Meeting my Volga

During a trainee period in Russia during 1992 I saw the GAZ M21 Volga for the first time in my life. The Volga was imported to the Netherlands in the sixties but there are little survivors. The first thing that draw my interest was the American way of styling. I though it would be very nice to own such a car. Like I expected it was not an easy thing to do. It was not easy to find a Russian who wants to sell his car, but is was even more difficult to find a Russian who wants to sell his M21 Volga. In the city of Pskov, a town with a population of 200.000, were approximate 10 M21 Volga's present. But there was one owner that   wanted to trade his car. Selling was not an option, he would never been able to buy an other car.

A barter with a Lada Samara (VAZ 2108) was possible. I did not own a Samara at that time, but I did own an orange 1980 Fiat Ritmo. I bought this car for 450,00 (about € 200,00), fixed it and got a new APK (MOT). By coincidence I had a few pictures of the Ritmo on me to show them to a Russian friend. After long discussions about what a Ritmo was, we toasted with vodka on the deal.

The seagreen Volga was build in September 1962. The mileage at that moment was about 230.000 km. De petrol consumption was the main reason for barter, 1 litre for 4,5 kilometre, the Ritmo used only 1 litre every 12 kilometre.

To get the car from Russia to the Netherlands was not as easy as getting a car for the Netherlands to Russia, what happened very often at that time. It was the first time the Russian customs had to make papers for a car that left the country!  Therefore I did not have to count on many support from the Russian side. At the end two bottles of whisky, a box of candy and a fist full of Roubles had to help for a happy ending at the customs office. After this roadblock the Volga managed to find his way to the Netherlands on his own without any problems.

Straight afterwards I started to work on the car. In June 1993 the car was registered in the Netherlands. Since 1992 the car has been taken a part for more than a half. The car is now ready for a long time of Volga fun.