NAMI-086 had excellent engineering and stylistic inclinations, but did not become serial.
The end of the 1950s and the very beginning of the 1960s was the time of the rapid rise of the domestic auto industry. Including – the birth of several interesting prototypes created in US.
Some of the developments were embodied in serial models – in particular, in the ZAZ‑965.
But the minicar NAMI-086 with its own name Sputnik was not lucky. But the design was very extraordinary.
Compact (length 3100 mm, wheelbase 1900 mm) rear-engined car – the first in the USSR with a transverse engine. Thanks to this, a spare wheel was also placed in the engine compartment. The machine with the landing formula 2 + 2 was designed for the Serpukhov plant and planned to be produced both with manual and conventional control. By the way, like the Oka, which appeared many years later. NAMI‑086 with a curb weight of only 590 kg had a maximum speed of 72 km/h. It was believed that this was quite enough for a super-compact city car.A certain standard for all post-war rear-engine cars in those years was the German Volkswagen Käfer. “Beetle” was carefully studied in the USSR. But apart from the general concept – a compact rear-engined car – the Sputnik and the German car with an air-cooled longitudinal boxer engine have almost nothing in common.The design of NAMI‑086 was developed by Eduard Molchanov and Valentin Rostkov. The car turned out to be original, modern and, by the way, looked much more elegant than most foreign classmates – motorized strollers of the early 1960s.As in many cars of those years, in the style of the Sputnik, of course, American motives are read. In particular – in pointed “keels” above the rear fenders and round lights.It’s funny that stylistically, the NAMI-086 feed echoes a little, for example, with the luxurious French car Facel Vega. But this only says that both cars did not escape overseas influence.In the 1950s, longitudinal torsion bars were installed on Chrysler cars. But this design is not related to the one that was created for NAMI‑086.The gearbox was created on the basis of the ZAZ‑965 gearbox (3.73 / 2.29 / 1.39 / 0.897), using its crankcase, gear block and other parts. In addition to the standard clutch, an automatic electromagnetic powder clutch was provided. This was later put on a part of the Cossacks with manual control.A compact two-cylinder air-cooled engine with a working volume of 0.5 liters (72 × 61 mm) developed 14 liters. With. at 4000 rpm and 30 Nm at 2500 rpm.The NAMI‑086 engine was a “half” of the experimental ZAZ‑966 engine in the 1 liter version (72 × 61 mm), which developed 34 hp. With.The satellite was distinguished by the original front suspension on longitudinal torsion bars and transverse levers on plastic bushings that do not require lubrication. The rear suspension on a transverse torsion bar was conceptually close to that used on the Volkswagen, but in geometry and details it was different.Not the most common scheme with longitudinal torsion bars was one of the first to be used back in the 1930s by Citroen on Traction Avant series cars. But the suspension scheme on a front-wheel drive French car is completely different.Especially for NAMI‑086, they made an original and even elegant instrument panel in the style of more “adult” cars.The Sputnik engine worked with a four-speed gearbox (3.88 / 2.29 / 1.39 / 1.07).
Two prototypes of NAMI-086 – with manual and conventional control – were made in 1962.
The press wrote about the car as a pre-production model. But the Serpukhov plant was not capable of making cars more complicated than motorized sidecars. Yes, and motorized carriages, due to the large amount of manual labor, had too high a cost.
The first Sputnik was soon forgotten. There were more than three decades before the ultra-compact Oka …
The history of the unique Soviet SUV LuAZ is here. “Behind the wheel” can now be viewed on RuTube
Photo: from the archive “Behind the wheel”