Check Out The Weird And Wild Cars Of Soviet Russia


Photo: Wikipedia

Today, Russian automaker AvtoVAZ announced that it is discontinuing production of the iconic Lada Riva.In Russia, the Lada was symbolic as the car of the working man, the proletariat. It is one of the last links to an era that has passed.

Born in the early 70s off a Fiat 124 sedan, the Lada will be in production until the end of 2012. But it wasn’t the only car developed under Communist rule.

Before the Chinese car industry started to develop, the Soviet Union and Russia developed some of the weirdest cars on the road.

Without large sums of money to purchase cars and a lack of technology from the West, the Soviets needed to get creative with their car building techniques.

This is the AvtoVAZ Lada Classic, also known as the Lada Riva, or the eloquent VAZ-21073. It is basically a 1970s Fiat 124 with a heavier body, worse brakes, and less technology.

Lada also builds this SUV, the Niva. It was introduced in 1977 and is still on sale today.

Moskvitch built cars, like this 407, until 2002. Some models of the 400 series had nearly 50 horsepower!

LuAZ built small four-wheel drive vehicles, like this 969. They weren't particularly well made; Over 60 people were killed in LuAZ cars due to carbon monoxide leaks.

This is a 1972 Zaz 968 Zaporozhets owned by Vladimir Putin. This model has the 41 horsepower engine, but some were available with modifications to allow disabled people to drive. Those versions only had 27 horsepower.

SeAZ created this goofy VW Beetle lookalike, the SVA-M.

The UAZ 452 is a forward control van, with the driver seated over the front axle. Strange little van.

The RAF-2203 was built in Latvia. It was pretty much the Ford Transit Van of Russia...just slower.

Members of the upper class and Politburo were not found in the same cars as the proletariat.

The GAZ 13 Chaika was one car they were privy to. Powered by a big V8 and with tons of rear leg room, the Chaika was one of the kings of the road.

When Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule, the rear-engined Tatra 603 was another car that was reserved solely for the ruling classes.

If you saw a Zil 115 on the road, you knew it had a person of power inside. It was armour-plated and transported high-ranking officials.

Nowadays, Russia is quite a bit different. The Marussia B2 is one of their first supercars.

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