RAF Riga Autobus Factory Latvia

Riga Autobus Factory

Logo of RAF

RAF-logoRAF logo

RAF-977frontErAZ 762VGP, basing upon RAF-977 minibus

Latvija RAFRAF-2203 Latvija

RAF-22031-01-5382 AmbulanciaRAF-22031-01 ambulance

1980 RAF-2907 (2203) for MoscowRAF-2907 – special car for Summer Olympic in Moscow

The Riga Autobus Factory (Latvian: Rīgas Autobusu Fabrika, Russian: Рижская Автобусная Фабрика) (abbreviated RAF) was a factory in JelgavaLatvia, making vans and minibuses under the brand name Latvija.

History

During the Soviet period, RAF and UAZ were the only producers of vans and minibuses in Soviet Union. RAF vans and minibuses were used only by state enterprises, most often as ambulances and for public transit. Private persons were not allowed to own them, the only exception being for families with at least five children.

In 1949 the factory began producing van bodies on the site of the Riga auto repair factory №2 (commonly known as RARZ). In 1955, it was renamed the Riga Experimental Bus Factory (Latvian: Rīgas eksperimentālā autobusu fabrika, Russian: Рижский Опытный Автобусный Завод), and the products started to be abbreviated to RAF. It would become the main Soviet producer of minibuses.

1955 RAF 251 1955-58 RAF 251 29p USSR 1955-58 RAF 251 1956 RAF-251. The Riga Autobus Factory 1957 RAF-251. The Riga Autobus Factory

1955-58-raf-251

RAF’s first product was the RAF-251, a 22-seat local bus, based on the GAZ-51 chassis (which RAF also built), with a wood and metal body. There was also a passenger- and freight version (Kombi), the 251T, with a payload of 14 passengers and 800 kg (1,800 lb) cargo.

From 1958, the factory started to produce RAF-977 minibuses, based on GAZ-21 Volga engine (between the front seats, rather like the Dodge A100; the engine was accessible through an inside hatch), transmission, axles, and steering. It was planned to produce passenger (“route taxis” for airports, and for sporting teams), freight, mail, and ambulance versions of the vehicle, to replace the modified estates then in use. Drawing inspiration from the VW Type 2, it had a front-mounted water-cooled 2,445 cc (149.2 cu in) engine (based on the Volga’s, with a lower compression ratio), and seated ten. It debuted in 1957, and ten were built for display at that year’s Moscow Youth Festival, leading to a proposed name Festival. The first batch was produced in 1959, under the new RAF 977 name. It got 13 L/100 km (18 mpg-US; 22 mpg-imp) and could reach 62 mph (100 km/h). Most were hand-built.

1957 Raf-08 Spriditis & 1957 Raf 977 Latvia 1957-61 RAF 977 1961 RAF-977 1961-68 RAF Latvija 977 a 1961-68 RAF Latvija 977 1964 Raf 977 1966 Raf 977t 1968 RAF 977DM Latvia 1968 RAF 977DM 1969 RAF 977 Latvia-series full-line 1969 RAF 977DM Latvia 1969 RAF 977DM 1969 RAF 977IM 1969-76 RAF 977 1969-1976 RAF 977b 1970 RAF 977EM RAF 977 Riga RAF-977 Latvija

1957-76 RAF 977

In 1965, RAF proposed two prototypes, with the hope of persuading Minavtoprom to finance a new factory: a conventional version, comparable to the Ford Transit (dubbed the RAF 962-I), or a forward control version, similar to the Renault Estafette (dubbed the 962-II). RAF management, in a rare move for a Soviet company, created two competing teams to individually design a new van. The conventional 962-I was selected, which seemed less likely to provide the money for an all-new facility. So RAF tried to persuad the selection committee to adopt the more radical 962-II, and did.

A one-tonne variant was based on a modernized 977D chassis. However, the factory size was not large enough to put this model into mass production, and therefore it was moved to ErAZ (Yerevan, Armenia).

