A wonder of Estonian machine industry on display at the Highway Museum

Tuesday marked a momentous day for mechanical history buffs in Estonia as the Highway Museum (Maanteemuuseum) in Põlva County took delivery of renowned designer Arnold Volberg's fully restored fabled V-1 road grader.

Only 122 of these vehicles were manufactured at the Paide road machinery factory, while not a single original V-1 has survived. The Soviet Union's first self-propelled road grader was restored based on the original designs at Silver Maidla's metal shop in Põltsamaa.

It took almost four years to restore the 1948 grader. Maidla said that preparing the frame was the biggest challenge, whereas it had to be bolted together as welding was not a widespread technique 75 years ago.

"Only the engine, front axel, gearbox and rear axle, which has been cut into pieces and put back together to fit this particular one, are originals," Maidla said.

Around ten old machinery enthusiast from different parts of Estonia took part in restoring the grader. The plan was first proposed by Raimo Unt. Tallinn resident Tõnis Pappel sourced and fixed up the engine and all necessary pieces of assembly.

"Because they were off an old GAZ AA truck, we could find spare parts, even though they were in poor shape," Pappel said.

The Highway Museum's chief treasurer Rain Rikas described the V-1 road grader as a completely unique piece of machinery.

"It was not just the first self-propelled road grader in Estonia but the entire Soviet Union. It was rare by the standards of the time courtesy of its hydraulically operated parts. The second model of Soviet road grader went into production in 1949," Rikas said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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