View Full Version : Eastern bloc cars
8th Aug 2005, 03:22
Ok im just going to outright say that I have a thing for eastern
bloc cars....yea you heard me.....Lada,Dacia,Moskovitch....mmmmm....Moskovitch.
Its kinda embarrassing to admit.....
you give me a 1978 Moskovitch with its 1950's looks, its horrible fuel consumption and horrid fuel stench and im in heaven..
now the question I pose to you is....
Does anyone else here have a softspot for the above mentioned automobiles..is something wrong with me...does anyone in North America own one?
ive said too much
8th Aug 2005, 03:28
No, but saw an white XK150 purring down the road today. That was 1950 in style.
8th Aug 2005, 04:09
The XK was fine when it purred but it were a heavy bugger to push.
8th Aug 2005, 04:20
I had occasion to spend some time in East Berlin in the early 70's (though I slept on the western side of the wall). I was fascinated by the Trabants, and would love to have one - ISTR a guy in Scotland had an orchard full of them, and got into strife with his neighbours and the council - he should start building a wall......:ooh:
8th Aug 2005, 06:51
Does anyone else here have a softspot for the above mentioned automobiles
8th Aug 2005, 06:58
Quite like the look of the Harley Replica type motorbike, although I have never ridden one, I have read about a russian Limo called a Zil...what do they look like??
8th Aug 2005, 07:17
The police patrols in Cuba (thatís close enough to North America isnít it?) still use Ladaís. I understand that the brakes are pretty much useless so I think the only "soft spot" which they may have in mind for it would be a bog somewhere! I have driven a Trabant and the canvas deckchair type seating and lack of anything non essential together with a huge nut securing the steering wheel just waiting to embed itself into the drivers chest, make this car most unappealing!
8th Aug 2005, 09:02
In the Soviet days a man went to his car dealer (Lada, Lada, or Lada) to place an order. He paid over the required 50% deposit and asked when the car would be delivered. "In nine years seven months and two days comrade" came the reply. "Will that be in the morning or the afternoon, comrade?".
"Why does that matter, when you are looking at a nine-year wait?"
"Well, you see, I've got the plumber coming in the morning."
8th Aug 2005, 09:14
Aaah russian cars... back in the last century, when I was a wee lad, my best friends dad had an auto dealership selling Ladas...
And every year after harvest, we would get hold of a couple of old wrecks, and smash them up even more on the fields. :p
A good "down to earth" engineering, so you could fix most problems with a hammer. And good fun.
My dad bought a Polonez, or Polski Fiat... Utter Cr@<hidden>, and unfortunably he bought it at the time I got my drivers license.
He did not have me begging for the car on a saturday night. :rolleyes:
8th Aug 2005, 09:22
My dad bought a Polonez, or Polski Fiat
Well, considering a mere 180% import tax plus 25% GST on cars in Denmark, your dad's choice makes sense, doesn't it...
8th Aug 2005, 09:23
Remember a mate trying to start his Moskvitch one damp morning in Moscow. Opened the bonnet to reveal sundry blue sparks running along the outside of the plug/HT leads at random. "Very advanced, just like Tron", he said. Wiper blades had a habit of either parking vertically or coming off and flying into traffic.
8th Aug 2005, 10:00
What about the Lada Niva? Not madly comfortable, but if you wanted a small 4 wheel drive that was built from old angle iron, would go anywhere and was reliable (or at least easily fixable), quite a few farmers would vote with you. Dunno if they sold them in the US of A.....
As far as real cars are concerned, I was in a Zil in Talinn - I think it was the Radisson there has one, and the old Czech Tatras with air cooled V8s (but in the back of the car!) would probably be of more interest to Americans, by all accounts it was a decent set of wheels.
8th Aug 2005, 10:02
I spent some months in St. Petersburg a couple of years ago. The taxis were predominantly Ladas (as you'd expect) or Volgas - looked a bit like a 1950s Volvo. From the condition of most of them, maybe earlier! They were cheap though, we were told $8000 brand new.
Production ceased whilst I was in Russia (not because of me, honestly).
8th Aug 2005, 12:06
I was at a drinks party in (then) Leningrad, with lots of young Russian business types in terrible suits - and many had, bizarely, a pair of Lada windscreen wipers sticking out of their jacket pockets and waving alongside their ears, making them look like the Cadbury's Smash TV ad martians. Apparently there was a national wiper shortage, and if you left them on the car they would be gone in minutes.
