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Forgotten stars of the Soviet automobile industry

Soviet sports cars, auto rarities of USSR

Russo-Balt C24-55

Russo-Balt C24-55
Russo-Balt C24-55

Car Russo-Balt S24/55 - perhaps the first national production car, professionally prepared for the rally. In general, in fact, this car, which had existed in a single copy has been created for a single race - rally "Monte Carlo" in 1912. The initiator of the construction of a sports car was Andrew Platonovich Nagel, editor and publisher of the St. Petersburg magazine "Car", and he also piloted it to the rally.

Nagel himself ever was an ardent admirer of Rousseau-Balt cars rolling plant, and admiration for fellow countrymen before foreign manufacturers (and they are already in those years was presented to the Russian market a lot - "Mercedes", "Adler", "Benz", "Reno" "Laurin-Klement", "Opel", "Fiat" - these are just the most famous of them) are very hurt editor. In the Russian car did not trust anybody! One of the articles in the magazine "Car" (1910, N18, with. 3184) Nagel wrote: "For the average provincial Russian client not only important to get the car," the newest brand, "as the car adapted to the conditions in which he will have to work ".

Russo-Balt S24/30 III series with a body of the torpedo granturizmo owned by AP Nagel 1910

Himself chief editor since 1910, owned a "motor" S24/30 Series III, at number 14. Behind the wheel of this car in the summer of 1910, to rally the St. Petersburg-Kiev-Moscow-St Petersburg (3000 km), Nagel won the gold medal. In the autumn of that year he toured Europe, visiting Berlin, Rome, Naples, crossed the Alps and climbed Mount Vesuvius. Thus, Europe saw the first Russian car. Then came 1911 - Rally St. Petersburg-Moscow-Sevastopol. A. Nagel, again marked by a gold medal for speaking out on the same machine "RBVZ" N14. In short, by the end of 1911 the publisher had the reputation of being one of the most famous riders of the Russian Empire.

Partly for this reason and partly because the chairman Mikhail RBVZ Shydlouski was an old friend of the journalist, the honor to represent Russia in the old rally-raid of the planet fell to Alexander Nagel. Needless rally was held in 1911 in the harshest time of year - winter. One legend says that the timing was not accidental: it was winter in Monte Carlo is a lull, and the beaches pustovato ... out of season, what else can I say? For a small state living mostly by tourists - a disaster! Annual default. So was born the chairman of the largest companies in the Principality - "Society of sea bathing", an idea supported by the Prince of Monaco - holding the annual road races. Thus was born at the turn of 1910 and 1911 the tradition continued to this day - "Rallye-Automobile-Monaco".

Engine of Russo-Balt C24-55

The essence of the competition were as follows: from different countries and cities in different, strictly defined taking into account the range of ways to time, crews have started participating. Finish is in one place - Monte Carlo, La Condamine usually on the waterfront. The calculation was conducted based on the average speed (in 1911 - 10 km / h in 1912 - 20 km / h), with the passage of mandatory checkpoints. Repairing the engine and chassis components for the race was forbidden, and so they fill. In general, it was a so-called rally "with a stellar collection", which was subsequently immense popularity.

In this race and had to participate A. Nagel and offspring RBVZ. To start the journalist has chosen St. Petersburg - the most remote, compared with the rest of the city of Monte Carlo, hoping for a fair prize for the range of the transition. Calculations showed that the need to start ... December 31, 1911! Interesting date, is not it?

So, frosty, early morning December 31, 1911, Moscow outpost. The Commission last check seals, Andrew Nagel, in his constant pot and his partner Vadim Mikhailov cap to a great pose for photographers, the capital city, sitting in nadraennom to shine S24/55 ...

Stop! And that, in general, this represented the Russo-Balt?

A typical design of the S24/30 - spar frame dependent leaf suspension rear wheels, steering worm, bevel clutch, mechanical brakes, ignition of the magneto. Powertrain - 4501 cc., Nizhneklapanny mehanimz distribution, non-removable cylinder head. Brakes - drum rear, front - no!

But it's Russo-Balt S24/55 (nee S24/30) Series III, No. 9, of course, was "brought to mind." Engine capacity was increased to 4939 cc. in 1910 to participate in the Kiev run, but then its creator and chief designer RBVZ Julien Potter, has not made significant progress (though, took revenge on this same car in verstovye races in Riga June 7, 1911, showing a maximum speed of 120 km / h at the start of the run, and the average - 105 km / h). For that race compression ratio raised from 4.0 to 5.5 units, which allowed to squeeze 55 hp Power density - about 35 hp per ton of weight! A whopping 11 horsepower per liter volume! This is a time when tuners pull in ten times more ridiculous, and in 1911 - a huge accomplishment!

