My story with a Fiat 124 is extensively well-documented here. Funnily enough, my mother–who adored that car and cherished it with her life–absolutely loathed the Lada. I’m guessing that the Russification of the thing had something to do with it, but if you don’t have such biases and are completely insane then I may have found something that may be worth taking a look at.
Yes, for a limited time only on eBay you too can drive the very car communist Russia drove. Somehow, this 1988 Lada Signet (The Canadian name for the 2105/Riva) has survived its 27-year life with only 32,378 km on the clock. That works out to an average of roughly 1200 km (800 miles) a year and, according to the listing it’s “One-owner and garaged in a heated garage since new”, which means it must be one of the luckiest Ladas in the world.
Really, this car has “Senior Citizen’s last car” written all over it: something relatively large that won’t make the ‘ol pension suffer much, but had a warranty and was good enough to take to the grocery store, church and the occasional meet with the grandkids. It’s a red 1988 Signet with a black vinyl interior. Power is provided by a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 64 Horsepower, mated to a four-speed manual gearbox. Its equipment includes windows, door locks and crucially, no horrible vent windows. It even has the original toolkit, owner’s manuals and a jack that’s never been used.
Which brings me neatly to the downsides, for one the seller actually makes a big deal out of “tires are factory-original”, which I’m guessing sounded brilliant when he was writing the ad, but to people into weird cars (who else is going to be looking for a pristine Lada?) it means that you should probably get some new tires before you try and drive anything more than two miles or carry anything heavier than a small tin of Danish cookies. You may also want to check absolutely everything rubbery for signs of dry rot. But the biggest two downsides are location (If it really is in Wheeling, IL, then why is the seller making such a fuss about it being “ready to go in USA”) and the price. I know it’s the best Lada out there, but could you live with yourself for the rest of your days knowing you were they guy that paid $20,000 for a Lada? I know I wouldn’t. Still, if you want to take complete leave of your senses and your money, the listing is here. If you want my advice you should try and import a Fiat 124. It’ll be better for lots of subjective reasons.
There are several of these Fiat 125 not 124 shape ladas still roaming wild here but of course Napier still has a Lada parts dealer so that may help, one thing is sure though surviving Lada 2105/Rivas outnumber surviving 125 Fiats here.
These were based on the 124, the larger 125 was license-built in several parts of the world (with the most “famous” copy being the Polski Fiat 125p) but never in Russia.
So all those 125 copies we got from Russia along with Belarus tractors in exchange for butter are a myth? really, you might want to check on that. The 124 based model never came here.
nope. no such thing as a 125 based Lada. not in NZ. not anywhere. Even a 2107 Riva with the brougham grille is a 124 under the re-profiled sheet metal. There’s one 2105 for sale locally though for $6500. The “mayoral car of Greymouth” : http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/fiat/auction-744236203.htm
I met two years ago a serious Dutch specialized Lada parts distribution company on an expo in Germany. They are exporting russian parts all over the world…
20 grand? Crack pipe.
$20,000 ? Surely, this is a typo and they meant TWO thousand.
There’s still something I like about the 124/Lada, so purposeful, so charming.
Unfortunately Ladas in Canada were like a brush fire, everywhere all at once, then gone.
I can’t say there’s too many zeroes here, but if you divide the price by 2 sounds about right.
I’m thinking $7 – $8,000.. absolute tops.
I like the analogy of the brush fire because I believe you are correct. They arrived on the market, you saw them on the streets and then–poof, gone. I’m sure many disintegrated very quickly down east. Not so much here in the west.
But they all seem to be gone now.
Once a common sight in the UK.For many years it was the cheapest new car in the UK.If you could put up with the jokes and fix it yourself they weren’t a bad car and many were used as taxis.Ages since I saw one,the rust monster saw most off over here a long time ago.
My neighbors wife had one of these when it was new. He always jokingly referred to it as being the KGB Edition. Actually it wasn’t bad for a cheap car. It always started on the coldest days and they told be it had warmer heat than their LTD wagon.
It’s true. Heating was far too good in it. But on icy roads the lada was very drifty and dangerous as it is an rwd. In India the Premier Automobiles Ltd. manufactured it as 118 NE. In Spain it was Seat 124 and in Turkey it was Tofas Serce.
Something wrong with the phrase – like Italian discipline, German charm or Scandinavian humor.
There were tons of Lada’s on the road in Chile when I was there in the mid-90s.
