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The RAF-977 was a Soviet cabover van made by Riga Autobus Factory (RAF) based on components from the GAZ-21 Volga. It was introduced in 1958 and was manufactured in two main styles: a 10-seater minibus and an ambulance. In 1961, an updated version called the RAF-977D was put into production; this had a one-piece windshield, instead of the split, and Volga steering wheel among its other detail changes.[2] Variants included the 977I ambulance and a special Intourist model, which had better seats, roof lights, and sunroof.[3]

RAF-977
RAF-977 Latvija.jpg
RAF-977
Overview
ManufacturerRiga Autobus Factory
Production1958-1976
AssemblyRAF Factory, Jelgava, Latvia
ErAZ Factory, Yerevan, Armenia
Body and chassis
Body style4-door, 10-passenger van/minibus/ambulance
RelatedGAZ-21 Volga
ERAZ-762
Powertrain
Engine4-cylinder 2,445 cc (149.2 cu in) 75 hp (56 kW; 76 PS) at 4000rpm[1]
Transmission3-speed manual[1]
Dimensions
Wheelbase2,700 mm (106 in)[1]
Length4,900 mm (193 in)[1]
Width1,815 mm (71 in)[1]
Height2,110 mm (83 in)[1]
Curb weight1,675 kg (3,693 lb)[1]
Chronology
SuccessorRAF-2203

The RAF-983, based on the 977, was a fire department vehicle.[4]

The shortened RAF-978, powered by the Moskvitch 407's 45 hp (34 kW; 46 PS) 1,360 cc (83 cu in) engine, was not a success, in part because the engine lacked torque, and ride quality suffered due to the shortened wheelbase.[5]

RAF-977DM

In 1969,[6] it was replaced by the improved RAF-977DM. This had a wider passenger door and fewer but longer side windows (three on driver's side and two on passenger's, rather than five and three before).[7] The ambulance now had the same number of windows, rather than fewer; it was now the 977IM, and the tourist variant was the 977EM.[8]

A one-ton cargo panel van, the RAF-977K,[9] was also developed, but due to insufficient assembly capacity (only 3000 units a year)[10] at the RAF plant (which still used trolleys, rather than a modern assembly line),[11] its production started at the ErAZ factory in Yerevan, Armenia, 1 May 1966 as ErAZ-762.[12][13] This was nicknamed Yeraz (Armenian for "dream").[14] By 1973, ErAZ's production reached 6,500 per year; with the innovation of overhead carriage, capacity almost doubled, to 12,000 a year.[15] The 977 was also produced under licence by Lugansk Avto Remontnyi Zavod (LARZ).[16]

In 1969, an improved ErAZ-762A also appeared.[17]

Production of the RAF-977 ceased in 1975, when it was replaced by RAF-2203 Latvia.[18]

The 977 was never promoted for export nor made available except to state groups.[19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g http://www.autogallery.org.ru/raf977.htm
  2. ^ Thompson, Andy. Cars of the Soviet Union (Haynes Publishing, Somerset, UK, 2008), p.192.
  3. ^ Thompson, p.192.
  4. ^ Thompson, p.192.
  5. ^ Thompson, p.192.
  6. ^ Thompson, p.192.
  7. ^ Thompson, pp.192-193.
  8. ^ Thompson, p.193.
  9. ^ Thompson, p.193.
  10. ^ Thompson, p.193.
  11. ^ Thompson, p.193.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-26. Retrieved 2009-09-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Thompson, p.193.
  14. ^ Thompson, p.193.
  15. ^ Thompson, p.193.
  16. ^ Thompson, p.194.
  17. ^ Thompson, p.193.
  18. ^ Thompson, p.195.
  19. ^ Thompson, p.198 caption.