3-speed gearbox Russo-Balt S24/30 III series. 1910

By the "Rallye-Automobile-Monaco" car prepared more thoroughly - the torque transmitted through the axle driveshaft, not a chain, and the pistons ... of these pigs! Pistons for the first time in automotive history was made of aluminum! They got to the Riga plant "Motor", where the engineer Theodore Kalep in the middle of 1911 began experiments on the use of aluminum pistons in aircraft engines. In addition, installed new French carb "Zenit" (Zenith), gears with a reduced gear ratio, so it was planned to develop a speed of 105 km / h (from Serial S24/30 - 70 km / h), a powerful acetylene lamp, "Frakoniya" three-section acetylene generator, electric lights of the dynamo and rechargeable batteries. Body facilitated to the maximum - even removed the windshield! But added a 50-liter tank. Spark engine were hermetically closed cap, personally invented A. Nagel.

"Footwear" consistent with the car - the best tire factory "Explorer" - "Columbus"! Given the characteristics of weather conditions, the rear wheels wore chain for the front wheels have provided special skis (makers believed that skis make it easier to control on a snowy road). In the cooling system instead of water, poured pure alcohol.

This is - as regards the aggregate tuning and styling as well? Not without it. Radiator decorated with brass letters Russo-Baltique in French. At the front of the body placed the emblem of the Imperial Russian automobile company, and front and rear set plates, where the red letters on a white background was written: "Rallye-Automobile-Monaco". Placed in front of white, blue and red Russian flag and a red and white flag of Monaco.

Home was not entirely successful - the motor gave back the flash (such incidents have occurred frequently before the introduction of electric starter.) Vadim Mikhailov and broke his arm. Stay in St. Petersburg Mikhailov flatly refused, and hit the road with only one functioning hand - the left.

Nigel A. Mikhailov and a car Russo-Balt S24/55 III series. 1910
Race conditions were inhuman - storms, snow drifts, moving, at times, had to literally touch. Lights, even as powerful as "Frakoniya" could not cope. "Covers only a white spot" - the words of the Nagel. Mikhailov has repeatedly spoken guide, wandered through the snow with a lantern in his hand. Behind him walked a car. In different parts of the journalist is dragged at a speed of a turtle, then drove to the maximum - all of 105 km / h! In France the car drove into a strip of fog, thick as cotton. But this obstacle was overcome with honor.

However, following almost forced to put an end to racing. Icy ascents and descents of Belfort car with low gear ratio in the rear axle would not take. The chains worn and torn, and from them there was no confusion. Rescued outing to a nearby village. But the chain to sell them nobody could - they were not. Finally, someone suggested to turn to a local winemaker. He supposedly carries the wine in barrels for sale, and binds them with chains, when driven in a cart. Winemaker long stubborn, but the chain has sold. They are helped out on the icy hills. (According to another legend, Alexander Nagel shod wheels in leather straps with nails, invented the first season tires).

And then, finally, after 195 hours 23 minutes from the start, passing the 3257 miles at an average speed 16.7 km / h at a cost of about 600 liters of gasoline (18l/100 km), having done all the way without a single failure, and bringing with him a tire "pererburgsky" air, Russo-Balt finish in Monte Carlo. First! The second party finished just after 6:00. Total of 83 starters finished the 59 crew members.

Started scoring - case, as in any rally, not an easy job. A. Nagel received a 1st prize of routes (as he raschityvl!), 1st prize of endurance and 9 th prize in the general classification (as the Commission took into account the number of comfortable seats in your car and convenience, the amount of baggage, elegance, purity and etc. - nonsense!). The award for the general classification in general can hardly be considered properly awarded because the organizing committee of the rally, defining standards and the travel time, did not take into account the difficulties in the way of winter in Russia, the road is noticeably inferior to the roads of Western Europe.

After the announcement of the results, awards, banquets and official closing rally in Monaco A. Nagel and V. Mikhailov ride on "Russo-Balt" another 1,000 miles to the south of France and Italy. In Lyon, they packed the car in a drawer and went by train to St. Petersburg.

Racing Russo-Balt S24/55 III series. 1913
Higher award was obtained by Nagel in Russia. According to a report to Tsar Nicholas II Vice President IRAO adjutant B. Svechin, Andrew Platonovich with "high throne" was awarded the Order of St. Anne of III degree. It was the first state award received for sporting success in avtomotosporte! For its part IRAO wanting won by Alexander Nagel point victory gave him an honorary gift, and arranged a February 23, 1912 a friendly lunch.

