GAZ Chaika

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M13 Chaika
GAZ-13 Chaika at the Oldtimer Expo 2007.jpg
Manufacturer GAZ
Production 1959-1981
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car
Layout FR layout
Engine 5.5 l M-13 V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
Wheelbase 3,250 mm (128.0 in)
Length 5,600 mm (220.5 in)
Width 2,000 mm (78.7 in)
Height 1,580 mm (62.2 in)
Curb weight 2,050 kg (4,519 lb)
Predecessor GAZ-12 ZIM
Successor M14 Chaika
Chaika car interior.JPG

A Chaika (Russian: Ча́йка), which means gull, is a luxury automobile from the Soviet Union made by GAZ. The vehicle is one step down from the ZIL limousine.

Specifications and history

Chaika production consisted of two generations. The Mark 1 Chaika, the GAZ M13, debuted in 1958.[1] The cabriolet was made in 1961 and 1962 for official parades.[2] It was produced from 1959 to 1981, with 3,179 built in all.[3] The M13 was powered by a 195-hp SAE gross 5.5 L V8 and driven through a push-button automatic transmission of a similar design to the Chrysler TorqueFlite unit. It was offered as a saloon (GAZ 13), limousine (GAZ 13A), and four-door cabriolet (GAZ 13B) with an electrohydraulic top.[4]

RAF in Riga produced the GAZ 13A Universal, an estate, in the 1960s in Riga; this was also built as the GAZ 13C ambulance, as well as a hearse.[5] Produced for a few years in the 1960s, it is the lowest-volume Chaika variant. Small numbers were also built for Mosfilm.[6] As a limousine-class car, Chaikas were available only to the Soviet government, and could not be purchased by average citizens. However, citizens were allowed to rent Chaikas for weddings. Chaikas were used by Soviet ambassadors and Communist Party First Secretaries in East Germany, Korea, Bulgaria, Hungary, Mongolia, and Finland, among others; Fidel Castro was given one by General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, who himself preferred the Chaika to his ZIL,[7] and kept one at his summer dacha. For their larger size and more powerful V8, Chaikas were also ordered in some quantity by the KGB. Top speed was 99 mph (159 km/h).[citation needed]

Most Chaikas were saloons. The M13B was built for only two years 1961 and 1962. The GAZ 13 was discontinued in 1981.[8] The M14 debuted in 1977,[9] and ran to the end of Chaika production in 1988. Enthusiasts often point to the 1955-56 U.S. Packards as the inspiration for the early Chaika's styling.

Engine Power Transmission wheelbase length suspension
8-cylinder 220 hp SAE gross [10] 3-speed 135.8 in (3,449 mm) 240 in (6,096 mm) [11] Front: independent with coil springs

Second generation

M14 Chaika
Газ-14 чайка.JPG
Manufacturer GAZ
Production 1977-1988
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car
Layout FR layout
Engine 5.5 l GAZ-14 V8
Wheelbase 3,450 mm (135.8 in)
Length 6,114 mm (240.7 in)
Width 2,020 mm (79.5 in)
Height 1,525 mm (60.0 in)
Curb weight 2,615 kg (5,765 lb)
Predecessor M13 Chaika

The vintage 1950s-style M13 was succeeded by the more modern Chaika M14 introduced in 1977 (although production of both versions overlapped by several years). Although visually modern and fitted with the latest electronic luxury features, the M14 was in fact built around the drivetrain and undercarriage of the older model.[12] The M14 engine was a modernized 5,526 cc (337.2 cu in) and achieved 220 hp SAE gross.[13] A seven-seater, with special soundproofing,[14] it measured 611 cm (241 in) long overall and weighed in at 2,600 kg (5,732 lb).[15] A four-door convertible, the 14-95, appeared in 1982.[16]

The Chaika M14 remained in production from 14 October 1977 to 1988,[17] when the Chaika limousine brand was ended.

Around a hundred M14s were built each year, with total production (including those out of spares in 1989) reaching 1,114.[18] On orders from Mikhail Gorbachev, the blueprints and tooling were destroyed as part of his "fighting privileges" campaign under perestroika.[19]


External links

  1. Thompson, Andy. Cars of the Soviet Union (Haynes Publishing, Somerset, UK, 2008), p.69.
  2. Thompson, p.70.
  3. Thompson, p.70.
  4. Thompson, p.70.
  5. Thompson, p.70.
  6. Thompson, p.70.
  7. Thompson, p.70.
  8. Thompson, p.70.
  9. Thompson, p.70.
  10. World Cars 1978. Herald Books. ISBN 0-910714-10-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. World Cars 1978. Herald Books. ISBN 0-910714-10-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Thompson, p.211.
  13. Thompson, p.211.
  14. Thompson, p.211.
  15. Thompson, p.212.
  16. Thompson, p.305.
  17. Thompson, pp.211-212.
  18. Thompson, p.305.
  19. Thompson, p.305.