The Moskvich was one of the most popular cars in the Soviet Union. The date of birth of "Moskvich" can be considered May 1945, when the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR decided to start producing cars of this brand at the Moscow Small Car Plant (MZMA). 1968 to 1992 this enterprise was called AZLK (Automobile Plant named after Lenin Komsomol), and from 1992 to 2010 it was called "Moskvich". OJSC "Moskvich" was liquidated in September 2010.
Serial production of "Muscovites" was established in 1947. After the end of World War II, a large number of captured Opel machine-building equipment was exported from Germany to the Soviet Union. Cars "Moskvich-400" were produced on the basis of the German "Opel Kadett". It was "Moskvich-400" that became the first passenger car in the USSR, which was produced for mass use. For the stooped profile, the first cars "Moskvich" were popularly called "Hottabych".
"Moskvich-412" was very popular not only in our country, but also abroad. In addition to the socialist states, it was purchased from Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavian countries. The journalists of the Mir Tekhniki publication gave the Moskvich a serious test - they covered 1240 kilometers on it in two days off-road. After the end of the test, journalists said that not every car, even of well-known Western firms, can withstand such extreme races.
Not all cars have songs. But "Moskvich" even has its own anthem, written by the composer Alexandra Pakhmutova to the words of the poet Nikolai Dobronravov. This piece of music with the title "No wonder they called you" Moskvich "was performed wonderfully by the singer Eduard Khil.
"Moskvich" has successfully performed at the largest international motorsport tournaments. In 1968, Soviet racers took part in the auto marathon of the century on the London-Sydney route. Despite the fact that "Moskvich" did not become the winner, the car showed its best qualities. With the full complement, only four teams managed to overcome the 11, 000-kilometer track. Two of them represented England, one each - Australia and the Soviet Union.
Since 1967, "Moskvich", in addition to Moscow, also began to be assembled in Izhevsk at the local car plant. The Izhevsk Automobile Plant was a defense enterprise, therefore, product quality control was stricter. Buyers noted that the cars made in Udmurtia were distinguished by a rougher interior trim, but in operation they were more reliable than those in Moscow.
Back in 1976, a resident of the GDR Gerhard Schott bought a Soviet car "Moskvich" for 18, 000 German marks. And he continues to use it even after more than forty years. Gerhard Schott is pleased with the purchase, and the total mileage of "Moskvich" has already exceeded a million kilometers. The owner claims to have changed the engine only once over the years.
In October 2015, Kolomnikov Street appeared on the map of Moscow. it was named after Valentin Petrovich Kolomnikov, the former director of AZLK, during whose leadership the enterprise flourished. Valentin Petrovich Kolomnikov gave his native plant almost 40 years of his life - from 1953 to 1992.
"Moskvich" was the most popular passenger car of the Soviet Union for several decades. For many celebrities, it was he who became the first car. For example, Savely Kramarov bought "Moskvich" when he was still an aspiring actor who rarely received episodic roles in films. Tragedies are also associated with "Moskvich". For example, in 1990 the legendary Viktor Tsoi died in a car accident. The singer was driving a Moskvich-2141 car.
Moskvich was also very popular among Soviet filmmakers. It is impossible to list all the pictures in which the main characters drove around in a car of this particular brand. Suffice it to recall the words of the Chief from the legendary comedy "The Diamond Arm": "On the advice of my friends, I decided to buy a Moskvich car. A new model!" The film was shot in the late sixties, the presence of such a car in a person testified to material wealth.
And in the seventies, Moskvich got a strong competitor - the Volzhsky Automobile Plant. Zhiguli became much more popular, as a result of which demand for Moskvich dropped dramatically. At the end of the seventies, the export of cars produced at AZLK also decreased. Now they were bought mainly by the socialist countries, as well as the countries of the "third world".
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the plant faced serious problems. Even the production of business-class cars such as "Prince Vladimir", "Yuri Dolgoruky", "Ivan Kalita" did not help. The Russian car market was conquered by the products of foreign companies.