Construction of a new factory in Jelgava (to build the new 962-II, now known as the RAF-2203 Latvia) was begun 25 July 1969, and finished in February 1976. It was designed to produce 17,000 vehicles per year. The factory produced several versions of the RAF-2203.

By the beginning of the 1990s, the RAF-2203 was completely outdated and the factory set about designing a new model. The original plan was to build a new RAF vehicle to be called the “Roksana”, designed with help from the British consultancy International Automotive Developments. The model was successfully displayed at several auto salons, but never got further than a prototype. The same thing happened to the front-wheel drive “Style” microbus.

After the collapse of the USSR, the new borders broke the supply chains and production fell drastically. An investment proposal came from the Russian GAZ company but it was rejected by the Latvian government which considered Russian capital a threat to Latvian independence. Although some Western and East Asian investors also showed their interest in RAF, all of them considered this investment too risky as the local market was too small to support large production and the Russian market was virtually closed due to the complicated political relationship of Russia and Latvia.

In 1997, the last batch of 13-seat RAF-22039s was released. Ironically, the last automobile produced by the dying giant was a RAF-3311 hearse.

1975-94 RAF 2203 12 seats 1976 RAF 2203 TAXI 1976-82 RAF 22031 1976-1982 RAF 22031 a 1987-97 RAF 2203 1987-97 RAF 2203a 1988 RAF 2203 Fontauto 1995 РАФ 22038 1995 Microbus RAF-22038 hearse Paz-672--amp--Raf-22038 RAF 2203 LatvijaCuba RAF 2203 RAF 22038 Hearse RAF 22038 Латвия Hearse RAF-22031-01-5382 Ambulancia RAF-22038 corola 2 Hearse RAF-22038-01 Hearse RAF-22039 3 Taxi RAF-22039 Taxi RAF-33028-1

RAF 2203 TAXI’s – AMBULANCE’s – HEARSES

In 1998, RAF went bankrupt. The only part of the company that survived was RAF-Avia, a charter airline set up using the four airplanes owned by the plant. The 120,000 m2 (1,300,000 sq ft) manufacturing site, complete with machinery, is owned by JSC Balitva. They considered selling it to a western auto maker, but this proved unrealistic. As of 2002, the assembly shop was still in order and all the design documents existed, so production could be started again if there should be a need. ErAZ expressed interest, but probably only for the designs.

Models

  • RAF-251GAZ-51 based bus (1955–1958)
  • RAF-08 – 8-passenger prototype bus (1957)
  • RAF-10GAZ-M20 based 9-11-passenger bus (1957–1959)
  • RAF-977 Latvija – GAZ-21 based 10-passenger van/bus/ambulance/taxi (1959–1976). Also made in D, DM and IM models.
  • RAF-2203 Latvija – 4×2 4dr van (1976—1997)
    • RAF-2203 Latvija (delivery) – 4×2 4dr delivery van
    • RAF-2203 Latvija (cardiology) – 4×2 4dr cardiac ambulance
    • RAF-2203 Latvija (fire) – 4×2 4dr fire minivan
    • RAF-2203 Latvija GAI – 4×2 4dr police van
    • RAF-2203 Latvija (mail) – 4×2 4dr mail van
    • RAF-2203 Latvija (taxi) – 4×2 4dr taxi van
    • RAF-2203 Latvija VAI – 4×2 4dr military police van
    • RAF-22031 Latvija – 4×2 4dr ambulance
    • RAF-2907 – special car for Summer Olympic in Moscow
    • RAF-2914 – 4×2 ambulance van
    • RAF-3311 Latvija – 4×2 pickup on RAF-2203 chassis
    • RAF-33111 Latvija – 4×2 light truck on RAF-2203 chassis
    • RAF Latvija – collector – 4×2 cash collector on RAF-2203 chassis
    • RAF Latvija – tourist van, motor home

