1959 Gaz M13 Chaika

GAZ (Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod or 'Gorky Automotive Factory') is one of the oldest Russian car factories, having been in production since the early 1930s.

The GAZ M13 Chaika was introduced in 1959 and succeeded the GAZ 12 ZIM.  It was very much inspired by the big American Packard of its day with its equally powerful V8 engine and automatic gearbox.

The top people in the Soviet hierarchy were driven in ZIS or ZIL limousines, while those just one grade below would have a Chaika M13 at their disposal from the motor transport pool.  However, the most common user by far was the dreaded KGB.

A total of 3179 Chaika M13s were made.  Most were limousines and almost invariably black.  Chaika means seagull and the emblem on the front grille symbolises a gull in flight.

This very early example has been in the UK for many years and has appeared in several TV programmes including BBC's 'Top Gear'.