On June 28, 1946, the production of the most famous Soviet passenger car "Pobeda" began at the Gorky Automobile Plant. The first design of the car was proposed by V. Brodsky, but as a result, preference for the appearance of the car was given to the artist Veniamin Samoilov, and it was according to his drawings that "Victory" was produced.
The car was given the official name GAZ-M-20 and it was she who opened a new episode in the life of the Gorky Automobile Plant, because the car models were significantly different from the pre-war cars of this series. Victory became the first mass-produced Soviet car. Own car (or, as it was then cautiously expressed, “car for personal use”) before the Victory was considered as a government award.
A very comical incident occurred during the development of the machine. The car was planned to be produced under the name "Rodina". None of the creators thought about how the leader would react to this. When this news reached Joseph Stalin, he frowned and grinned, asking the question: "Well, how much will we have a homeland?" Naturally, after that the name was immediately changed to the already known to us, "Victory".
It is interesting that "Pobeda" is the first Soviet passenger car with a monocoque body and one of the first in the world to be mass-produced with a completely pontoon-type body - without protruding fenders and their rudiments, footrests and headlights. In addition to the original "wingless" shape, its body was also small, for those times, in height - accordingly, the mass distribution changed significantly, the height of the center of gravity, the roof line, the belt line (respectively, the glazing area increased), the floor line and the level of the seat cushions decreased. ... At the same time, the engine was moved forward, into the space above the independent front suspension beam, which also made it possible to make the hood and the car as a whole lower. For that time, this layout can be described as advanced. It made it possible to more rationally arrange passengers in the body, improve the stability and controllability of the car by lowering the center of gravity, significantly reduce the aerodynamic resistance of the air due to a decrease in the area of the midsection of the body, reduce shaking in the cabin when driving on poor quality roads by reducing the height of the seat cushions relative to the road ... Most foreign firms came to similar solutions on mass models later.
A total of 235, 999 cars were produced, including 14, 222 convertibles and 37, 492 taxis. Moreover, "Pobeda" was the first Soviet car, which became known abroad - it was exported to Finland and Belgium specifically for taxi companies.
The victory served as a good basis for the creation of sports cars. Already in 1950, a specially prepared Victory won the All-Union motorsport competitions.
In addition, in 1955, with the development of virgin lands, they began to produce an all-wheel drive modification of the machine - GAZ M-72.
For the first time in the USSR, the car was equipped with electric direction indicators, windscreen defogger blower, interior heating; before that, they were replaced, respectively, by a hand, a bag of salt or makhorka and a homemade brazier with coals; the heater remained an optional extra on many foreign models until the mid 1950s and 60s.
The compression ratio of the Pobeda engine made it possible to run on the lowest quality, 66th, gasoline.
From 1951 to 1972 "Pobeda" was produced under license in Poland at the FSO plant (Fabryka Samochodów Osobowych), under the Warszawa brand.
GAZ cars of the next generation of middle class, the development of which began in 1952-53, no longer bore the name "Pobeda": they were developed under the slogans "Zvezda" and "Volga". Nevertheless, in the design of the Volga, many of the developments in the second generation Pobeda project were implemented.