GAZ 13 Chaika Saloon

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13 Chaika Saloon





A Chaika (Russian: Ча́йка), which means gull, is a luxury automobile from the Soviet Union made by GAZ. The vehicle is one step down from the ZIL limousine.

Chaika production consisted of two generations. The Mark 1 Chaika, the GAZ M13, debuted in 1958. The cabriolet was made in 1961 and 1962 for official parades. It was produced from 1959 to 1981, with 3,179 built in all. The M13 was powered by a 195-hp SAE gross 5.5 L V8 and driven through a push-button automatic transmission of a similar design to the Chrysler TorqueFlite unit. It was offered as a saloon (GAZ 13), limousine (GAZ 13A), and four-door cabriolet (GAZ 13B) with an electrohydraulic top.

RAF in Riga produced the GAZ 13A Universal, an estate, in the 1960s in Riga; this was also built as the GAZ 13C ambulance, as well as a hearse. Produced for a few years in the 1960s, it is the lowest-volume Chaika variant. Small numbers were also built for Mosfilm. As a limousine-class car, Chaikas were available only to the Soviet government, and could not be purchased by average citizens. However, citizens were allowed to rent Chaikas for weddings. Chaikas were used by Soviet ambassadors and Communist Party First Secretaries in East Germany, Korea, Bulgaria, Hungary, Mongolia, and Finland, among others; Fidel Castro was given one by General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, who himself preferred the Chaika to his ZIL, and kept one at his summer dacha. For their larger size and more powerful V8, Chaikas were also ordered in some quantity by the KGB. Top speed was 99 mph (159 km/h).

Most Chaikas were saloons. The M14 debuted in 1977, and ran to the end of Chaika production in 1988. Enthusiasts often point to the 1955-56 U.S. Packards as the inspiration for the early Chaika's styling.

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