Minsk Automobile Plant [MAZ] - History
In the pre-war years, the collective and state farms of Byelorussia were distinguished by developed livestock breeding. Most collective farms had 2-3 farms with numerous livestock. But many areas experienced difficulties with feed. In order to strengthen the livestock feedstuffs, the collective farms of the republic have embarked on a mass reforestation of peat bogs for the use of peat bogs for agricultural crops. After draining the swamps, they must be plowed. What is necessary for a swamp plow.
The swamp plow should be more durable and is designed for particularly difficult working conditions in the swamp, where during plowing often there are hidden cramps, buried forests and other rhizomes of plants. So in 1947 the constructor Konstantin Dmitrievich Fomichev created the plow "2PF-55". On tests in the same year he showed good results. The plow was designed to work with domestic tractors "NATI" and "KD-35". In accordance with the decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and the Council of Ministers, by the spring of 1948, the Minsk Tractor Plant was to collect 150 plows. Thus, the swamp plow became the first production of a recovering tractor plant. Mass assembly of the two-pole plow "2PF-55" began in the repair and mechanical shop on March 24, 1948.
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR I. Stalin and the manager of the affairs of the Council of Ministers of the USSR J. Chuzaev signed the historic decree of the Soviet Government No. 1142 "On the construction of the Minsk Tractor Plant", which obliged the Ministry of Agricultural Machinery of the USSR and the Council of Ministers of the BSSR to begin the construction of the Minsk Tractor Plant with a capacity of 50 caterpillar tractors per day with diesel engines of 37 horsepower with the beginning of their release in 1948.
OJSC MZKT has been counting its history since July 23, 1954. On that day, by order of the director of the Minsk Automobile Plant No. 15, pursuant to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 1258-563cc of June 25, 1954, and the orders of the Minister of Automotive, Tractor and Agricultural Machinery of the USSR No. 21ss and No. 25ss, a special design bureau No. 1 was created at the Minsk Automobile Plant (SKB-1) on heavy wheeled artillery tractors and engines to them with an experienced base.
In August 1944 the Decree on Auto Assembling Plant organization in Minsk wass taken by the State Defense Committee.September. An order on Auto Assembling Plant building in Minsk was issued by the USSR People's Commissar on Medium Machinery Construction. I.F. Tolkunoff is appointed on the position of the plant’s Director. In August 1945 the Decree of the State Defense Committee «On reconstruction and improving of the automobile industry in the USSR» was issued. A decision on building of the heavy automobiles production plant in Minsk was taken.
In August 1954, the Council of Ministers of the USSR takes an urgent decision to establish a special design bureau at the Minsk Automobile Plant, which is being designed. His main designer is Boris Lvovich Shaposhnik, who previously engaged in career dump trucks. Now, as the design bureau headed by Shaposhnik, so does his name become surrounded by a security barrier. Later, Shaposhnik's bureau was renamed as Separate Chief Designer number 2, and his team began to develop a heavy wheeled artillery tractor of the type 8x8, which is assigned the MAZ-535 index.
At first newly founded factory was making wheeled tractors. First one in particular was this MAZ-528 tractor. It was upgraded a few times and the final model could move through swamps, climb steep inclines. It was equipped with different machinery to cut trees, dig trenches, move dirt around and many more. Then in 1956 on base of that tractor they decided to make a truck. So it was one of the first of its experiments – to take a tractor and make a truck out of it. Tractor-truck hybrid. Then this MAZ-529 was born. It’s frame was not stable and could change its shape. Then shortly after they made a tank truck based on same car, and called it MAZ-529. It was also boasting very high passability thru all types of terrains.
In 1974 the production association “AvtoMAZ” was created on the base of Minsk Automobile Plant, auto aggregate plants in Baranovichi, Osipovichi and Kaliningrad and also Minsk spring plant. July 25, 1966 for the achievements in the work, the creation of new machine designs and the introduction of advanced technology MTZ was awarded the Order of Lenin. January 22, 1971 for great success in the production of tractors, in the use of production facilities and the creation of designs of high-performance tractors, the collective of the plant was awarded the Order of the October Revolution. In January 1977 Minsk Automobile Plant was awarded by the second Lenin Order.
The upgraded MAZ-537 version was in production up to the time the Soviet Union started collapsing in 1989. In 1990 production of new triaxial MAZ-64221 and biaxial MAZ-54321 truck tractors was assimilated. Those MAZ-537 trucks are still widely used in Russian and other Ex-Soviet armies to transport rockets, tanks and more. Also some fire trucks were made on its base. Just imagine – a ballistic missile carrier also used as a fire truck. They were very capable thanks to their V12 engines and could carry 20 tons of load, tow a 25 ton heavy trailer and run at 60 km/h speeds.
In April 1989 the one millionth MAZ truck was assembled. That was a truck tractor MAZ-64221. An experimental sample of the famous concept car MAZ-2000 “Perestroyka” was created. In August 1991 the first experimental sample of a side-board truck “Volat”, created on the basis of MAZ multiaxial four-wheel-drive truck tractors was assembled. In 1991 Minsk Wheel Tractors Plant was detached from the structure of Minsk Automobile Plant on the basis of the department on special wheel tractors production, the second department of the chief designer and experimental workshop #2.
The new chief designer VE Chvylev continued the business of his teacher. However, in the changed economic conditions the plant was completely switched to conversion works - the production of cars - dump trucks, chassis for heavy cranes. Since 1991, the production workshops associated with it have been separated into an independent enterprise - the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant (MZKT). Now his cars bear the trademark "Volat", which means "Bogatyr" in Belarusian. Of course, they are much more perfect than those first MAZ-535 45-year-old. To the Minsk wheeled all-terrain vehicles there has always been a great interest of foreign countries, so today the well-preserved tractor MAZ-537 costs 35 000-50 000 dollars. And the French company "Azimut" has been producing MAZ models for 1:35. German automotive historian Johan Vollett wrote about these cross-country vehicles. Also, the popularization of Shaposhnik cars abroad was very much spent by the French specialist in Soviet motor vehicles Alain Dupuy.
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