The Krastin Automobile Company was founded 2 years before Ford, in 1901. It was the brainchild of Latvian-born engineer and inventor Augusts Krastiņš. The Cleveland, Ohio factory burned down in 1904, and the company folded shortly after. This is the only known survivor of the 10 or so that were built.
The RAF-976 was in production from 1959 to 1991. It was based on the GAZ-51 truck chassis. The body is made of wood, tin, cardboard and plywood which, as you can probably guess, didn't last too long in Northeast Europe.
This unique vehicle is a REAF-50. It was a prototype using local and other Soviet parts. It never made it past the prototype stage as Moscow rejected it due to poor performance, poor fuel economy and difficult maintenance.
This is an RAF-2907, a van based on the RAF-2203 Latvijas. These vans were built in Latvia and used throughout the Soviet Union. You can see several in the HBO series Chernobyl since they were a common sight in the 1980s.
The Ford-Vairogs company built Ford-licensed vehicles in Riga in the late 30s before it was taken over by the Soviet government. This is the Junior de Luxe, based on the British Ford Prefect. This example was one of the first vehicles restored and displayed at the museum.
Two early front-wheel-drive vehicles. On the right is a DKW F8. All F8s had two-cylinder, two-stroke engines. The 0.6-liter version in this car produced 18 hp. On the left is an Audi Front, the first European car to have a 6-cylinder engine driving the front wheels.
On the top floor is a mix of Soviet and, as seen here, decidedly not Soviet vehicles. On the right is a Simca 5, which is essentially a French-built Fiat 500 Topolino. Next to that, a Steyr Puch 500D, an Austrian-built Fiat 500.
This 1969 Saab 96 has a V4 engine, which is rare, and a freewheel clutch design, which is rarer still. That meant that no engine braking was possible, like when going down a hill. This was a carry-over from when it had a 2-stroke engine and such a device was necessary so the engine wouldn't run out of oil.
Some high speed experimental/research vehicles. That's an ARVW on the right, which was the fastest diesel car in the world in 1980. Behind is the Pioneer 2M, a turbine-powered Soviet land speed record car from the 60s. On the left, with bullet-shaped sidecar, is the Latvian-built EKE-1 that held several Soviet speed records in the '50s.
One of only 2 ZIL-112 Sports built, it shared many parts with some of its '60s Soviet contemporaries, like the ZIS-110 and GAZ Volga sedans (both of which you'll see in a moment). This example was powered by a modified 6.0-liter V8 that developed 230 hp.
The OSCar 01 raced and finished the 2004 Dakar Rally. It was designed and built in Latvia, and used a mix of fabricated and off-the-shelf parts. The windshield, for example, is from a Ford Focus. The engine is a 4-liter, 286-hp BMW V8.
This is a French Amilcar CGS, once owned by a Latvian race driver. With it he raced in the 1935 Monte Carlo Rally. It was found in a barn in Poland in the 70s and restored. The 1.1-liter inline-4 generated 30 hp.
This is a ZIS-155, an armored version of the 110. In the long nose is a 6-liter inline-8 that drives the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission. A creepy Stalin sits in the back of what was once one of his actual limos.
If this looks like a knock-off '50s American sedan, you're not wrong. The GAZ-13 was in production from 1959 to 1981 and featured a 195 horsepower V8 that had to lug around a 4,630 pound (2,100 kg) vehicle.
The mid-60s Politburo-only ZIL-111G offered features not found in mainstream Soviet vehicles of the era, like power windows, air conditioning, and an automatic transmission. It weighed a massive 6,206 pounds and was powered by a 200-hp, 6.0-liter V8.
A GAZ-M1 Emka from the late '30s and early '40s. Over 60,000 were produced, making it a very popular vehicle of the era in the Soviet Union. Behind is a GAZ-12 ZIM, one of the few higher-end vehicles sold to regular citizens.
This ZIS-110B, ostensibly a reverse-engineered Packard from the era, had an interesting exhibit. You could get yourself photographed at a nearby stand, and the video in the background would show you in the car on parade.
The GAZ-M20 was a popular post-war sedan and convertible. This example features the 52-hp, 2.1-liter inline-4. Behind is a GAZ Volga, which replaced the M20 and was made, with many updates, until 2010.
The Moskvitch 408 was a successful sedan, station wagon, and van, built from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s. It sold well within the Soviet Union, and rare for the cars we've seen here, was also widely exported throughout Europe.