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Forgotten stars of the Soviet automobile industry

Soviet sports cars, auto rarities of USSR


GAZ-A Aero
GAZ-A Aero

In the post-revolutionary Russia there was no place avtomotosportu. The famous Russo-Balt S24/55 disappeared (the donkey in a private collection, was tragically killed in troubled years, went under the knife or the Bolsheviks as a relic of imperialism - an open question), and new sports cars do not fit into the five-year program. Anyway, by and large, was considered a bourgeois luxury avtomotosport, which has no place in the Soviet Union, which is not today - tomorrow will build communism, and each family will get a comfortable four-seater sedan and an apartment for two thousandth year. A two-seater sports coupe ... that it use? In short, the Olympic motto "faster, higher, stronger" does not fit the domestic industry in the 1930s, which has been his motto - "more, more and more," "Five-Year Plan in four years" and so on. The quality of interest is much less than the quantity.

Surprisingly, during these years and there was a unique car design engineer Alexei Nikitin Osipovich GAS-A-aerodynamic. But ... first things first.


Serial GAZ-A model in 1932. In fact - a copy of the American "Ford-A"

AO Nikitin was born in 1903 in the town of Kolomna, Moscow region into a peasant family. A boy with his childhood curiosity, eagerness for knowledge and love of technology. After school, the young man enrolled in 1924 in Moscow Mechanical Institute. MV University on a car engine-compartment transpotrnogo faculty. Graduating in 1930, and received a degree in Engineering-mehannika (sv-vo. N 5319), Alex Osipovich enrolled in graduate school and began teaching.


The turning point in the life of a young designer came in 1932, in July, which was organized by the Military Academy of Mechanization and Motorization of the Red Army (later - the Military Academy of Armored Forces), where the automotive department was one of the majors. For military personnel at all times around the world have been increased demands and VAMM Red Army - not the exception. One of the main concerns of faculty and graduate academy was to conduct research and development of combat and operational qualities of wheeled vehicles, their design, durability, etc.

Sovier intelligence has always worked well, and staff of the Academy have access to the most modern and advanced (for its time) information on foreign developments in the automotive industry. Particularly interested Nikitin works of American and French scientists in the field of aerodynamics. In the West, the question a reduction in the drag cars have long been accepted is not of secondary importance (consider, for example, a German engineer Rumplera, or the American Design Byuringa). Moreover - in Germany, which after the defeat in World War I have banned the Air Force, in wind tunnels blown cars, which explains why such a jump in the automotive industry in Germany before World War II.


GAS-A-aerodynamic design engineer Nikitin SA 1934.

The idea of ​​reducing fuel consumption, increase the speed characteristics of the vehicle due to a decrease Cl captivated the mind of young engineers, and the subject of his dissertation research, he chose the car aerodynamics. Fortunately, the technical basis for the Academy was a huge (for example - almost the only country in the rolling stand), and construct an experimental model of Nikitin's nothing to prevent.


The work began with making models in 1:10 scale and blowing in the wind tunnel in the laboratory of Professor Zhukovsky Moscow Aviation Institute. Nikitin knew that the ideal form in terms of aerodynamics - the form of a liquid drop, and the models made on the basis of these considerations. Naturally, the similarity between the model and real car was quite arbitrary - the bottom of the model to be absolutely flat and the wheels are not spinning. In addition, there is another limitation - the donor was chosen vehicle GAZ-A, manufactured since 1932 and had been at that time the most popular car in the country. The disadvantage is that the GAZ-A - vysokoramnoe and the minimum possible height of the prototype was estimated at 1700 mm.

After much experimentation, the optimum shape was determined the car. Optimal not only in terms of aerodynamics, but also because of technical conditions. Ideal streamlined, as shown by the experiments, was a car with an incredibly long tail, which build on practice is very difficult, and maintain - and even impossible. The coefficient of circularity (we're talking about the drag coefficient Cx) models were 0.175 (for comparison: C, VAZ-2112 - .335 - one of the best in its class).


GAS-A-aerodynamic and Alexei Nikitin Osipovich 1934.

Arose another question - making a real prototype. GAZ-A is almost completely demolished, leaving only the chassis and engine (and that - far from all). The new body was a wooden frame, leather with steel plates, V-shaped windshield, tilted back at an angle of 45 degrees, fully enclosed fairing rear wheels, recessed lights in the wings. Even the locks were transferred into the hoods, running boards and placed inside the car, behind the doors. The width of the car remained the same - 1710 mm, but the cabin is wider at the expense of a more narrow wings. Body length was 4970 mm and wheelbase of 2620 mm. Weight - 1270 kg (standard GAZ-A - 1200 kg). Again - if mass production can be reduced to about 1170 kg, and in the rear fairing to arrange cover for the replacement of the wheels, but large-scale production plans were not. On top of "tuning" the engine capacity of 3285 cc. equipped with an aluminum cylinder head, and increased the compression ratio from 4.15 to 5.45 units, increasing capacity to 48 HP at 2600 rev / min. (At the factory - 39 hp at 2300 rev / min.).


And now, after more than twenty years, the domestic car approached the record Russo-Balt S24/55, has a top speed of 106 km / h. Results of sea trials were revolutionary - Fuel consumption reduced by more than 25%, maximum speed increased from 80 km / h to 106 km / h. As already mentioned, the coefficient C, the real sample was higher than that of a scale model and was 0.207. But this - a 48% lower than that of the GAZ-A.

Success of the young designer has not gone unnoticed at the top. Decree of the Presidium of Central Council of Societies of the USSR Avtodor March 13, 1935 for further work on the aerodynamics of cars has been allocated 2,000 rubles, and of the engineer - SA Nikitin, awarded Ford car. All of them? No, not all! Yet promised to assist in restoring the "American" - that was a bit broken ...

Himself GAZ-A-Aero was given Automobile CA Board for review. It should be a unique vehicle is lost.

The creator of the GAZ-A-Aero has continued to explore the aerodynamics until 1941, when, willy-nilly had to take up work on the chassis of tanks, and more to issues of aerodynamics do not come back. From 1941 to 1974, SA Nikitin wrote about fifty works on tracked vehicles and defended several copyright patents.

To the great regret of practical application of the work of Nikitin in those years did not find a number of reasons. First, of course, this design seemed too bold then. Such an experience of the firm "Chrysler" in 1934 ended in complete failure two years later, despite an ambitious advertising campaign. And, secondly, of course, the war intervened. Who knows what today would be the domestic cars, the duration Nikitin your job?

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