In his recent essay for his regular column in Popular Mechanics magazine, car collector and comedian Jay Leno talks about his 1966 GAZ-21 Volga.
Named after the Gorky Automobile Factory and the country’s longest river, the Russian sedan "isn’t particularly well-made but it’s very strong, like bull," Jay jokes.
The KGB used Volgas, often painted black, so Russians called them Black Ravens. They were also used as taxis. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin received a specially built Volga after becoming the first human to travel into space in 1961.
"The Volga is still widely recognized in Russia, but when I take mine around L.A., no one knows what it is or cares," Jay explains. "The novelty of being a vintage Russian car is about all the Volga has going for it."
"Still, I like it for what it is, and cruising in the Volga puts me into an entirely different frame of mind," he continues. "Driving down the road, I find myself yelling, Perestrooiikkaa! But I have to remember that if I wander into a Russian community, a few older people might still get a chill down their spines."
Take a closer look at the car in this video from Jay’s Leno Garage!
Source: Popular Mechanics