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Experience of ownership of the 407th Moskvich in 1960

 

  • The owner is Pavel Grigoriev (left), a 32-year-old Muscovite, who works in the construction industry.
    The car is a Moskvich-407, 45 horsepower, manufactured in 1960, in almost stock condition; it was purchased for 150 000 rubles.

    Pavel told us the story of his “four hundred and seven”.

    – I have been interested in old Soviet cars for a long time, and my friends have a similar hobby. A year ago, my friend and I were towing the old Moskvich we bought a year ago after he was registered. At the traffic lights we were called out by the driver of a fresh Prado and wondered if we are interested in other domestic old timers? It turned out that the man had been collecting such cars for some time, and then his enthusiasm faded, and he wanted the collection to get into good hands. We contracted to help put his car park on the move for sale (cars 15 years stood in the garage without leaving – there were Victory, Volga, Moskvichi, Chaika, the disabled “Morgunovka”, etc.), and the well-preserved Moskvich-407 I bought myself.

    For the car with mileage of 45,000 kilometers and with the body, which clearly did not see the winter, gave 150,000 rubles. Is it expensive or cheap? Such cars have specific pricing… In principle, this copy is quite a normal price. However, such a car can still be purchased for several thousand, and even for nothing.  For example, I bought my Volga GAZ-24 like this. A neighbor from the country house suddenly came up and asked if I needed the Volga? And I sold it on the 24th of 1985 in excellent condition of garage storage for 35 thousand rubles…

    Quite a workable tactic – to monitor bulletin boards, where very different prices for the same machine of a similar condition. Sometimes grandfather asks his grandchildren to sell, and the young people who have gone away put a crowbar value, but sometimes they also sell at a symbolic price, as long as it is urgent to release the garage. You can go for a ride around the cities outside of Moscow – to visit garage cooperatives, watch, ask. Sometimes in garages under a layer of dust and mountains of garbage there are excellent copies for very small money. Sometimes, of course, the car is of little use for recovery (rotten or undocumented), but then the greatest value is the accompanying junk.

    My friend, the owner of a similar Moskvicha-407, somehow bought for 10,000 rubles another “donor” in poor condition, which was attached literally two Gazelles new and old spare parts. All this cost ridiculous money, as people were clearing the garage and just getting rid of the old iron.

    Outside

    The color of the sea wave is gorgeous for this old man, although, as any car of that era, “four hundred and seven” most go two-color “livery”, in which they were painted when sold for export. The 407th was not called “Stylagoy” for nothing by the people! This Muscovite is the 21-st Volga in miniature. It is no worse than the last one in terms of harmony of appearance, although it is undeservedly less popular today – around it, unfortunately, has not yet formed such a neo-retro-cult, as around the “car with a deer”.

    Chromed moldings, bumpers, hoods, external boot hinges, frames of lanterns and other shining elements give the appearance of the car completeness and elegance. Well, the swift and bright flag with a star on the hood, in my opinion, is not inferior to the deer in anything!

    Inside

    The solid sofa in front had a folding backrest, which was laid out on the same level as the back seat and formed a large sleeping place motivating to… no, not to what you thought about (though…), but to the wild car tourism, which was encouraged at that time at the state level (from the development of a network of camping sites to the release of films like “3+2”). The back sofa is spacious enough for two due to the small trunk, but the car is still too narrow for three.

    About the dashboard it could be said that it is “in the style of a Mini”, if the 407th did not appear a year earlier than the British small car. Right in front of the driver is a large speedometer, and to the left and right of it there are four classic pointers – indicators of fuel level, oil temperature, water and ammeter. On the left and above in the corner of the torpedo there was a strange red light, looking like a collective farm refinement. But this is the original standard indicator of turning on the turntables, for some reason installed so deliberately and asymmetrically. Actually, a white plastic lever protruding vertically from the steering column in the foreground is the switch of turn signals. Very, I must say, uncomfortable and ergonomic.

  • The interior of the car (except for the dissonance old mat on the floor, independently laid by the previous owners, as was customary in Soviet times) is luxuriously echoed with the color of the body and visually slightly increases the modest interior space! In the modern car industry such harmony can be found only in the premium class, for which a choice of colors and varieties of finishing materials is available. Everyone else has to be content with the gloomy grey-blackness.