And if you couldn't afford a Lada but wanted to impress the ladies, all you needed were the wipers...
8th Aug 2005, 12:25
True GV, I'd forgot that aspect. Another weirdness in Soviet Moscow was the traffic cops would stop speeders and remove the back number plate which was returned when you paid the fine at the police station. If the back plate was already impounded, then they'd take the front plate too and effectively ground the driver until both sets of fines were paid. Russian driver solution? Nick someone else's plates. So, to avoid having their plates pinched, folk would take the plates off and carry them round in a plastic bag. Crazy country!
8th Aug 2005, 12:26
My dad had a moskovitch back in the 60's.
Touch the brakes and you went through the windscreen.
8th Aug 2005, 12:44
I remember driving along the A2 autobahn near Hannover on 11th Nov 1989. It was the day after the Wall came down and every other car was a Trabant filled with very happy East Germans coming to visit their family members from the West. The West Germans were throwing flowers from bridges...all in all it was an amazing day and one of those moments when you realised you were playing witness to a historical event.
Fans of the rock group U2 might have seen them in concert on their Zoo TV tour in the early 90s. The stage set was one of the most impressive things I've ever seen, especially when they lowered a couple of Trabants down headlights first and rocking in time to the beat...excellent stuff!!
8th Aug 2005, 13:14
cyclicmicky More than you want to know aboutZil (http://www.ukcar.com/history/ZIL/)
The bikes were probably Dniepers, more a copy of early BMW though.
8th Aug 2005, 14:46
Nothing wrong with the Polski Fiat, I have a mate who is a private taxi car owner/driver and still swears by it more than at it! I'l have you know that it ranks as one of the more modern cars used in the Cuban transport system!
8th Aug 2005, 15:35
Great responses gentlemen...i brought this topic up because of the lack of autmobile diversity here in the U.S...here its either GM or BMW which maybe in some way is a part of GM but I digress...someone had mentioned that possibly Ladas were sold in the U.S....
This was,is and will never be possible here as anything Russian is looked down upon..people still see them as the red bears...
Canada however did have its share of Ladas which I found to be really cool....I even saw a Montreal based Lada that made its way to NewYork.
I find that Europe has so much automobilistic(did I just make that up?)diversity that I get goosebumps on the roads..
does anyone else agree with there being more diversity on the roads in Europe or am I talking ballocks again.
8th Aug 2005, 15:45
Enter Anorak Mode......
The Lada was built with the tools from the Fiat 124 line that were sold to the Russians when Fiat moved on.
The Polski Fiat was a Fiat 125, and one eastern country built the old Simca FWD model. India is still awash with 1950-ish Morris Oxfords (albeit with Mitsubishi clockwork). The Rootes Group flogged the Hillman Hunter to Iran, initially as kits and then they bought the tools as well. VW shipped the Beetle line to Brazil, and the first ever Hyundais were Morris Marinas - they even sent the former boss of Leyland to set it up!
Onan the Clumsy
8th Aug 2005, 17:14
Re wiper blades and number plates. I heard that if you were fortunate enough to actually get a car, the first thing you did was to take a hammer and smash the top corner of the windshield :ooh: the idea being to stop it from being stolen :hmm:
Reminds me of the thriving market in broken light bulbs. Why buy a broken light bulb? So you could take it to the office and swap it for a working one. :}
8th Aug 2005, 19:07
- ISTR a guy in Scotland had an orchard full of them, and got into strife with his neighbours and the council - he should start building a wall
I think you mean Graham Goodall who lives in Derbyshire
Derbyshire Trabants (http://motoring.independent.co.uk/features/article9361.ece)
8th Aug 2005, 20:36
I actually have at my disposal ( and for sale) a very large quantity of new Lada spares, like half a warehouse full ..... seriously!
8th Aug 2005, 22:04
The first car I owned was a 1960-ish Skoda Octavia in Cyprus in 1963 and a very good car it was too. It was just about on a par with anything from the UK. Biggest drawback was the swing axle rear suspension, same as was used on the Triumph Herald. Engine was all ally with wet liners and went on for years afterwards in all those horrible rear engined devices they produced. Skoda and Tatra were well respected names in the early days of motoring. I think it was Moskvitch which supplied a spare set of valves for the radio in the toolkit
Motoring-wise, Cyprus was very entertaining in those days. Just about any car made anywhere in the world except America was available and there were some real oddities plus the beginnings of the Japanese exports. You still had to ask for a heater to be fitted to your Mini should you order one.
