01/18/2011

Soviet Automotive Legend in Sacramento

This almost perfect relic of the Cold War era belongs to Max Myrmyr, for whom it was a dream car growing up. Max now lives in Sacramento, CA but emigrated from Moldova when he was only 10. He was searching all over for this car until he unexpectedly found it for sale in OH. The previous owner discovered the car in a Michigan barn. The car does not start but it it looks just as good as they day it left the factory.

pobeda driving cr1946 was the first year this comfortable sedan was produced and symbolized pride and peak of automotive achievement of the Soviet Union. The GAZ M20 “POBEDA” which literary translates into “VICTORY” was reserved for elite communist party officials; its introduction shocked the US automotive industry.

The story of how the car ended up in US is nothing short of a Bond flick. It was brought over by an affluent American businessman with Russian roots, Stanley F. Slotkin, who likely paid hefty bribes to export this automotive legend from behind the iron curtain.  It landed in California in the summer of ’52 and started making rounds at many of the US auto shows. People couldn’t wait to drive the car.

Hailed as the “Only Russian Car in the USA” the vehicle attracted a lot attention from the media who slammed the car as a copy of a Ford. Although heavy, the car was cheap and some say could have competed against its American rivals. The car could not be registered and sat in a car museum until the 60’s. It went through 6 or 7 different different owners until in ended up in the hands of its current proud owner.[quote float=’left’]THIS IS A STORY with a beginning and an ending, but no middle. The middle is lost somewhere behind the Iron Curtain where it will have to remain as long as that part of the world is in bondage – Max[/quote] Max planned on making the car drivable but faced challenges due to unavailability of parts in US. Since his story got picked by major Russian news outlets, many Russian “POBEDA” fans vouched to make it easier for him to locate the needed parts. Soon this classic will be cruising down the streets of Sacramento.

Author: Alex Marinov

Alex Marinov is the president of RCG Logistics LLC, with years experience in the shipping and freight industry. His main interest include sustainable building design, video production and automobiles.