The control lever is also on the steering column. The curve handle indicates the presence of a 4-speed gearbox, as the earlier 3-speed handle was straight. Arc of thick nickel-plated wire under the handlebar is a clackson switch, the signal will be triggered by pulling it towards you. Unused – very uncomfortable.

It’s funny that in this perspective, the steering column resembles a dynamic and upwardly aspiring propeller plane like the I-16 fighter! Maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be?

The steering wheel of the car (both visible needles and the rim hidden under the decorative cover) looks like cracked wood. Actually, it is not wood, of course, but an ancient variety of plastics – halalites. “Polymers”, made on the basis of organic fillers (bone meal, cellulose, etc.), eventually collapsed with a characteristic cracking. However, there was no risk of detachment of the “lamb” – inside the plastic parts there is a metal frame.

L-shaped poker with an aluminum handle protruding to the right of the handlebar is a handbrake.

Iron

Under the hood of Moskvich is a 1.4-liter engine with a single-chamber carburetor K-125D. The engine gives out modest 45 forces at 4500 rpm, and its exhaust goes through a thin silencer which can be plugged with an index finger! However, for the budget small car of that era such characteristics were in the order of things. Let’s say more – this motor replaced the 35-strong one, so that progress is evident!

As in any “old man”, in the 407th there are a lot of curious for the modern car owner technical strangeness, which in the days of our grandfathers were considered ordinary and ordinary.

For example, here is a thick cable coming from the engine block through the engine shield somewhere in the cabin. It’s… a janitor’s drive! Instead of a separate electric motor, the torque to the wiper system directly feeds the engine camshaft. The cylinder block has a small “power take-off shaft” (essentially identical to what drives a tamper switch), and a flexible “bowden” leaves the cabin. The cable rotates constantly, and when the driver needs to turn on the wipers, he closes the tiny clutch with a small handle – a kind of “micro-clutch”, giving the torque to the trapeze of wipers! Such a system can cause a brain explosion in a modern car owner! Not only that the wipers can not be turned on until the engine is running, but also the speed of their movement on the windshield directly depends on its speed! Has the rain or snow increased? Give me the gas!

And this tiny tin can is the tank of the master brake cylinder. The brake system was single-circuit, and if there was a loss of tightness at some point in the brake system disappeared completely on all wheels. Alas, for those years it was the norm – including in the foreign car industry.

The clutch on the 407th and, by the way, does not have a hydraulic drive – from pedal to backstage are rigid traction.

At the bottom of the cylinder block, almost at the pallet, the engine is screwed to a metal “cube” with a handle that resembles a crane. It is… an oil filter of coarse, pre-cleaning, which traps particles larger than 0.07-0.08 mm. And the handle is a means of cleaning the filter itself! It can be used to turn the axle on which the filter plates with holes alternating with the fixed plates are placed. Approximately once in a thousand kilometers, the motorist was recommended to manually twist the handle back and forth, moving one plate relative to the other, after which the dirt, stuck in their holes, fell into the sump.

There is also an oil filter, but a more traditional system in the form of a collapsible aluminum glass with a tubular replacement element made of paper. But it is the so-called “incomplete flow”. Not all the oil that is pumped by the engine passes through it, but only a small part of it, which is taken out through the bypass, is about a quarter of the total volume. This design was later universally recognized as imperfect and replaced by a full-flow engine, in which coarse filtration is carried out by a mesh at the inlet of the oil pump, and all the oil passes through the fine filter.

In modern machines, the generator produces 100-120 amperes. And here at Moskvich it gave out a maximum … 20 amperes, and that “in a jump”! Put such a generator on any modern car – it will barely suffice to simply power up the electronics needed for the engine! Turn on the heater or headlights – and the generator, consider it not: in fact, we will go on the battery, until it is discharged, and the engine will not stall. However, the old Muscovite with his extremely poor and low-power electrical equipment with such a generator managed to drive.

The part with a glass cap is a gasoline pump. The hood is removable, it is a lid of a settling tank, through which transparent glass is visible pollution and in general the presence or absence of gasoline in the system (by the way, the position of the glass hood is correct, it is not turned over!)

