The story of my GAZ
This is the advertising picture of the GAZ I found on the internet. At this stage I thought that I'm getting bulk standard soft top.
All original, side valve engine with the ignition system shielded against radio interference.
Incredibly low, genuine mileage. Forty years old and only 11.135 km – 6.919 miles from new!
The most important plate under the bonnet stating:
Ulianovskij Avtomobilnyj Zavod (Motor Factory Ulianovsk)
Model: GAZ-69-E68
Year of manufacture: 1971
Engine number: 914709
Chassis number: 641209
Made in USSR
 
634.256 of 69s were built, but there were also UAZ vans and trucks made on the same chassis, that's probably why the chassis number is greater. Anyway, this is one of the very last off the line. The production was halted in 1972.
Original, Polish tyres 'Stomil'.
My GAZ is fitted with very rare wooden hard-top called OREL-1M (Eagle-1M). It is the genuine Russian top built for the army.
As I was told when I bought it the vehicles fitted with this kind of hard-tops served as radio-trucks or, like mine, mobile battery charging stations. A sort of 'jump-pack' on wheels. Unfortunately all the equipment was removed before the vehicle was decommissioned. Only the sad remains were left and I had to removed them.
Another view of the inside of my GAZ and the truth about it's intended duties.
 
The true purpose of the GAZ with this kind of hardtop was very different to the explanation I was given. It was designed for the intelligence service (the KGB) as a radio scanner. Equipped with 'radio transparent' wooden top, covered with regular canvas for camouflage, even little blinds in the back windows it could drive without looking 'suspicious'. The whole apparatus, including the antenna was hidden inside.
The production started in 1968 and it is estimated that no more than 10 were built every year.


More details here
GAZ 69 Orel-1 dashboard.

A hole in the dashboard. None of the GAZ-es I have seen had one. Apparently the clock from the BRDM fits there.
This mistery in now solved. See below.
The first service.
Registered in the UK.
The winter stopped me from doing anything to my GAZ.
In August 2011 my unique GAZ 69 Orel-1 won the prize for the most interesting vehicle in the club for the year.
In August the GAZ received stylish black number plates.
Another prize for the best military vehicle.
April 2012
With this kind of forest in the background the GAZ look almost like back in Poland.
April 2014.
After three years it was time for a change. The wooden roof started to deform which made it almost impossible to close the driver's door. The canvas shrunk and split in many places. I really struggled in choosing between trying to rescue my unique "Orel" or to install a standard soft top instead. The decission wasn't easy. I aquired the hard top by accident and never really liked it. Driving wasn't very pleasent - the wooden roof acted like a resonator. On hot days it was hot and stuffy. Unable to even open a window I always was a bit cut off the outside world.
Bye bye nasty spy. It's time for joy ride!

 
The work extended to refreshing the paintwork. The GAZ had needed it for long time. Many layers of paint started to flake and I had even noticed some rust around the rear wheel arches. Rear only for now. The rest will have to wait till winter.
A brand new, very good quality canvas top imported from the Czech Republic.
And here is final effect. Still needs some work done but I have acheived my goal.
This was a problem I had from the very beginning. The distributor was seized in the cylinder block. It was imposible to prcisely adjust the timing.
It didn't go easy. We had to destroy it and replace with new one.
At last! Stylish, round rear lights as it should be. All legal with amber indicators and a new, off road tyres.
Transformatioms from a spy to a warrior is complete.
A new clock to fit the mysterious hole in the dashboard fitted in July 2015.
 The story of my GAZ