Classic ReCollection

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GAZ Volga - If its good enough to be in a Bond movie…its good enough for meSharing Classic Memories... in this series we ask readers… Have you ever driven, owned or even been a passenger in the;

GAZ Volga

From the Russian translation Bonra, the Volga idea was first promoted post WW2 with the initial production examples leaving the Gorky Plant a decade later. Early models mimicked the look of 50 Americana minus the V8 power plants, the Soviets preferring a four-cylinder machine of 2.5 litres. GAZ translates to Gorky Automotive Factory which supplied every conceivable type of transport including commercial, Limo, 4x4 and military, although few would be enjoyed by the ‘general populous’ until later in the 20th century. The first Volga model (The Star) set a trend of being utilised by Police, taxi drivers and officials and featured a foot operated lubrication system that pumped grease into suspension, steering and joints etc; as well as coating the road surface. New models arrived with strange names, translations include ‘the shed’ and ‘great boat’ but the engines that powered them remained low on performance. Even by the 1990s Volga in its base form was still driven by the 2.5 litre engine with just 100bhp offering a 0-60 in 20 seconds. No surprise that the KGB version featured Lada’s rotary (via NSU) their Wankel example doubled performance; the Volga, featured in the Bond film Golden Eye in 1995 surely would have been the lower powered version allowing Pierce Brosnan to keep pace in a tank around the streets of St Petersburg. The Volga 31029 would escape from our hero on screen but a similar version can be found on the side streets of a quiet village in West Sussex but does anyone living west of Warsaw recollect ever being transported in such a Soviet Speedster? If so let us know and pass on your memories, as for GAZ, the factory continues today building current Skoda models AC Bristol - Ace was the model and Bristol supplied the power whilst 650BPK tells the storyand Mercedes Sprinter vans.

AC Ace-Bristol

The Ace arrived in 1953; post-war AC had returned to car production at a steady rate of five cars a week but the John Tojeiro’s tubular chassis design saw an upsurge in orders. In house designer John Turner completed the underpinnings with Eric George Gray sculpturing the all alloy bodywork; beautiful curves, courtesy of craftsmen with the English Wheel. The initial power-plant was AC’s venerable 1991cc straight six with triple SU carbs which offered 85bhp and 100mph+ performance. An estimated 223 early examples were built prior to the Bristol 2.0 litre engine being installed and the 120bhp coupled to a slick four speed with overdrive ensured the AC Bristol performed on track; 10th overall and 2nd in class at Le Mans in 1957 then 8th and 9th overall the following year ensured a 2nd and 3rd in class. The car photographed 650BPK was captured at the 2015 Revival meeting and its story justifies the impressive price tags ‘fifties’ AC’s are fetching worldwide. This early example was badly damaged at Mallory Park in 1957 but by 1959 belonged to its second owner Jane Waugh (a racing enthusiast herself) who offered the car to Rudd Racing as a private entry for the Le Mans that year. It seems that once prepared, Mrs Waugh drove the car to the famous circuit from her home in Kent and handed over to drivers John Turner and Ted Whiteaway. The duo completed 2289 miles at an average of over 95mph to finish first in class and 7th overall, being just one of 13 to finish from 53 starters. Mrs Waugh drove the car home on the Monday and the AC still enjoys its original Bristol engine today, having covered over 320,000 miles. A magnificent automobile certainly, tell other readers if you have ever been thrilled by a Bristol powered AC.