RBVZ just got his - car sales have soared! Two Russo-Balt (landole models "C24-40" (N270, XIII series) and "The 12-20" (N 217, X series), were purchased even imperial garage! Tripped principle, voiced later by Henry Ford: Sunday Win, sell on Monday.

At this victory Andrew Nagel does not end! In 1912, the indefatigable journalist on his "Russo-Balt" won second place in the international rally "San Sebastian" and received a special award for endurance. In August 1913 Nagel made a car with a body of N 14 "Gran Turismo" Run a length of 7 thousand km of roads in Central and Southern Russia, and in December went on a trip to Southern Europe and North Africa. By the beginning of 1914, ie in less than four years of ruthless exploitation of its "Russo-Balt" covered 80 thousand miles without serious repair! Not every modern motorist manages to do a year at an average of 20 thousand km.

The story of a unique instance of the N 9 does not end even better! May 14, 1913 about two o'clock in St. Petersburg on the Volkhov road race cars took place at a distance of a mile to go. Time recording the track was carried out using the device, called telehronom invented by an engineer and an avid motorist PB Postnikov. Recording at the finish led Dr. Vsevolozhskaya, a member of the St. Petersburg car club. Accounting for the winners was held in seven categories.

Among the "Benz", "Mercedes", "Opel" cars and other parties with a green car with a streamlined body. Yes! It was the Russo-Balt-C24-55 Series III (copy N 9) - the same one which brought victory A. Nagel in 1912 in the "Rallye-Automobile-Monaco"! Piloted it at this time a 24-year-old racer RBVZ company - Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov.

Changed not only the pilot, but also the car. Such luxuries as acetylene lights, extra batteries, generators and fuel tanks on verstovye races were simply not needed, and get rid of them. As on many body parts - bumpers, fenders, canvas folding top. As a result, gross vehicle weight was reduced almost by half! Body itself has a characteristic streamlined shape, for which (of course, and the color!) And earned the nickname "Russian cucumber." Unfortunately, the designer at that time did not know about the vortex of air disturbances arising from the spokes of rotating wheels, or, quite possibly, the result of II Ivanov would have been higher.

And so - in second place. The best result was shown by Mr. Herner for "Benz", the latest in the history of Imperial Russia speed record - 189.5 miles per hour (about 201 km / h), overcoming a mile on the run for 19 seconds (for comparison - Lambotghini Diablo SV overcomes the first kilometer in 25 seconds). However, the jury, taking into account the exceptional quality of his car, provided by Mr. Herner out of the competition.

Thus, the winner was declared, Mr. Donje on "Mercedes", has a top speed of 134 miles per hour and breaking the mile for 26.8 seconds. The prize he won three times, became the property of Donje. Second place was awarded II Ivanov on "Russian cucumber."

May 26, 1913, the first in Russia annular races. However, the "ring" is very far from that concept today. The route passes through the Volkhov highway Alexandrovna, Red and Lithuanian village road, forming a "circle" in length 37 miles. According to the regulations proposed to take this ring 7 times, so the total distance was 230 miles or 276 kilometers.

Applications for participation submitted 21 crew, which included such famous riders of those years, as Mr. Slupsk on the most powerful of the machines participating in "Excelsior", Mr. Suvorin a car BENZ; Mr. Rene Notomb on a beautiful car " Metallurzhik "called" red demon ", and, of course, the pilot plant RBVZ Mr. Ivanov" cucumbers. "

Unfortunately, the weather, as opposed to amateurs avtomotosporta, this day meant nothing, and at the very beginning of the race was pouring rain and a violent wind, almost demolished cars from the road. As a result of the 19 starters to the finish line crew Got less than half - only 9. To honor RBVZ, a copy of N9 was among them, finishing in second place, and behind the winner - GM Suvorin for "Benz" - just 2 minutes and 6 seconds.

Yes, let the Russo-Balt and not so often occupied the first place, but the significance of this car is hard to overestimate how to plant, and for domestic avtomotosporta. Cars RBVZ widely recognized not only for civil customers - and went to the military, and government contracts, and the engineer and designer of the plant had such high reputation that the development of the first national hydroplane was entrusted to the Russo-Baltic Wagon.

In addition, a copy of N9 was the first national sports-car, professionally prepared for competition by the manufacturer. Path First, as we know, is not easy, but in their footsteps are other

Unfortunately, during the dark years of the Revolution and the Civil War, the car disappeared, but that now stands in the Riga Museum - no more than a copy, and then - not quite accurate.

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