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Thread: My search for a Volga

  1. #11
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    SEARCHING FOR A VOLGA: BEGINNING ANEW (cont.)

    Well, the 31029 was a hybrid design taking its shape from both the cornerstone of the GAZ production, the M24, and a popular model known as the 3102. The 3102 had been the result of a review that GAZ had conducted to identify the shortcomings of the M24. That review first began in 1976 and some of the improvements seen in the 3102 included front disc brakes and a 3.9:1 rear end. Although this new design for the 3102 was roughly based on the M24, it also incorporated several of the innovations found in Volga's Chaika limousine, the GAZ 14. The first 3102s rolled out of the factory in Gorky in 1983, but weren't available to the public at large. Rather, they were sold to the government and corporations, usually taxi services. It wouldn't be until after the collapse of the Soviet Union that the 3102 would become available to the general public, and when that happened, GAZ found that it was a popular choice. So much so that GAZ dedicated an entire conveyor line to the 3102 and promoted it as a more luxurious and classic Volga product than the M24 or 24-10. GAZ also claimed that the car was of a higher quality than its bretheren and had a slightly higher price tag to match. Nonetheless owners of the 3102 were found to be considerably happier with their vehicles and reported that the quality claims held water.

    In looking at the two vehicles, the M24 and the 3102, I can see a resemblence as well. Kinda like cousins of some sort. And I can definitely see a striking image of the 3110 in the 3102. So generally speaking I had decided in the back of my mind that I would rather have a 3102 than an M24. However, given the short duration in years of GAZ 3102s that would meet my vehicle age requirement (ergo only model years 1983 and 1984, possibly 1985 if I was willing to wait for several months before importing it), coupled with the fact that there aren't that many early-production 3102s still in existence today, I felt as though the odds were in favor that I would end up with an M24. Druthers being druthers, I would prefer a 3102, but I could be quite happy with an M24 as well.

    I'm attaching a few photos as examples of both the M24 and the 3102 for completion. The first two are of a 1974 M24. The next two are photos of Kyle's 1986 GAZ 24-10. And the last three are of the 3102, taken from the 80s/90s.

    Ok quite late here, tired again, going to bed. Thank you for reading.

    Jerry
    Attached Images
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  2. #12
    Senior Member maxmermer's Avatar
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    I don't know much about the newer Volgas, betauser should know more about the 31029, my question is will you still pursue the model you like?

  3. #13
    Senior Member maxmermer's Avatar
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    Jerry, you answered my question ahead of time, GAZ 24 it is

  4. #14
    Moderator betauser's Avatar
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    Yes, 31029 is a hybrid of 3102 and 24-10, and it`s the most popular Volga in the history of GAZ

  5. #15
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by betauser View Post
    Yes, 31029 is a hybrid of 3102 and 24-10, and it`s the most popular Volga in the history of GAZ

    Hahaha! This is a clever joke betauser.
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmermer
    Jerry, you answered my question ahead of time, GAZ 24 it is

    Hi maxmermer,

    Well actually I was considering either of two options, the M24 or the 3102. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. The problem was that I liked the 3102 a little bit more than the M24, but the range of year model of 3102 that I could buy due to the 25-year-old-car minimum was quite small, only 2 years (1983 and 1984). Therefore I imagined that I'd end up with an M24, as the age range was considerably greater at ~15 years (1970 through 1984). Having said that, divine intervention would play a significant role in the outcome of this endeavor, as I would discover.

    Thanks!
    Jerry
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  7. #17
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    SEARCHING FOR A VOLGA: ON THE HUNT

    Back for the next installment...it's been a few days, 'been busy with stuff. 'Hope you are enjoying the story and finding it both entertaining and educational.

    Now that I had decided what I could buy given the constraints that had been placed upon me, it was time to actually begin searching for a good candidate to consider for purchase. I'd like to make it very clear at the outset of this portion of the story that I was in no rush whatsoever to find a Volga and bring it home. Quite the contrary; I am generally a patient person and although I wanted to find a Volga as soon as I could, I wasn't going to rush things either. I was willing to wait, and for a long time if necessary. From my experience I think that this is an important aspect of the story that should not be lost on anyone else who might be considering travelling down this same path in the future.

    Basically, I was searching for a "cream puff" Volga, if you will. The kind of car that had relatively low miles on it, was in fantastic condition given its age, had no damage history and that had been well cared for during all of its 25+ years of existence on this planet. I had hoped to find an older Russian man who had kept his Volga locked in its garage, taking it out now and then but almost never in poor weather, who had kept up the maintenance on his treasured car and who had let almost noone else drive it. And if I couldn't find such a car, I would just keep looking. Waiting. Being patient. After being in the FSU as many times as I had I knew that I didn't want a car that had been in taxi service, or anything of the like, for example. And in this regard I would be extremely fortunate.

    Jerry
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  8. #18
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    SEARCHING FOR A VOLGA: ON THE HUNT (cont.)

    To give you some perspective, I set this plan in motion in late January/early February 2009. However, the proverbial "ball" with respect to this endeavor as a whole didn't develop enough momentum to be considered "rolling" until the late spring/early summer. Finding a Volga wouldn't be easy either. After all, despite the relatively high number of times I had been to the FSU, I hadn't stayed in-country longer than 3 weeks during any one trip. In fact, most of my outings were shorter than that, averaging approximately 10 - 12 days. That isn't a lot of time to find a Volga that met my requirements, complete the purchase process and arrange shipment before it would be time for me to return to the USA. Sure, there were things that I could do to "speed up the works" as it were such as securing shipping arrangements ahead of time and finding candidate vehicles over the Internet that I could investigate while in-country. The problem with that is that when going to the FSU, I would visit at most two cities; thus the search pool would be considerably limited, limited to only those cities. And the fact was that I usually travelled to just one city, further reducing the search pool. And depending on where I was going, the port of exit would vary, making the whole pre-arranged shipping notion a sketchy option at best.

