GAZ-61-73, 4x4, Staff Car
Among the painful experiences of the Russo-Finnish winter war of 1939-1940 was the fact that the Red army was lacking a vehicle capable of dealing with impassable winter roads.
This revealed the sharp need for a simple, but reliable and mobile passenger cross-country vehicle for servicing the average executive body of the Red Army, staff duty, and also for the reconnaissance, connection duties and the towing of light guns.
As a quick stopgap the existing GAZ-11-40 4x2 phaeton was upgraded with a driven front-axle leading to the characteristic high structure, resulting in the new »GAZ Model 61« (see → bottom drawing).
As a phaeton obviously isn't the car of choice for the fierce Russian climate, the same modification was applied to the GAZ-11-73 sedan, giving the GAZ-61-73 shown here.
The results were an instant success as can be seen by the fact that many well-known Red Army commanders chose the GAZ-61 as their command car, among them Voroshilov, Shukov, Rokossovskiy and most of all Konyev whose sample is still preserved today.
The latter used the GAZ-61 from August 1941 throughout the war, and it is said that he was always followed by an armoured Bantam BRC 40.
In all, only 181 GAZ-61-73 were built by GAZ as the Model 61 was soon superceeded by two better development, the GAZ-64 and GAZ-67 »Ivan-Willys«.
Note : The GAZ-61 appeared not only in civilian black but in Russian 4BO green as well, together with the typical cross.country tread tires.