GAZ GL-1 is considered to be the first Soviet factory-built racing car. The car was produced at the Gorky Automobile Plant (GAZ, Gor’kovsky Avtomobilnyi Zavod) presumably in no more than two copies. It was developed in 1938 on the basis of the GAZ-M-1 production car. The first car named GL1 (“Gonochnaya Lipgarta” – “Racing Lipgart”), in honor of the chief designer of the Gorky Automobile Plant Andrei Lipgart was built in 1938. An open streamlined 2-seater body was installed on the standard GAZ M-1 frame, some of the parts were borrowed from the production car. The total mass of the racing car was significantly reduced. The GAZ-M-1 serial engine was boosted: the diameter of the valves was increased, a new cylinder head was used, and engine power increased from 50 hp up to 65 hp. The GAZ factory test driver Arkady Nikolaev at the first runs in Kiev during Soviet motor racing championship in September 1938 achieved a speed of 143 km/h. Later that year in record runs on Moscow highway near city of Gorky, the home of GAZ company, the GL1 reached 147 km/h.  In 1940, a deeply modernized new version of the GL1 was introduced. As a base, a more advanced modification of the GAZ 11-73 car was chosen. This time, the designers used a 6-cylinder power unit with a working volume of 3.5 liters, on which two carburetors were installed and boosted to 100 hp. The car body was also subjected to significant modification – a removable streamlined hood was installed above the driver’s head and aerodynamic fairings on wheels. The mass of the car was increased by a hundred kilograms. In September 1940 on Moscow highway near Gorky Arkady Nikolaev set a new USSR speed record – 161.87 km/h in the ‘aerodynamic’ GL-1. It is worth to note that a World land speed record at that time was held by John Cobb who achieved in 1939 592 km/h in his Railton Special on a Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA.

SeasonSeriesEvent
1940Speed Record TrialsMoskovskoe Shosse, Gorkiy
Driver No.Entrant
Arkady Nikolaev
Scale ManufacturerCollection
1:43PCTde Agostini Avtolegendy SSSR
Cat. No.QualityRarity
No. 116