The M-408, the first of the series, replaced the second generation Moskvitch 407 as the main production model; it had a longer wheelbase than the 407. Design work started in 1959, and the first prototype appeared in March 1961. The first production 408 was built 1 August 1964, and the 408 was given its official debut 21 October. First marketed body styles of the main version were a four-door saloon (base), five-door estate (the model M-426, an upgrade of second generation M-423 and 424), and a three-door sedan delivery (the M-433, an upgrade of the second generation 432 delivery pick-up). The rear end design of the pre-facelift models were copied from the rear end of the BMW 700, while the bonnet was hinged in front.