The UAZ-452 is a family of off-road vans produced at the Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant (UAZ) since 1965. Its predecessor model UAZ-450 (produced between 1958-1966) was based on the chassis and engine of the GAZ-69 jeep, and was the first “forward control” vehicle of this type to be built in the Soviet Union and Russia.
Vehicles produced between 1965–1979 were equipped with old-style lights: turn signal lights were colorless (white), rear lights were round, and the back of the body was rounder. Subsequent post-1979 models got amber (yellow) signal lights, and rear lights were slightly bigger and rectangular.
In 1985 the van was upgraded and spun off into separate submodels: 39625, 3962, 3303, 3909 and 2206. The upgrade consisted of lighting fixtures that met modern international requirements, alarms, a new instrument panel, and a new speedometer. The brakes were redesigned. The engine was also upgraded, and its power output increased to 99 hp against the previous 78 hp.
In the early 2000s, the model was given new plastic side mirrors taken from the GAZ GAZelle van, headrests on front seats; and new passenger seats for a minibus version (2206) were also given headrests. The pickup truck (version 3303) was fitted with a metal body instead of a wooden one.
Because of the external similarities to a loaf of bread, the van became known as Буханка (bukhanka, loaf) in Russian. The ambulance version was nicknamed Таблетка (tabletka, a pill). The van is produced in several modifications, with the main difference being the body type (e.g. UAZ-3741 van (known as bukhanka), or the UAZ-3303 pickup truck, which is known as golovastik, tadpole).
The body of the van is normally equipped with two front doors, a single-wing door on the right side and a double-wing door at the rear, although the exact configuration can vary depending on the specific modification. Notable in the van are the fuel ports on the left and the right side of the van, leading to two separate fuel tanks.
The engine, placed between the driver and the passenger seats, was the same 75 hp (56 kW; 76 PS) 2,445 cc (149.2 cu in) UMZ 452MI inline four as the UAZ-469, and was able to run on gasoline of as low as 72 octane (76 was preferred).