GAZ -12 ZIM VTM Lesany Museum

The GAZ -12 ZIM is a luxurious and prestigious luxury saloon that was manufactured by the Soviet GAS works from 1950 to 1960. The abbreviation stands for ZIM Savod Imeni Molotowa what should play the part of the then official name of the factory within the model name. From this large car, which was the official agencies of the Soviet Union could not be reserved and purchased by the ordinary population, a total of 21,527 copies were manufactured in three versions. Was succeeded in 1959 of the much more modern Chaika GAZ- 13th


Immediately after 1945, the government Soviet automobile and commercial vehicle manufacturer GAS brought (Russian Горьковский автомобильный завод ( ГАЗ ), English transcription Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod ( GAZ ), German: Gorkier automobile factory. ), In honor of the then Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav M. Molotov from 1932 - 1956 officially additionally Savod Imeni Molotowa (SIM) was called, under the direction of A. Lipgart and NA Juschmanow some new cars out.

In the 1946 featured midsize car GAZ -20 Pobeda followed 1950, the large and luxurious GAZ -12 ZIM after government agencies as well as numerous officers of the CPSU wanted now a new large and representative car. The abbreviation ZIM was for the part of the then official name of the factory, which was taken with the model name. The GAZ -12 was born in essential points from the GAZ -20 Pobeda from, in fact it was based on a correspondingly longer and wider and reinforced bottom group and therefore also had a self-supporting body on. The long-stroke six-cylinder in-line engine (then no longer quite contemporary ) SV - valve control from the truck program of GAZ gave his power to a mechanical three-speed synchromesh transmission, which was operated by a control lever on the steering column (steering wheel ) circuit.

The ZIM is stylistically and technically similar conception of how contemporary American Automobile and had a correspondingly the models like no less comfortable, as well as many features. A novelty were the electrically heated rear bench seat and automatically restoring turn signal lever on the steering column. The painted in wood grain dashboard had a series of control instruments and a car radio also belonged to the standard equipment. Of course, leather seats and wood paneling were present. The limousine had three side windows and seating for six, a little later, still in a very small number (probably only five copies) produced four-door convertible added, which was designated by the factory as a Phaeton. In addition, there was also a version as an ambulance, but also possessed the sedan body and in the interior the purpose was transformed accordingly - with the loading and unloading of the stretcher by today's standards was something strange about the upwardly open trunk lid ( was a wagon version it is not).

During the 1946 published ZIS -110, a replica of the American Packard 180 before the war, which was prepared with the acquired from the Soviet Union original Packard manufacturing equipment, the car of the highest representatives of the state represented ( including in heavily armored version of Josef Stalin itself), was the GAZ -12 ZIM rather the car for the middle and senior cadres of the nomenklatura. The ZIM was exported limited due to the high price, including some copies to Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany, with the car in the CSSR was no greater appeal because of the rather relaxed driving performance and the first not yet fully satisfactory quality workmanship and by the 1955 featured Tatra T 603 has been replaced. In the Soviet Union, however, the car was quite popular and saw a more long-term use even after the end of production. Some vehicles were also used by the militia (police ), these were painted dark blue with red side stripes and were provided with a red flashing light on the roof. In 1960, the production of GAZ -12 ZIM ended after a total of 21,527 copies of all three versions.

After withdrawal from the civil service got a number of these cars after replacement by the 1959 released as the successor and modern Chaika GAZ- 13 to mid-1970s in private hands and so survived in part until the present time. In the GDR, a larger number of vehicles covered by the retirement from the civil service was successfully used until the early seventies as taxis.

Driving impression

The ZIM is in character a quiet and comfortable touring car. The handling of the ZIM is similar to those of comparable American cars of the time, which it resembles visually. Due to the high weight ( 1940 kg fully fueled and over 2 tons with driver) and the modest engine power of about 90 hp performance fall out leisurely, which together with the indirect steering, which is stiff in the state and at a crawl, any attempt sporty driving style from the outset thwarted. The driving behavior is not a problem due to the said properties and always in neutral territory. The existing capacity on the other hand for a quiet and comfortable driving experience, even today still acceptable, since the engine has a good elasticity and therefore not as often the gears need to be changed. The cushioning in itself can be quite convincing despite the solid rear axle on leaf springs.

A special feature of the clutch, which consists of two components: a hydraulic clutch on the crank shaft is flange-mounted, which has the external form of a torque converter, the function of the flywheel takes over and is provided with the starter gear. Inside there are on separate bearings impeller and turbine and a hydraulic oil. With increasing engine speed, a moving force closure is made. At the power output side, a flange is secured accommodating the normal single-plate dry clutch. To engage a gear and high - and downshifts so you have to use the clutch though, but it is possible to brake, for example, in 3rd gear the car from any speed to a stop and without using the clutch in starting up again. In conjunction with the extremely smooth-running engine an impressively low interior noise levels and excellent elasticity with this design solution that avoids a mechanical traction with the transmission, achieved. One drawback is that this will not be the powertrain mechanically block. That is, even at the steepest slope you have to rely on the action of the handbrake.

The build quality of the ZIM fluctuated at the beginning of something, but it must at least be described as neat for the 1954 and built in 1955 copies.


  • GAZ -12 ZIM limousine
  • GAZ -12A ZIM taxi
  • GAZ -12B ZIM ambulance
  • GAZ -12 ZIM Phaeton ( four-door convertible )

Exporting countries

  • Poland
  • Czechoslovakia
  • GDR
  • Finland ( among others as open - taxi)


  • Length: 5530 mm
  • Width: 1900 mm
  • Overall height: 1660 mm
  • Wheelbase: 3200 mm
  • Ground clearance: 200 mm
  • Engine: six-cylinder in-line engine, standing valves, liquid cooling system (pump and thermostat)
  • Displacement: 3485 cm ³
  • Bore × stroke: 82 × 110 mm
  • Fuel system: A double downdraft carburetor K -21
  • Compression ratio: 6.7:1
  • Power: 95 hp (66 kW) at 3600 rpm
  • Clutch: Hydraulic clutch and single-plate dry clutch
  • Transmission: Three -speed manual transmission, some synchronized, 2nd and 3rd gear, lever on the steering wheel ( steering wheel gearshift )
  • Drive: Rear Wheel Drive
  • Front: Independent double wishbone, coil springs, double acting hydraulic lever shock absorbers
  • Rear: rigid axle on semi - elliptic leaf springs, double acting hydraulic lever shock absorbers
  • Empty weight: 1800 kg
  • Weight with a full tank: 1940 kg
  • Gross vehicle weight: 2450 kg
  • Brakes: drum brakes all round
  • Turning circle: 14.8 m
  • Maximum speed: 130 km / h ( half load: 125 km / h - Fully Loaded: 120 km / h)
  • Standard consumption: 15.5 l/100 km at 50-60 km / h
  • Price ( 1954): 40,000 rubles