The Soviet GAZ M12 “ZIM” (1953). Power – 90 hp. Moscow transport museum

The ZIM-12 (Russian: ЗИМ-12) was a Soviet full-size luxury car produced by the Gorky Automotive Plant (GAZ) from 1950 until 1960. It was the first executive car produced by GAZ and the first one to have the famous leaping gazelle hood ornament.

The car was built to serve high and medium rank Soviet nomenklatura, but was also readily available as a taxi and ambulance. Unlike its successors, ZIM was the only Soviet executive class full-size car that was actually made available for private ownership. A total of 21,527 examples were built.

The car weighed 1,940 kg (4,280 lb), was capable of getting 19 L/100 km (12 mpg‑US; 15 mpg‑imp), of reaching 78 mph (126 km/h), and of accelerating 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 37 seconds.

It had one unusual feature: the rear tread (track), at 1,560 mm (61 in), was wider than the front by 100 mm (3.9 in), to ensure the rear seat would accommodate three passengers. The result was an Oldsmobile-like “bulge”. It was also the first GAZ to feature the leaping gazelle hood ornament.

Clearance: 200 mm (7.9 in)
Turn radius: 7.4 m (24.28 ft)
Gearbox: 3 speeds + reverse
Weight: 1,800 kg (3,968 lb) (1,940 kg (4,277 lb) with full tank, oil and other liquids)
Maximum speed: 120 km/h (75 mph)
Fuel tank: 80 L (21 US gal; 18 imp gal)
Fuel consumption: 15.5 L/100 km (18.2 mpg‑imp; 15.2 mpg‑US) at 50–60 km/h


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