Interestingly, the cap has a flat edge on the top and is able to stand vertically on the table like a glass. And, of course, to play the role of a shot! Advanced motorists with experience sometimes kept in the garage “set” of several such glass caps – to consume alcoholic drinks from them was considered a special driver’s chic!

On the move.

In general, it is possible to get behind the wheel of a close-knit car with considerable height and excess weight without much difficulty. Everything at first seems awkward and awkward – hands are automatically trying to feel the switch, handbrake, gearbox handle where they are not. The gearbox is, by the way, very friendly, its stroke is rather short and clear, and the algorithm is the same as on modern cars: the first one is on itself and upwards, the second one is on itself and downwards, the third one is just upwards, the fourth one is downwards, and the back one is downwards. The clutch, to which the pedal is tight, responds to pressing a few “wooden” – the smoothness of the hydraulic drive or at least a cable, as on the front-drive VAZs and Moskvichi, where there is a friction of plastic on the plastic, the left pedal 407-th no.

Simple single-chamber carburetor, being debugged on pair with a tamper, surprisingly easily starts the engine and keeps idle speed. And here on gas reacts so to itself, with jams – between a flap and a pedal intermediates and a cable with the dried up greasing, and some lever rods which joints obviously need to be washed out and missed anew.

I touch, maneuver, mastering the control, and note an interesting feature: the central hub of a thin and “weakly wavy” (not for its chic wrapped in leather, but for convenience!) rudder strongly protrudes outward, despite the fact that even the signal key is not in it. Therefore, when the steering wheel is active, the hub constantly touches the hands when they cross the centre of the “barn”. Simply put, if the rim of the modern steering wheel is as if “turned” towards the driver, this one is in the opposite direction. It is inconvenient.

We drive out on the highway, having been tormented in traffic jams – with the handle of the box on the steering wheel the right hand strains much more strongly, than with the handle on the central tunnel where the hand manages to rest if not on an armrest, then at least on a knee. It may seem that the car will finally give the driver a break from the constant switching, alternating with the creepy cotton brakes in front of other people’s bumpers, because it confidently pulls under a hundred km / h, allowing even 10-15 kilometers to add to the rare attempts to overtake trucks.

However, “confidently pulls” does not mean “confidently drives”! The 407th is very sensitive to rutting – both because of the high profile of the old standard rubber M-59, and because of the narrow bodywork. Track of our veteran (1220 mm) centimeters on twenty tracks of modern cars, and in asphalt grooves Moskvich with its decent backlash of a steering wheel and a swath suspension constantly makes the driver feel on a tiller of the motor boat gliding on “meanders” of the narrow winding river.

Model history

In the history of the plant “Moskvich” (let’s denote it this way, without going into the transformation of the name in different years), it is worth noting the four main stages that are characteristic of a certain recognizable design of the bodywork.

The first stage is the 40-50s and the Muscovites models 400-401, built on the basis of the pre-war Opel Cadet with huge blown front wings and the nose – “icebreaker”.
The second – 50-60th years and Moskvichi models 402-407-403, conditionally speaking, similar in style to the compact 21-nd Volga. This is just the generation of the car presented in our review.
The third – 60-80th years and a ruler, if it is possible to put it so to say, “gigule-like Muscovites” – models 408-412-2140.
And the fourth, final stage, which the plant, unfortunately, did not survive – 80-90s, front-drive hatchback model 2141 and agonizing agony of its modifications.

For eight years from 1956 to 1964, the ZMA plant (actually, it is a shortened version of the MZMA – the Moscow Plant of Small Cars) produced three models, which were actually the evolution of one and changed insignificantly externally. Moskvich-402 was the first to appear – in 1956. Two years later Moskvich-407 appeared – it received a new modern overhead valve engine with an increased volume and power of 45 hp instead of 35, and a year later found a 4-speed gearbox instead of a three-speed one. And in 1962 Moskvich-403 came out – it was essentially the same 407th, but with a pendant from the future Moskvich-408, already completely different on the body of the car, representing the next, third stage. For eight years of production on the ZMA produced a total of more than 400 thousand pieces of models 402, 403 and 407, making this car truly popular.

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By Max W. Obama

Hey, there! My name is Cris W.Obama and I’m obsessed with travelling especially in Spain. Ever since I visited the country, I’ve become a frequent guest. On this blog you’ll see which places i visited and my travel guides.

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