Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The First Caucasian Homemade Vehicle (Part 1)

In the early twentieth century, the old Yerevan was only a little town. The most common form of transport were carriages in those times. However, there was an odd vehicle awkwardly rumbling through the muddy alleys of the town. Built by some Arshak in 1913, it was the first homemade car in the entire Caucasus. So, in Yerevan appeared the first car, and its master got the nickname “Avdo” (the provincial pronunciation of “Avto”, which means an auto or, simply, a car in English).

As for “Avdo”, very little is known about him. He had secondary education received in tsarist Russia. Having reached manhood, he became an avid techie, to which the periodicals named “Motor” and “Automobil” contributed largely. Once he returned to Yerevan (1905-1906), Arshak began work on creating his own car. Since our hero did not have any engineering skills, and there was no one to ask for advice, he had to build the car in the image and likeness of the already existing and popular samples, or to be more correct, the car had to be assembled with the components taken from other stock cars. The chief goal was that the future “Frankenstein” had to be able to independently overcome long distances and have a roomy interior. At the down of motorization, the quality of cars was not particularly shining out- they constantly broke, some samples secured a place at the junkyard a few months after the acquisition. According to some reports, Arshak took seven years to travel all over the junkyards of the different Russian cities in search of necessary parts for his car.
To be continued...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Leonid Brezhnev’s GAZ-13 “Chaika” (Part 2)

This color was chosen for practical reasons, since in regions with predominantly hot climatic conditions it would be simply unbearable to have long rides in a black vehicle.

That is why the serial number has a special prefix “1117-Ю”- the last letter in this context is from the Russian word “Южный” (Yuzhny), which means Southern, as if pointing to the fact that the car must be used in the southern regions of the great Country of the Soviets! Before each Brezhnev’s visit, the car underwent full maintenance works, which is witnessed by numerous entries in an appropriate journal secured with appropriate stamps.

In 1973 the car was discarded and was brought to Armenia. Over the next 22 years, this “Chaika” was used by several ministers and served as an official vehicle for the highest officials of the Communist party of Armenia. And finally, in 1995, the current owner, Ashot Sargsyan, managed to buy this car and keep it in pristine condition with all its technical documentation.