8th Aug 2005, 23:42
Groundhog-you need to open negotiations with Cuba immediately! I'm not kidding! Where else is there a market for Lada bits?
A Polski Fiat fetches $3,500USD in Cuba right now! Those Lada bits must be worth some if Fidel doesn't rob you in the process as he does most entrepreneurs who dare to believe that there is a business opportunity awaiting for them!
9th Aug 2005, 01:26
Skylark how coincidental of you to bring up Cyprus. I just got back from two weeks there and I could not believe the types of automobiles that were at the islands disposal. I even ventured to the Turkish side where I saw some real cool relics that would not be seen anywhere else. Definatly a cool island automobile wise..
There must have been 60 different types of Toyotas alone!
I guess the fact that the island is RHD and not having its own automobile plants makes the import of Japanese cars a cinch.
9th Aug 2005, 03:15
This has potential...
9th Aug 2005, 03:50
Maybe my cyrillic is getting rusty...if im not too rusty I think that the 4x4 is named Tiger..anyone?
Cool looking machine....
It kinda reminds me of the UAZ....now that was a machine the hummer types of today can learn from.
9th Aug 2005, 07:41
Yep, looks like "Tiger" to me too (TIGR, for the purists).
Dobri din, WP
9th Aug 2005, 07:48
In the 1970s my then employer bought a Moskvitch van. It was about 30% cheaper than the equivalent Ford Escort van at the time.
It had a 1500cc overhead cam, alloy head engine (quite advanced in those days) and went quite well.......as long as you didn't rely on the Russian tyres to help you get round a corner at anything other than a sedate pace! Lethal in the wet too.
It had several new gearboxes because the synchromesh wore out in about 5,000 ,iles and it was always fun wondering which bit of welding would fail next. One day the handbrake came away in my hand and was closely followed a few days later when the tailgate hinges parted company with the vehicle and the tailgate fell on the floor.
Piece of junk that was worth nothing after two years. Great talking point though 'cos it was a rare vehicle at the time....fortunately.
9th Aug 2005, 09:00
On the subject of old Fiats still soldiering on in other countries, there's still plenty of Fiat 131s flying around Istanbul as yellow taxis.
The Peykan (Hillman Hunter) is still plentiful in Iran and stopped production this year after 35 years (they may still make a pickup version, though!), apparently they do about 15 miles to the gallon. The latest thing in Tehran is a Peykan (Iran Khodro) built Peugeot 405 1.6 Litre Petrol, the 405 was Euro car of the year in 1988 so things are looking up! Dunno what MPG it does, but the Iranian taxi driver's manual seems to state that you have to hit the rev limiter in every gear. The same plant will be producing Renault Logans (a new cheap world car design with 50% less parts than a typical EU Renault) in the next few years.
9th Aug 2005, 11:48
There really is a good market for all those Lada spares. Russia is much closer, and easier to ship to than Cuba, and it's easier to move the money around.
Has anyone noticed how few Ladas ther are in the UK these days? That's because most of them were bought by people from Eastern bloc countries after the fall of the wall. A few years ago, a mate of mine had one, and a Russian guy knocked on his door one evening and offered to by it at a reasonable price - cash. The guy returned the next morning, and I was asked to interpret. It seems the guy was off a ship, and was going to drive it to Felixstowe, and when he got it to Russia he would dismantle it and sell it as parts - thus the fact that it was RHD was largely irrelevant. This is a very lucrative business because parts are still difficult to obtain over there.
Yes Tigr/Tiger is right for the Hummer lookalike. Makes a change from naming them after rivers doesn't it?
One of the other standard jokes in the Soviet Union days was "What do you call the instruction manual for a Lada? (there wasn't one) - a railway timetable!
9th Aug 2005, 19:28
Sensible - Thanks for the tip re Cuba that is somewhere we had not though about.
Barry Lloyd - Thanks for that, when the Lada franchise had just finished the Russian dealers used to come over and buy all the wrecks, they would then put them on a boat and on the way to Russia strip the parts and throw the unwanted shell of the car over the side.
Out of interest Paul Stoddart of EAC/Minardi fame made a stack of cash by buying up all of the Yugo cars and spares when the UN trade embargo was introduced against Yugoslavia! Wonder if he still has any?
9th Aug 2005, 19:54
It's true about the Ladas going back to Russia - a few of them had unexpected add-on cargoes of white powder.