The worlds first SUV?

by Curtis Guise on July 24, 2012

GAZ-M-72 was built from 1955 - 1958

GAZ-M-72 was built from 1955 – 1958

The GAZ-M-20 prototype (2wd 5 seat passenger car) was first built in 1944 by GAZ in the Soviet Union and production didn’t begin until 1946.  The GAZ-M-20 was also known as “Pobeda” which meant victory.  Starting in 1955 they combined the chassis of a  GAZ-69 and the body of the GAZ-M-20 to build the 4wd GAZ-M-72.  Production of this vehicle was from 1955 – 1958 and a total of 4667 units were produced.

So the question is, was this really the first SUV?  Russian references credit these as possibly being the first comfortable off-road vehicle with a closed unitized body(statement from Wikipedia).  If you consider the 2wd prototype in 1944 as being the first SUV I think that statement might be valid.  But we can’t forget the Willys Wagon which was first produced in 1946 (same as this GAZ-M-20) and then the 4wd Willys Wagon was introduced in 1949, six years earlier than the GAZ-M-72.  Here is a link to the Willys/Jeep timeline.

This is a GAZ-M-72 with larger tires

This is a GAZ-M-72 with larger tires. Photo via

Engine (M-20)
Formula 4 cylinder gasoline
Displacement 2,12 liters
Perfomance 55hp@3600 rpm
Compression ratio 6.2:1
Gearbox 3+1 x 2
Fuel tank 55 liters
Fuel type A-72
Fuel consumption 14 liters/100 km
Top speed  90 km/h

Lenght 4665 mm
Width 1895 mm
Height 1790 mm
Wheel base 2712 mm
Ground clearance 210 mm
Tyre size 6,50-16

Curb weight 1665 kg
Gross weight 2040 kg

photos and info via and Wikipedia

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