GAZ-24 was developed to replace outdated Volga GAZ-21 developed in 1950s. New Volga had a longer wheelbase (2800 mm) then the GAZ-21 (2700 mm), but slightly shorter overall length (4735 mm compared to 4810) and was substantially lower (1490 mm compared to 1620). Width remained untouched. Long wheelbase, boxier styling, bucket seats with lower bases and flat roof made the new Volga generously sized inside, with comfortable 5...6-passenger seating. The car was designed to last for years in severe road conditions, and its reinforced unibody construction gave the Volga extra weight if compared to foreign analogs.
Standard engine was aluminium 2445 cc inline-four, OHV, high-compression ZMZ-24D producing 95 hp@4500 rpm [106,5 SAE hp] with one 2bbl carburetor. Only 4-speed manual transmission with floor-mounted shifter was offered.
GAZ-21 trim lines ("standard" and "improved") were dropped, all GAZ-24 Volgas had similar trim. No specific options or extras were listed, but standard equipment included self-adjusting power drum brakes with front/rear split brake system, 3-wave radio with power antenna, interior safety padding, central armrests (both front and rear), alternator, 3-speed windshield wiper and foot-operated windshield washer, heater with defroster, rear window defogger, electric clock, trunk and engine compartment lights. Early cars had very interesting Lincoln-type speedometer . Interior was available in 3 different colours - red, brown or light gray, it was not color-coded. Dashboard was made of aluminium and painted in exterior color, upper part was covered with safety padding and black vinyl.
Volga's styling was rather conventional and surely American inspired. Some features were thematically quite similar to those on GAZ-21 such as vertical tail lights, so called "baleen plates" grille, tiny fins on rear fenders. One of the most recognizable feature of GAZ-24 Volga sedan styling are chromed rhombic vents on C-pillar. Among another distinctive features can be mentioned dashboard handles with "ivory" plastic inserts, two chromed "fangs" under front bumper, large two spoke steering wheel and large chromed parking brake handle placed under the dashboard in the right.