
The salon was stuffed not only with buttons, but also in an elegant style, coming from the designer’s side. This is clearly seen when compared to the condom “saloons” of the previous Volga models. Despite the button control unit of the climatic system, where there was an unambiguous inscription “Lancia”, which seemed to hint at the “donor” model GAZ-3105, from the beginning of the 1990s such a car would look rather good without irony. And the car would look good even on the European arena. Inside the representative sedan there was such level of comfort as if it was a foreign car. Even today it is hard to believe that already in those years designers could do such things!
The central console, apart from the on-board computer and other pleasant innovations, had a button locking the center differential, where there was a remote vacuum drive. The salon was luxurious and spacious. Traumatically safe steering column was made adjustable. The front seats had adjustable position and backrest inclination, and even the height of the cushion was adjusted! Adjustment of seats received electric drives with push-button controls.
The cushions together with the backs received electric heating and the system of automatic maintenance of the set temperature regime. On the second row of seats it was possible to change the longitudinal position of the cushion and at the same time to change the angle of inclination of the backrest.
Especially for the new sedan, we decided to create a new engine. Under the hood of the sedan was installed a V-shaped eight, running on gasoline. The unit had a 3.5-liter volume and produced 170 horsepower. Cylinder heads and pistons were made with the use of aluminum alloy, and the block of cylinders was made of cast-iron free.
The crankshaft rotated in 5 main bearings and was equipped with a torsional vibration damper. The double-row chain had a hydraulic tensioner and rotated camshafts made of cast iron (one per cylinder head). Valve actuators were driven by hydraulic pushers, which had automatic clearance compensation.
The drive of the mounted motor units had a multi-ribbed belt through the tensioning and intermediate rollers. The ignition system appeared to be a non-contact mechanism, where there was a magnetoelectric sensor and the limiting speed limiter of the power unit (6 000 – 6 100 revolutions per minute). When such a GAZ 3102 engine stood at a maximum speed of 200 km/h, and the first hundred was achieved in just 11 seconds.
It was decided to synchronize such a powerful power unit together with a five-stage mechanical gearbox with a dry single-disc clutch, which is fixed by a diaphragm spring. The main gear was located at the bottom left of the engine. The torque to it was transmitted from the secondary shaft of the five-speed chain Morse.
In order to make the length of the drive shafts equal, the crankcase of the main gear made asymmetrical, where there was an extension, which passes under the power unit. A four-wheel drive system was used. The box had a common oil bath together with the front drive axle and interaxial differential.
All the pendants were independent. The front suspension had a pair of transverse levers, where the upper one was placed high up and out, so that the upper ball bearing was above the wheel. The swinging axes of the levers are not parallel. The engine itself, together with the lower arms, was fixed to the subframe, which in turn was fixed to the body through the cushions, which were resilient.
Slanting levers were also attached to the subframe. Such a scheme was considered reliable, and it also provided smooth running, which is very demanding for cars of such classes. The suspension was supplied by the famous world company McPherson. The sedan received front and rear stabilizer of transverse stability.
It had a hydraulic power steering on GAZ-3105, and it was also integrated into the rack and pinion mechanism. The steering column, which can be adjusted in tilt angle and length, received an electric absorbing element. Driving such a car is very convenient and simple.
Here they used disc brakes on all wheels, and in front they were ventilated. The mechanisms also had floating brackets. Moreover, the car boasted a Bosch ABS system. The system had a dual-circuit hydraulic drive with diagonal separation of the circuits, as well as a pressure regulator in the rear brake drive.
The vacuum booster was not forgotten. The parking brake had a mechanical torso and acted on the rear brakes. It could work as an emergency brake. The car was the first in the history of the country to have airbags.
We sum up
It is a pity that such a machine of its own production, which even today causes surprise and pride, because of the collapse of the Soviet Union, has not found wide application. Of course, we can say that it could not withstand the competition of European automobile companies, perhaps, but we should not forget that the Gorky Automobile Plant was in a very difficult situation in those years when other European companies were developing freely.
The government couldn’t support him anymore, so we had to get out of it ourselves. Even nowadays, a car with similar characteristics and equipment is not so easy to find on the domestic market. And in fact, at least 27 years ago in the USSR there were such cars, which were not inferior to European analogues in terms of functionality and comfort level.
It is a pity that, as often happens, all the political confusion is to blame. Therefore, GAZ-3105 will remain only in our memory, printed magazines, photos on the Internet and, most importantly, in the museum of the Gorky Automobile Plant.
We advise you to read the article: Dream car: how “Volga” was hardened