The first SUV of Kazakhstan: the history of the creation of the car LAF 4101
The story began in the very city where, according to the creators of the “Gentlemen of Fortune” motion picture creator, the mother of Vasily Alibabayevich lived with her mother. It was in Dzhambul in 1996 that a private entrepreneur decided to try his hand at creating vehicles of his own design. Now they would say softly that this idea was not simple, but then, at the very peak of the devastation, people’s heads hurt about something else, and the majority didn’t care who did what. However, the owner of the largest maintenance station in the region felt that it was quite realizable.
Of course, at the very beginning of this path no major developments were foreshadowed. It all came down to changing the designs of finished cars. In the first case, the top and doors were removed from the Niva SUV and the body was reinforced. Thus, Alexander Loktev (the same entrepreneur) received a phaeton for his passion for hunting. The next project was a tow truck built on the basis of the GAZ-53 truck. He was needed for business.
Both cars successfully passed factory certification and received factory indices, which the designer was very proud of. But he refused from the index proposed for him in Nizhny Novgorod for the third car …
In the autumn of 1997, the entrepreneur decided to take a serious step – building a car, which until that time had no analogues among serial samples. The choice of direction fell towards the high degree of cross-country vehicles, and the main methods of construction were “crossing” and refinement. If you delve into the details, then the project used the frame, bridges, wheels and razdatka truck GAZ-66, the body and interior of the car GAZ-24, engine, box and front fenders GAZ-53. The output turned out to be something outwardly absurd, endowed with controversial design solutions, which include an alien “facade” and the desire to make a wagon out of a sedan using a frame and an awning.
But despite this, the car justified its purpose. During the first trips, the SUV easily passed the fords, overcame steep climbs, quite adequately behaved on public roads. It was then that the idea of creating your own brand and organizing small-scale production of such machines was born. True, in order to declare itself as an automaker, both the car and its creator needed to undergo a series of tests.
Due to the fact that in Kazakhstan at that time there was not a single automobile-scientific institute, a request was sent to the local traffic police department asking for help in assessing the SUV. There, the initiative of the entrepreneur was treated with understanding and they assembled a group which, in addition to ordinary specialists, included the head of the department.
GAZ-66 ’06 .1964–99 ramaGAZ-66 1964–99
Many measuring instruments had to be searched. Some borrowed in neighboring areas, some were purchased in Russia. But as a result, the group received the following indicators: a 2.5-ton car is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 98.5 km / h, overcome 45.4-degree ascents, force water obstacles of 1.4 meters in depth. In this case, the machine could carry a payload of 850 kg.
For comparison, the GAZ-66 took part in the tests. Of course, the cars had a fundamentally different purpose, but it was necessary to find out another: what advantages does the shortened base give to the car? The first thing that turned out to be better was the turning radius, which was nine meters. The second and more important advantage was the radius of the longitudinal cross, that is, the ability of the machine to overcome the most dramatic change in the longitudinal profile of the road (mound, ledge). Where the “shishiga” was sitting on the belly, the LAF (this is how the new car was dubbed, albeit while in absentia) skipped off the run.
At the end of the test, the road inspection representatives congratulated the creator of the SUV, but made it clear that registration without a state certificate of conformity is out of the question. And everyone knew very well that in Kazakhstan there was not a single state institution that would issue such a document. So the entrepreneur got into a vicious circle, from which the factory output of the Gorky Automobile Plant, assigned after successful testing of the machine in Russia, was the only way out. But in this case, an independent brand would have to be forgotten: the car would be called GAZ, and the creator would be allowed only to assign a proper name. Such a plot did not suit Loktev, but the situation was not in his favor. Therefore, an appropriate request was made to Nizhny Novgorod, in response to which we clearly stated when and where to deliver the SUV.