Motorworld’s newspaper №67
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In 1929, workshops based on Izh Steelworks production facilities has manufactured the first five Izh motorcycles. Peter Vladimirovich Mozharov, a talented engineer, headed the workshops. He had been undertaking an internship in Germany. Upon return he believed USSR should start manufacturing customized replicas of German motorcycles. O. Kurikhin, a biographer, wrote:

Peter Vladimirovich Mozharov

“Peter Vladimirovich has visited eight well equipped motorworks. Allright, BMW, DKW, D-Rad, Mabeco, Neander, NSU and Zündapp. More 15 factories he put to “out of interest” category due to the fact these 15 factories had limited production. In this category, the most interesting was the Stock works (Berlin) manufactured boldly designed light bikes.

Peter was very impressed by DKW, Zündapp and Neander. DKW works was notable for its diversity & large-scale production. Apart from bikes, it has been manufacturing outboard engines, dynamotors etc. Zündapp works was remarkable for the perfect engineering solutions. And Neander works was nameworthy for interesting design solutions and the fact that Ernst Neander (the director) has been directly involved in creative engineering process, design and testing. The latter really impressed him”.

Many things Mozharov saw turned into pilot designs. After the first Izh motorcycles were finished and tests completed, Mozharov and all his staff were moved to Leningrad where mass production of two-wheeled motor vehicles had been prepared.

L-300 from the «Motorworld by V.Sheynov» collection”

DKW Luxus 300

Along with production of documentation for L-300 motorcycle, DKW Luxus 300 bikes underwent the tests at the Scientific autotractor institute. After L-300 went into production, Mozharov and some of his coworkers moved to Moscow where they founded a design bureau as a part of the Scientific autotractor institute. Several nameworthy engineers has been working with Peter Mozharov. They are Sergey Ivanovich Karzinkin (test man, one of the creators of the Soyuz bike, an author of many books and articles on motorcycle design), Alexander Minovich Fedorov (who became the chief designer of the Irbit Motorworks), Igor Ivanovich Okunev (who became the head of Engine design bureau of the AZLK works), Boris Mikhailovich Fiterman (who became a Doctor of Engineering Science, a professor, one of the automobile chief designers).

NATI-A-750

The design bureau was assigned to design medium and heavy motorcycles for the Army and the national economy. The first heavy motorcycle was NATI-A-750. It combined different engineering solutions. A chassis was made in the image of BWM with an American type powertrain.

A double cradle made of pressed profiles enclosed a petrol tank. A spring front fork having thick pressed legs was connected to the double cradle. A flathead double-cylinder V-engine (750 cc displacement) was put lengthwise on the frame and combined with a three-speed gearbox and a rear wheel chain drive. The machine was equipped with a dry multiple-disc clutch, circulation system of engine lubrication and a Delco ignition system with a HV coil and a timer-distributor of the automobile type.

PMZ-А-750 from the «Motorworld by V.Sheynov» collection”

The second bike was NATI-B-375, which had some parts specific to heavy motorcycles. Its engine, in fact, was a half of the A-750 engine – a flathead motor, 375 cc displacement, cylinder angularity of 13 degrees. A chassis was the L-300 chassis with some little alterations. Probably, a three-speed gearbox was also taken from L-300.

Marina Ladinina with PMZ-A-750 motorcycle in the famous Soviet film «Tractor drivers», filmed in 1939

The third model was almost a completely copy of BMW. The chassis was similar to one used in A-750 – a double cradle made of pressed profiles and a spring front fork. A flathead one-cylinder engine was put lengthwise on the frame – this solution determined the use of a rear wheel drive by means of a torsion bar. A three-speed gearbox had an automobile type crank-guide similar to one used in BMW bikes. Mozharov gave this machine the NATI Izh-6 code probably because when working on test Izh motorcycles he hadn’t time to materialize this model.

The manufacturing of these machines was delegated to the workshops at the Izh Steelworks. At the same time, the Izh Steelworks got an order for manufacturing of five test baby cars NATI-2. In 1932, Mozharov and his coworkers went to Izhevsk where the manufacturing of the NATI-A-750 batch had started.