If I’m going to drop $20k on any Lada it’ll be a Niva. And $20k should get me more than one!
Previously, on ‘The Americans’……
There you go.
The only appropriate place for this turkey is on a period correct TV scene. Paint it black, drop it in a snowy locale and 90% of Americans will swear its Russia in the 1980s.
I don’t know. I’ll bet it still sells for a big-ish sum. Someone who’s traveled abroad and admired the simplicity of third world transportation (and has plenty of disposable income) might snatch this up.
These are everywhere in Peru and seem to hold up pretty well. I wouldn’t pay more than $5k for a nice one but it would make a cool conversation piece.
The 2105s are far more durable than the 125 from Fiat.
The background doesn’t look Illinois at all, it looks more communism.
According to the road sign, the pics are taken in Hungary 🙂 These were imported there until the moments of eco-rules implementations banned the carburated non-catalyitic gas engines. The model was marked as 2105.
Cool car, but 20k?
Back in the days at around late ’80’s IT had been an affordable solution as a roomy 4 door family car. Later during the ’90’s village folks liked the 5 door station wagon for the purposes of transporting the groceries/fruits to the market squares and usually familyarly visited churches during those lazy sunday mornings…
In the ’70s, I was doing consulting in Algeria and a Ladaized Fiat was my assigned vehicle with a driver. I had enough of the , uh, timid style and took over the chores. I had rented a 124 Fiat in Trieste a few years before, so I was really disappointed with the “improvements” that turned it into a Lada, namely 4 on the tree tranny and steering lifted from a ’52 Chevy. No wonder we won!
I remember a few boozy rides home in Lada taxis in Liverpool (Rock Ferry) in the 1990’s they came outta the woodwork when the pubs closed
I lived in Panama for a few years in the mid 90’s and these things were pretty common as Taxi’s in Panama City. It seemed that they had a couple of things going for them in that role: they were the cheapest thing on the market; they were ‘fix-with-a-brick’ mechanically simple; and parts were interchangeable regardless of the year of the car. That was a big deal since there was no waiting for parts (or no more than waiting for the sun to go down). I rode in more than a few of them. For what they were being used for, I thought them adequate but crude. I never imagined anybody who had a choice buying one though. . I always wanted to try out a little 4WD Niva, but never got the chance. They were around, but not so common as the Lada’s. I’m sure they’re all long gone now, and I would have trouble believing you could get anyone who actually owned either a Lada or a Niva to give you money for the car in this article, no matter how good the condition.
I have seen one Lada in the US, about 30 years ago. It had BC (Canada) plates.
Pretty amazing to have survived so long so clean .
I too would rather have a Niva but this thing looks interesting and were it another beater I’da given it a go .
Who ever said vent wings (AKA ‘ No Drafts ‘) were awful ? they vastly improve ventilation and defrosting…..
A school-friend’s parents bought the wagon version new in 1987. Quite pretty in baby blue, but quite an odd change from their previous car – a bordelloesque-trimmed 1980 Datsun 260C. They were practical people though, and the Lada was certainly a practical car. Still see the odd sedan or wagon around (most recently two days ago).
A lot of the Lada sedans/wagons that turn up for sale here on trademe have similarly low milage as the feature car – due to being primarily bought new by senior citizens who kept them for years whilst barely using them. Mind you, even low milage ones here aren’t expensive – the ex-mayoral one that KiwiAlistair linked to above has 37,500km and is NZ$6,500. Many would say that’s still too much lol!
These can only be understood in the context of outback/poor man’s Russia, where your nearest VW/Honda/Whatever Western workshop is 500 miles away, so that when the electronic gyzmos die, the car becomes immobile for a long time (and you cannot afford the bills anyway). In fact, in the more inhospitable parts of that vast land, if the electronics die, you probably will die too (particulalry during the winter). They break down but can be repaired by yourself or the vilage fool. You just plan ahead and carry basic spares and tools in the car. Really they are not unlike 30 to 40s cars in this respect. Were I to live in a remote part of the Russian Federation I would own nothing else (OK, I need a bit of luxury so I would go for a Volga). Oh, they need not be boring: people modify them to make very entartaining budget sport sedans:
A Fiat screwed together by a workforce of hardcore alcoholics with job security.
“World’s Finest Lada” is a distinction roughly on a par with “World’s Prettiest Warthog.”
I’m sure after consuming a year’s supply of Vodka this thing makes sense.