UAZ-3972. Source: gruzovikpress.ru
The plant in Ulyanovsk during the years of Soviet rule lived very well. Machines were in demand both in the army and in the national economy, and in the absence of competition there were no incentives to expand the model range and modernization of the enterprise. And it so happened that so far even the civilian line of cars is based on solutions more than half a century ago. Which readers will recall that the best is the enemy of the good? The UAZ classic with its unpretentiousness and patency has long entered itself in a host of legends such as Land Rover Defender, Mercedes-Benz G-class and Jeep Rangler. It is difficult to argue with this, but all competitors have long since changed generations, moved to new platforms and finally began to comply with modern safety and comfort standards. And for many years UAZ has announced the appearance of the “Prado killer”, developed jointly with foreigners ... The appearance of the car has been postponed until the end of 2021. Consumers until this time will have to put up with the legacy of the Soviet technical school and the corresponding quality of manufacturing.
UAZ-3972 at the Oldtimer Gallery of Ilya Sorokin. Photo by Yuri Pasholok. Source: vk.ru
In a hopeless series of minor improvements, cosmetic improvements such as the Patriot series, thirty years ago, the hope for a global modernization of all UAZ vehicles was awakened. The first calls came, naturally, from the main customer - the Ministry of Defense of the USSR.
In August 1989, the Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant was put forward a demand for the construction of a light vehicle capable of transporting 9-10 people. To accommodate the division of motorized rifles, it was proposed to extend the bonnet UAZ-3151 and re-equip the UAZ-3303 onboard truck. Automobile workers completed the order within two months, and by February 1990, on the basis of the van, they had additionally created the UAZ-37411. The model of the last car was a “loaf” with a cut roof, stern and part of the side panels. The resulting cargo platform was covered with an awning. In any other case, a cramped closed wagon could not accommodate eight fighters in equipment. The Ministry of Defense, obviously, still made a requirement for the ability to quickly leave the car in case of shelling by the enemy, and here the tilt body came in handy. But on tests, the idea of converting the van into an open truck proved to be not the most successful side. Through the sides, 1,2 meters high, it was inconvenient for the soldiers to get into the car, the wheel arches took up a lot of space, and the awning was too low. Even a heater was installed in the back of the experimental car, which proved to be ineffective: the tent blown by all the winds refused to keep heat.
Extended UAZ-3151. In the late 80s - early 90s, they tried to put up to 10 soldiers in it. Well, that did not work. Source: denisovets.ru
The worst thing was the soldiers in the extended execution of the bonnet "UAZ" with an extended frame length of 200 mm. Inside it was expectedly crowded, and the UAZ-3151 itself suffered from overload: instead of the prescribed 800 kg, a ton was now prescribed to him immediately. Due to the specificity of the layout, the load balance shifted to the rear axle, while the front one was underloaded by 35 kg in comparison with the original. All this extremely negatively affected the maneuverability and dynamics of the car, and the engine resource in such conditions of overload was seriously reduced. Much later, in 2004, in many ways a similar vehicle under the UAZ-2966 index with a capacity of 9 people was adopted by the Russian army.
Experienced UAZs designed to transport the squad of fighters. Source: denisovets.ru
The most successful option was the onboard UAZ-33031. Here, the landing / landing was much more convenient, and the wheel arches did not particularly interfere with the legs, and the platform itself was more spacious. As a result, it was this embodiment that seemed most optimal for the military. Despite minor flaws, the car was sent for pre-production revision. I had to come to terms with the motion sickness of personnel on dirt roads, as well as with the not very convenient landing of personnel through the side walls.
Experienced UAZ-33034, which almost went into the series. Everything ruined the disgusting behavior of the car during braking. Once the truck even rolled over, slowing down from a harmless 80 km / h. Source: denisovets.ru
A new model of a carrier of a motorized rifle squad received the name UAZ-33034. He appeared in April 1990. The designers installed wheel gears on the truck, which further increased the loading height to 870 mm. The body was made of rolled steel, and the awning with windows was sewn whole, ensuring landing / disembarkation only through the rear flap valve. During the tests unexpectedly revealed problems with handling: when braking from high speeds, the wheels spontaneously turn, threatening a coup. At first, they decided that this was a consequence of the use of axles with gearboxes, but even with the previous units, the UAZ-33034 was very dangerous on the road. It was decided not to test fate and abandon the passenger performance of an onboard Ulyanovsk truck. For the transport of goods such obstinacy "UAZ" seemed acceptable.
