Stalins choise for the first mass produced car in Soviet Union

Moskvich 401 - 55

The Moskvitch 400-420 was a car from Soviet

manufacturer Moskvitch introduced in 1947.

Between   1940   and   1941,   the   Russians   had   independently   made   500   units   of   the   KIM   10-50,   a loose   copy   of   the   similarly   sized   four-door   Ford   Prefect,   but   national   priorities   changed   with   the German   invasion   of   Russia   in   Summer   1941,   and   the   production   of   the   Ford   inspired   car   was   not resumed   after   the   war.   It   was   Joseph   Stalin   who   personally   chose   in   June   1945   a   four-door Kadett   to   become   a   first   mass-produced   popular   Soviet   car,   so   plans   and   tooling   of   a   four-door version   had   to   be   reconstructed   with   help   of   German   engineers,   who   worked   upon   them   in   a Soviet occupation zone. Development   began   in   1944,   following   a   prewar   plan   to   produce   a   domestically-built   car   able   to be   used   and   maintained   by   citizens   living   outside   major   cities.   The   KIM   factory   was   selected   to build   the   car,   with   the   prewar   KIM   10-52   (not   built   due   to   the   Second   World   War)   as   a   basis,   with production   approved   in   May   1945   and   prototypes   intended   to   be   ready   in   December;   by   the   end of May, however, these plans had faltered. At   war's   end,   the   Soviet   Union   deemed   the   plans   and   tooling   for   the   1939   Opel   Kadett   K38   as part   of   the   war   reparations   package,   since   the   tooling   in   the   Rüsselsheim   factory   was   largely intact;   residents   dismantling   the   Kadett   production   tooling   and   loaded   fifty-six   freight   cars, bound   for   Moscow   and   the   newly-built   "Stalin   Factory"   (ZIS).   However,   according   to   recent Russian   sources,   the   Kadett   plans   and   tooling   were   in   fact   not   captured   from   the   factory, because   they   did   not   survive   there   (and   what   survived   was   appropriate   for   producing   a   two-door model). In   any   event,   after   KIM   was   renamed   MZMA   (Moscow   Zavod   Malolitratsjnij   Avtomobilij,   Moscow Factory   for   Making   Small   Cars)   in August   1945,   the   new   car   was   ready   for   production   before   the end   of   1946   (somewhat   behind   the   planned   June   deadline):   the   first   400-420   was   built   9 December,   "400"   meant   a   type   of   engine   and   "420"   the   (saloon)   body   style.   With   unitized construction,   independent   front   suspension,   three-speed   manual   transmission.   and   hydraulic brakes,   it   was   powered   by   a   23   hp   (17   kW;   23   PS)   1,074   cc   (65.5   cu   in)   inline   four   (with   a compression   ratio   of   5.6:1). Acceleration   0–50   mph   (0–80   km/h)   took   55   seconds,   and   achieved   9 L/100   km   (31   mpg-imp;   26   mpg-US)   (the   best   of   any   Soviet   car   at   that   time).   With   a   wheelbase of   2,340   mm   (92   in))   and   ground   clearance   of   200   mm   (7.9   in)),   it   measured   3,855   mm   (151.8   in) long   overall   1,400   mm   (55   in)   wide,   1,550   mm   (61   in)   tall. Approved   for   mass   production   by   the Soviet   government   on   28   April   1947,   1,501   were   built   the   first   year,   with   4,808   for   1948   and 19,906   in   1949,   the   same   year   a   mesh   oil   filter   was   introduced.   In   1951,   synchromesh   was introduced on the top two gears, and the gear lever relocated to the steering column. In   1948,   a   prototype   woodie   wagon,   the   400-422,   with   an   800   kg   (1,800   lb)   payload,   was   built, but   never   entered   production.   Neither   did   the   similar   400-421   estate   or   pickoupe.   The   400-420A cabriolet debuted in 1949. Most   of   the   Opel   tooling   removed   to   Russia   was   for   the   two-door   Kadett   model,   and   the   Russians converted   this   into   a   4-door   configuration   that   visually   was   near   identical   to   the   original   Kadett 4-door.   Although   Opel   was   U.S.   property,   GM   did   not   recover   control   of   the   factory   until   1948 and were therefore unable to contest the transfer. The   400   went   on   sale   in   Belgium   in   October   1950,   making   it   a   very   early   Soviet   automotive export   product,   priced   at   ₤349:   below   the   Ford   Prefect   and   Anglia,   and   well   below   the   Morris Minor. Motor praised its engine's quietness, the caliber of its finish, and the quality of the ride. The 100,000th Moskvich was built in October 1952. Several   prototypes   were   also   built.   In   1949,   proposal   for   an   improved   26   hp   (19   kW;   26   PS)   401E- 424E   and   a   33   hp   (25   kW;   33   PS)   403E-424E   saw   only   six   examples   built.   Following   this,   in   1951, the   factory   produced   the   403-424A   coupé   with   a   35   hp   (26   kW;   35   PS)   four.   The   "stunning"   404 Sport of 1954 used a new 58 hp (43 kW; 59 PS) overhead valve hemi engine.

Moskvitch 401

The   Moskvitch   401   (full   designation:   Moskvitch   401-420)   was   introduced   in   1954,   an   improved variant   of   the   400-420.   It   weighs   885   kg   (1,951   lb).   and   was   powered   by   an   1,074   cc   (65.5   cu   in) sidevalve   inline   four   engine,   uprated   from   23   hp   (17   kW;   23   PS)   to   26   hp   (19   kW;   26   PS),   thanks to   a   higher   compression   ratio,   of   6.2:1,   and   improved   intake   and   exhaust   manifolds.   Other changes included a new starter motor, dynamo, wheel bearings, and handbrake. Both models were externally identical. It had a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). The   400-422   sedan   delivery   variant   was   renumbered   401-422   (Its   production   continued   until December 1956.) There was also a pickup version, the 401-420B. Some   of   the   production   was   exported,   among   other   countries   to   East   Germany   and   Norway. Production   ended   in   1956,   when   the   design   was   heavily   outdated.   Private   users   in   Norway   at   the time   needed   a   license   to   buy   a   new   imported   car.   This   did   not   apply   to   Russian   cars   that   as   a "friendly gesture" were supplied in exchange for fish. Production   of   the   saloon   ended   20   April   1956,   when   it   was   replaced   by   Moskvitch   402.   247,439 had been built, counting both the 400 and 401.


Engine 1007 cc 4 cylinders Power 26 HP Lenght/width 3,86 m/1,37 m Weight 845 kg The collection has two 401 models, from 1954 and 1955. The 1954 model is for sale.
Photos mainly by Matti Kreivilä. Historical facts and technical details of the vehicles provided by Wikipedia. Movies YouTube.