Participants of 1933 run on NATI-A-750

The first testing measurements of engines showed figures from 16 to 18 h.p. which satisfied the design input. In spring 1941, four sidecar motorcycles successfully completed the test run Izhevsk – Sarapul – Nizhny Novgorod – Moscow (however, due to the muddy season Izhevsk – Sarapul route was accomplished on the water).

It was planned that the mass production will start in Izhevsk concurrently with manufacturing & testing of 375 cc machines. But at the people’s commissariat that directed all these activities, another decision was made. L-300 was recommended for manufacturing in Izhevsk, and heavy motorcycles were supposed to be manufactured near Moscow at the Podolsk mechanical works.

Podolsky Mechanical Plant at the time when it belonged to the firm Zinger

The story of the Podolsk mechanical works started in 1900 when Singer (an American manufacturer of sewing machines) bought 30 arpents of land in Podolsk. Two years later, a big factory has grown, which has been manufacturing about 2500 of household sewing machines per day by 1913.

After the Revolution, the factory was nationalized and manufacturing was interrupted until 1923. First it was renamed into Gosshveimashina (State sewing machines) and then, in 1931, it has got the “Podolsk mechanical works” name. Sewing machines wasn’t only the products made by the Podolsk mechanical works. It manufactured an enhanced product selection including military-oriented articles.

Although the PMZ-A-750 is sometimes described as the “Harley-Davidson engine in the BMW frame” in fact, when designing its power unit, Mozharov paid tribute not only to Harley-Davidson, but to Indian too. On the cross-section, a purely Harley-Davidson’s scheme with four cams is clearly visible, but like in the early Indian, the PMZ engine transmission was provided by a gear, and the lubrication system was circulating.

This is the place where Peter Mozharov arrived to when he changed his workplace again. Ha was given a task to launch the manufacturing of motorcycles in Podolsk. It was a real tough task due to the fact the works didn’t have the pressure equipment, which was required for manufacturing of chassis parts. In February 1934, the first motorcycle was built. It wasn’t functional though, but it was assembled using only assemblies & parts made at the works. After, Peter Vladimirovich Mozharov took a relaxation and went to a holiday center where he died a month later under mysterious circumstances… So, the shift to mass production was completed without him.

Grigory Konstantinovich Ordzhonikidze

The manufacturing was set with great difficulties. Despite of funding difficulties, the first ten heavy motorcycles were produced by July 1934. They’ve got a new name: PMZ-A-750. Nine machines went before Sergo Ordzhonikidze (a people’s commissar). Once he discovered it’s planned to produce only 500 machines next year, he said that at least 1500 units must be produced.

PMZ-A-750 has been used in the Army, People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs and in the civil service. City people and country folk readily bought these machines. The bike design was durable & solid but highly finicky and not refined. Motorcyclists nicknamed this machine as “Come on! Try to start me!”. A lot of complaints made the works to discontinue the manufacturing by 1939. We can only guess now what it would’ve been like if Peter Mozharov hadn’t died so tragically. Maybe it would be a different luck for this bike?

ПМЗ-А-750 from the «Motorworld by V.Sheynov» collection


Manufacturer Podolsk Mechanical Works (PMZ)
Years of manufacture 1935-1939
Quantity produced, units 4 636
Price 7 760 rubles
Today’s value
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
Type V-twin
Engine capacity, cc 746
Bore and stroke, mm 70 х 97
Engine rating 15 hp at 3600 rpm
Sparking Battery
Carburetor 1, type MK-1
Battery 6 V
Clutch Multiple-plate, dry
Transmission 3-speed
FRAME AND WHEELBASE
Frame type Welded, duplex
Front suspension Spring, 8 plates with damper
Rear suspension Rigid
Brakes Drum type
Wheel size 4,00 х 19
DIMENSIONS
Length, mm
2 085
Width, mm
   890
Height, mm
   950
Wheelbase, mm
1 395
Ground clearance, mm
   115
Seat height, mm
   820*
Mass, kg
   206
Gas tank size, l
     18
Maximum speed, km/h
     95
Range, km

* – Data on the results of the measurement at the exhibit of “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov”.