"Wagon" and "HACK"
All of the above attempts to modernize or reprofile equipment from Ulyanovsk went under the cipher of the development work of GAK. In the framework of the same area, in 1989, work began on the development of a new car of a wagon arrangement UAZ-3972. A little later, when all GAK projects were closed, the direction along the successor of the "loaf" was renamed to OCD "Wagon". In total, by the end of the 1990s, three copies of military ambulances with gear bridges and one freight-passenger van for the national economy were built. A small sample of dry tactical and technical characteristics of the new UAZ: curb weight - 2,25 tons, cruising range - 800 km, maximum speed - 100 km / h, towed trailer without brakes - 750 kg, with brakes - 1200 kg engine power - 77 l / s and fuel consumption - 12 l / 100 km. The frame for the car was almost unchanged from its predecessor. The 325 mm ground clearance achieved by the gear axles provided the experienced ambulances with excellent cross-country ability. In the civilian version without wheel gears of external gearing, the ground clearance (or, in military terms, clearance) was 220 mm. To preserve the condition of the wounded, the spring suspension was replaced with a spring suspension, although it remained dependent. A damping wheel appeared on the front axle, improving the handling of the car.
UAZ-3972 in detail at the "Ilya Sorokin Oldtimer Gallery". Photo: Yuri Pasholok. Source: vk.ru
The appearance of the van was seriously different from its predecessor and was dictated by the requirements of military acceptance. Unified lighting, a small rear overhang, flat body panels and a windshield created a specific look for the car, for which the factory workers nicknamed the van “King Kong”. On the UAZ, a small hood appeared in front of the windshield to access the cooling radiator and the glass blowing fan. By the way, this gives reason to attribute the UAZ-3972 to the class of semi-hood vehicles. The appearance of the new UAZ was very similar to the Austrian Steyer-Daimler-Puch Pinzgauer 710, only on a reduced scale. The NATO machine was seriously different from the domestic one in the filling: it was based on the Tatra spinal frame, independent suspension and ground clearance (again due to gearboxes) of 335 mm.
Steyer-Daimler-Puch Pinzgauer 710 looks like an UAZ-3971. Source: avtorinok.ru
In the late 70s and early 80s, UAZ worked on a whole family of vans under the index 3770 and the name "Simbir", but they remained in the form of layouts. This project can be considered the ideological predecessor of the OCD "Wagon". Source: ru.cars.photo
Early "Simbir" from plasticine. Source: denisovets.ru
The power plant on the UAZ-3972 was the classic UMP-4178 with a capacity of 92 liters. s., but in the future it was planned to mount UMP-421, which is already developing 105 liters. with. Interesting история with the layout of the engine. The fact is that initially they planned to place the motor strictly in the center, but this, as in the case with the usual “loaf,” shifted the driver's seat to the left. It turned out and sitting uncomfortable, and the view from the driver's seat was unsatisfactory. Therefore, the UMP-4178 was moved 3 cm to the right (initially the idea was to move it immediately by 7 cm) and the driver seemed to be more comfortable. But the visibility problem could not be solved by such a microscopic redevelopment: it was also aggravated due to the flat windshield.
The salon is not the freshest, but it gives an idea of the original idea of the designers. Source: vk.ru
The most important thing in the promising van was the improvement of the driver's working conditions, which is especially evident in comparison with the UAZ-452 series. Not so much painted metal remained in the cockpit, but the dash, steering wheel and instrument cluster both in design and execution fully met the requirements of the time.
The military automobile industry found the collapse of the Soviet Union during a period of large-scale rearmament. Due to lack of money and lack of orders, many promising developments did not see the light of day. Some of them are embodied in the technical projects of modern Russia, and some have perished in obscurity. The little-known Wagon project was among the latter: neither the army nor the civilian sector received a replacement for the well-deserved UAZ-452 family. Apparently, ahead of the car and 65-year, and even 70-year conveyor anniversaries.