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The first version of the GAZ GL-1.[1]
The second version of the GAZ GL-1.[3]
The recreation of the second GAZ GL-1 as it sat when it debuted February 26, 2010 in Moscow, Russia. Photo byGregory Gomelchu.[4]

The GAZ-GL-1 is a pre-war Russian GAZ racing car designed by Evgenie Agitov. The GL-1 was built in Gaza in 1938 and was based on components from a GAZ M-1. The GAZ M-1, which was produced between 1936 and 1942 based on the 1933 Ford V8-40.[5] The body of the car was built on top of a stock M1 frame. A GAZ M-1 engine that was boosted to 65 hp instead of 50 hp powered the car.[1] The engine was hopped up by increasing the compression ratio and by installing experimental cylinder heads and larger valves.[6] Once completed, the GL-1 debuted in Kiev in October 1938. Driven by GAZ test technician Arkady Nikolaev, the car was able to reach a top speed of 148 kph with the modified GAZ M-1 engine.[1]

In 1940 a stock GAZ-11-73 with its new straight 6 engine was able to reach a top speed of 140 kph.[6] Under Agitov's leadership, a decision was made to upgrade the GL-1 so the car received a new 6 cylinder 100 hp engine from a GAZ-11-73.[1] This version of the car was also redesigned in order to improve the aerodynamics and in order to prevent the engine from overheating which had been a problem with the first version. A new grille was made for the car and a bubble was mounted over the driver's compartment. These improvements increased the weight of the car from 1000 kg to 1100kg.[6] September 22, 1940, the second version of the GL-1 became the quickest car of the Soviet Union when it sat an All-Union speed record of 161.9 kph.[3]

The GL-1 was destroyed under mysterious circumstances. One story claims that it was cut up into pieces at the factory, while another claims that it was destroyed during a bombing of the GAZ factory.[3]

February 26, 2010, a recreation of the second version of the GAZ GL-1 was displayed at the Moscow Museum. The recreation was built by Boushuev Coachbuild and took 3 years to build. The recreation was built from drawings made by the famous artist Alexander Zakharov that were based on surviving photographs.[3]


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