Soviet passenger transport: LAZ 695 E (Lviv Bus Plant). Power – 150 hp. Made in 1963. Moscow transport museum

The LAZ-695 is a Soviet/Ukrainian 2 axle urban/suburban bus, which was produced in the Western Ukrainian city Lviv from 1965 to 2002. After the production stop at the main factory in Lviv, the documentation was handed over to the DAZ automotive facility in the Ukrainian city Kamianske, where the production continued up to 2010.

In over 50 years of manufacturing there were built over 250 000 units of various modifications, made the model one of the most widespread buses in the Soviet Union and the LAZ factory the biggest bus manufacturer in Europe in the 1980s. The bus belongs to the model series 69x, which includes also the LAZ-697 “Tourist” and the LAZ-699.

Considerations to build a new factory, specialized on production of spare parts for heavy duty trucks in the Ukrainian city Lviv, were made by the Soviet government directly after the second world war and the construction was finalized in 1949. In addition to truck cranes, like AK-32, LAZ-690 (both mounted on ZIS-150), the factory dealt also with the production of car spare parts and truck trailers, like LAZ-712 for the truck PAZ-657 and LAZ-729 for the truck ZIS-150.

At the beginning of the 50s, the Soviet Union planned to create a new bus series that includes a lower class model, based on GAZ truck components, a middle-class model, based on ZIS trucks and an upper-class model, based on MAZ trucks. Thus, on March 17, 1955, the Ministry of automotive, tractor and agricultural engineering of the USSR granted the task to develop several city bus prototypes with Rear-engine design and place for 50 persons, of which 30 should be seat places. The intention was to replace the obsolete and virtually the only existing city bus model in the Soviet Union, ZIS-155.

At that time the LAZ-engineering team had sufficient construction experience, due to the development of the crane and trailer models in the last years. The team also consisted of young and ambitious professionals that were obsessed by the idea of creation a fully new and progressive bus model.

For that goal, the Soviet Union ordered the cutting edge bus models from West Germany manufacturers, among them the Mercedes-Benz O 321 and Magirus-Deutz O3500H/O6500.

Read more: History of autobuses with Simon Bloyd ...