November 1953. Work begins on the Volga. Lead Project Designer – Alexander Nevzorov. Leo developed the design of the machine Eremeev.1954 year. Start of construction of prototypes. They were equipped with experimental verhneklapannym engine with hemispherical combustion chamber and the camshaft chain drive (it does not matter, he emerged and into mass production did not go) .1955 year. May 3rd started official testing of three samples of 'Volga' – with two automatic transmission and one with a manual.
Part of the test was run Moscow – Crimea and back. Immediately after the first tests were obtained permission to produce drawings and preparation for production. October 10, 1956. Issue the first three production models 'GAZ-21'. They were set up to 2.432 l bored pobedovsky nizhneklapanny engine with 65 hp This car is known as the '21B '.1957 per year. Staging 'GAZ-21' on the conveyor. Volga gets own engine – verhneklapanny, with a capacity of 70 hp (Before this was nizhneklapanny, bored to 2432 cc, power 65l.s. of GAZ-20 "Victory").
On the 'Volga' first in the domestic automotive industry has been commercially installed automatic transmission. But, because of the poor situation in the country with quality oils and high quality service, was released only 700 cars with "machine guns". In just two years the first generation of 21st issue was produced about 31 000 cars. 1958. Launch of Volga second-generation vertical 16tyu holes on the radiator. There were also modified the front direction indicators and bumpers. In the same year the Soviet Automobile exposure in the international exhibition was awarded the Brussels 'Grand Prix' .1962 per year.