    So I realized that I needed help from someone who lived in Russia; someone who could do the wait without a problem; someone who knew how the automotive purchase process works in Russia; and preferrably someone who had some automotive technical knowledge and background. So I began inquiring with several of the folk who I had come to know in the five years I had been travelling in the FSU. I would find that many offered help, but only "at a price" as the saying goes. This phenomenon is common in the FSU. In the end I came to terms with two separate sources who I felt as though I could trust to assist me carry out my search, one in Moscow and the other in Togliatti, Russia. My Moscow contact was an individual with considerable automotive technical know-how. This contact also had good experience both in Russia and with Russian vehicles, having purchased them previously for personal use. In Togliatti, my contact was actually a team of two people, one a licensed interpreter and the other an automotive engineer for Lada. Therefore I felt confident that between the two camps I stood a very good chance of realizing my goal.

    First I helped each respective "team" if you will by giving them some general guidance regarding the criteria they were to apply when conducting the search; above and beyond the obvious 25+ years old, only an M24 or 3102, etc. As I mentioned in my previous post, I told them that I was searching for a "cream puff" that mostly just sat and looked pretty in a garage somewhere (though the maintenance was kept up on it). Ergo, I was on the hunt for a vehicle that already had enjoyed the same type of life as I had planned on giving it. So my contacts had that as the first criteria. I further asked my team to avoid rust at all costs, as well as "wreckers" (cars that had received any kind of damage), cars that had lots of body filler and finally cars that showed evidence of excessive wear in the form of leaks, noises, and/or unusual appearance. I also asked them to apply their best judgement as to the validity of the sale itself; that if they felt as though anything seemed amiss to simply walk away from the deal. I was only interested in legitimate purchases from sellers who could produce valid evidence of ownership that had their name on it. This was an important aspect of the deal and I made that clear to my contacts. They responded enthusiastically to the notion, which made me feel even better about the endeavor as a whole having any real opportunity of succeeding. Finally, I concluded that I would like to see a report on each car that they had found to include photos. After all I'd at least like to seethe car in a picture before I bought it.

    And with that they went to work. More later, gonna sleep now. It's late again. Thank you for reading.

    Jerry
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  9. #19
    Administrator av8or1's Avatar
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    SEARCHING FOR A VOLGA: ON THE HUNT (cont.)

    Like many endeavors that we undertake during our travels, this one began with a burst of enthusiasm, energy and spirit. Right out of the chute came three prospective vehicles for consideration. The first two came from my team in Togliatti. One was a 1975 GAZ M24 and the other a 1980 GAZ M24. The 1975 M24 was reported to be in ok shape but would need a little TLC to the interior and had spots of rust here and there. These rust spots were classified as "minor to moderate." The asking price was 55,000 Rubles. I felt that was somehow a bit too much. Therefore I decided to discontinue the car from further consideration straight away. It just wasn't what I was searching for.

    By contrast, the 1980 M24 was purported to be in original condition with no modifications. Indeed the photos indicated that. My technical contact in Togliatti reported that it was owned by people he knew and believed to be reputable, so he recommended it even though he hadn't seen it in person. I gave this possibility some serious thought, but in the end the 155,000 Rubles the sellers wanted for it caused the vehicle, in my opinion, to be overpriced. So I decided to pass.

    The third vehicle came from my contact in Moscow who had found it on the website http://www.auto.ru/. I hadn't previously known of this website, so by passing it along to me, my Moscow contact had made my search that much easier. For both of us. Well, for all of us I should say. I found that I would stay up late at night perusing the website looking at all of the Russian cars for sale. Even if these cars weren't the type that I was searching for, I was curious to see the advertisements for them. This became a regular part of my routine: to check the auto.ru website for any updates. And it would pay dividends in the coming months.

    But back to the third vehicle. It was a 1976 GAZ M24, blue in color. For some reason this particular M24 just "didn't grab me." I couldn't explain why either. It was reasonably priced at 35,000 Rubles, the exterior appeared to be in decent shape and the interior was the same. However I just couldn't see it sitting in my garage. And for that reason alone, I decided, like its two predeccesors, to pass on this opportunity and keep looking.

    Just as an aside, I had thought that I would be even more interested in the V8 versions of either the M24 or the 3102. These derivities of the base cars were even more exclusive and more rare, though the torque and HP they produced was less than that of their Western counterparts. Technically, these models were the GAZ 2424 and the GAZ 31013 respectively. My Moscow contact would find about three of them for me during the course of the search. That contact also made plans to go and preview them for me, but in the course of further research I discovered that - because they are so rare - these variants are outrageously expensive. I mean crazy-stupid money would have to be spent to bring one home and I simply couldn't justify the expense. On that basis I requested that my two camps remove the 2424 and the 31013 from their list of possibilities. They were to focus only on the M24 and the 3102.

    Attached are photos of the three M24s mentioned in this installment. The first is the cream colored 1975 M24. The second car shown is the white 1980 M24 and the last vehicle is the blue 1976 M24.

    Heading to bed early tonight. Catch you in the next installment; hope everyone is well. Take care and thank you for reading.

    Jerry
    Attached Images
    1983 GAZ Volga 3102
    1987 GAZ Volga 3102
    1970 Plymouth Road Runner
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE
    1992 Toyota 4X4 - 324,000+ miles and still kicking
    2000 F350 XLT SD 7.3L PSD DRW CC LB 4x4

  10. #20
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    You just need some fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror in the blue one and it would be great!
    Kyle
    PS:
    Good articles I am enjoying the read.

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