1955 RAF 251 1955-58 RAF 251 29p USSR 1955-58 RAF 251 1956 Raf 251 1956 RAF-251. The Riga Autobus Factory 1957 RAF 10 9s 4x2 1957 RAF 10 a 9s 4x2 1957 RAF 10 b 9s 4x2 1957 Raf-08 Spriditis & 1957 Raf 977 Latvia 1957 RAF-251. The Riga Autobus Factory 1957-61 RAF 977 1959-62 RAF RIGA 980-979 1961 RAF-977 1961-68 RAF Latvija 977 a 1961-68 RAF Latvija 977 1964 Raf 977 1966 Raf 977t 1967 RAF 982 I 1968 RAF 977DM Latvia 1968 RAF 977DM 1969 RAF 977 Latvia-series full-line 1969 RAF 977DM 1969 RAF 977DMa 1969 RAF 977IM 1969 RAF 982 II 1969-76 RAF 977 1969-1976 RAF 977b 1970 RAF 977EM 1973-82 ГАЗ-РАФ 13 1975-94 RAF 2203 12 seats 1976 RAF 2203 TAXI 1976-82 RAF 22031 1976-1982 RAF 22031 a 1980 RAF-2907 (2203) for Moscow 1987-97 RAF 2203 1987-97 RAF 2203a 1988 RAF 2203 Fontauto 1989-94 RAF 2914 1989-94 RAF 2914-5 1990-  RAF I 1993-  RAF M2 1995 РАФ 22038 1995 Elektromobilis RAF-2210 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA GAZ14 RAF3920 Latvija RAF Logo of RAF Microbus RAF-22038 hearse Paz-672--amp--Raf-22038 RAF (USSR) Raf 251 museum viljandimaa RAF 977 Riga RAF 2203 LatvijaCuba RAF 2203 RAF 22038 Hearse RAF 22038 Латвия Hearse RAF logo Latvia raf mikro 7 Raf y8i10 RAF-8 prototype 8s 4x2 USSR RAF-8 Studio nailgun3d RAF-10 Festival RAF-977 Latvija RAF-977front RAF-22031-01-5382 Ambulancia RAF-22038 corola 2 Hearse RAF-22038-01 Hearse RAF-22039 3 Taxi RAF-22039 Taxi RAF-33028-1 RAF-GAZ 13 S Chaika RAF-logo XWIN_VVUdGg Х 934 СТ 93, RAF 22038 Латвия Hearse

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Author: Jeroen

In Dutch, my homelanguage: Ik ben Jeroen, tot januari 2015 was ik al dik 26 jaar werkzaam in een psychiatrisch ziekenhuis in een stad vlakbij Werelds grootste havenstad Rotterdam. Eerst als verpleegkundige/begeleider op high care, later op afdeling dubbeldiagnose (verslavingen) en ook nog een tijdje als administratief medewerker. Ik heb een spierziekte "Poli Myositis" (alle spieren zijn ontstoken) daardoor weinig energie. Sinds augustus 2015 is daarbij de diagnose Kanker gesteld, en ben ik helemaal arbeidsongeschikt geworden en zit middenin de behandelfase. Gelukkig ben ik daarnaast getrouwd, vader, en opa, en heb de nodige hobby's. Een daarvan is transportmiddelen verzamelen en daarmee een blog schrijven. Dit blog begon met bussen, maar nu komen ook sleepboten, auto's trucks en dergelijke aan bod. Kijk en geniet met me mee, reageer, en vul gerust aan. Fouten zal ik ook graag verbeteren. In English: I'm Jeroen, till januari 2015 I was already 26 years working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, near Rotterdam, Worlds biggest harbour with more than 98 nationalities living within it's borders. First I worked on closed high care ward and the last years on a ward with mainly addicted people. I liked my work very much. In 2007 I got ill. I got the diagnose Poli Myositis, a musscle dissease. Al my mussles are inflamed. And last august I got another diagnose. Cancer. It's plaveicelcel carcinoma and treated with Chemo and radioation. So I've even less energy than the last years. Still I try to make something of my life and the blog is helping with surviving with some pleasure.

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