“Behind the wheel” is not only the first magazine whose employees took up the testing of automotive innovations. We constantly come up with and come up with original and as close to life tests as possible.
We continue the cycle of materials dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the magazine “Behind the wheel”.
In our country, it was “Behind the Wheel” that became the pioneer of journalistic tests of cars – and a variety of them.
The first test of foreign cars
Such a test (moreover, a group one) was organized by the magazine… 94 years ago, in the summer of 1929!
It was a run along the route Moscow – Tula – Voronezh – Kharkov – Orel – Tula – Moscow, headed by the first editor-in-chief Nikolai Osinsky.This is not an easy task – a test of cars in 1929.
This is not an easy task – a test of cars in 1929.
The “nail” was the brand new Ford A, and it was compared with three other “Americans”: Chevrolet, Willys-Overland Whippet models and Durant Star.
According to the results of the 2000-kilometer run, the championship was given to the simple, but strong Ford.
Chevrolet was second, Durant third, and Willys-Overland last.
By the way, it was the American Ford A that turned into our GAZ-A in just a couple of years.In 1957, a novelty, the Moskvich‑402 sedan, fell into the hands of journalists at Za Rulem.
In 1957, a novelty, the Moskvich‑402 sedan, fell into the hands of journalists at Za Rulem.
The first consumer test “Behind the wheel”
It was held in 1957. The then new Moskvich‑402 was provided by a reader who asked not to be named.
The car was compared in absentia with the Moskvich‑401, and the 402nd turned out to be much more modern. They also honestly noted the shortcomings – from the vagaries of the carburetor to the leakage of the axle shaft seal and the uneven operation of the brakes.
Foreign car of a new era
The first imported car fell into the hands of Za Rulem testers in 1971 thanks to Mark Tilevich, deputy editor-in-chief, and in fact, the main ideologist and, in general, the soul of the magazine.
Using connections with the representation of the Czechoslovak foreign trade organization Motokov, Tilevich got a bright orange Skoda 110R coupe with a 52‑horsepower rear engine. The machine worked in the editorial office for a year and deserved a detailed publication.
We are riding Zhiguli
And the country was already living with a domestic novelty named Zhiguli. Here “Behind the wheel” became a pioneer in the genre of a long test. At first, the magazine on its pages literally dismantled the VAZ‑2101 by nodes and parts. And soon there was even a separate section “We are driving a Zhiguli”. The journalist and qualified engineer Boris Sinelnikov scrupulously described everything that happened to the machine that worked in the editorial office.
Thanks again to Tilevich, in the early 70s, the Izhevsk Moskvich‑412 served in Za Rulem. For a year with a small car has passed 60 thousand km. It was he who first got to professional tests at the Dmitrovsky training ground. The testers, together with journalists, measured the main parameters of the machine and gave it an expert assessment. It was 1971 that marked the starting point of our work at the test site, which we continue today.
An unusual resource test “Behind the wheel” was organized in 1986. The popular VAZ‑2105 drove 10,000 km non-stop. The car was stopped only for refueling, inspection and change of drivers. The ring route, about 700 km long, through the Moscow and Yaroslavl regions included asphalt roads, country roads and even cobblestones in the Uglich region. Fixed fuel and oil consumption, all faults and claims to the car.
In 2013, we repeated such a run on the then popular Peugeot 308. The roads on which the “five” was driven in 1986 became much better. However, cars have changed even more.In 2008, the legendary folk cars of the 20th century were tested on our unique test.
In 2008, the legendary folk cars of the 20th century were tested on our unique test.
It was “Behind the wheel” that initiated group tests already in recent history. In 1989 – 60 years after the first test, organized by the first editor-in-chief – we again brought together three cars in a full-time duel. The reason for the test was a domestic novelty – Oka VAZ‑1111, and compared it with Japanese classmates Mitsubishi Minica and Daihatsu Cuore.
Finally, one of the most unusual tests we conducted in 2008. Then, for face-to-face comparison, we collected best-selling cars from different countries and eras: the first mass-produced car was the Ford T, the legendary Willys from World War II, the iconic Western Volkswagen Käfer and Citroen 2CV, and the East German Trabant. Together with them participated “unity” VAZ-2101 and the novelty of the beginning of the XXI century – Renault Logan.
Of course, this is only a tiny part of the interesting and unusual tests “Behind the wheel”. We have something to remember over these 95 years. But there is more to do in the future!
Photo: from the archive “Behind the wheel”
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