Tag Archives: 1200

Commie Combi

This beautiful blue creation is a Lada 1200 Combi / VAZ-2102, one of the defining cars of the communist-era Soviet Union and – in it’s earlier years at least – not actually a bad one.

Produced from 1970 until 1988, the Lada 1200 / VAZ-2102 was based on the Fiat 124, itself still in production and rather good too.

For the licensed version the Soviet engineers raised the Fiat’s ride height, strengthened the chassis, and increased the thickness of the bodywork steel to ensure the car could cope with Russian roads and winters, and replaced the rear disc brakes with aluminium drums, because… er, we don’t know. They were worse.

Anyway, the car was a success, with a million built in the the first three years alone, and exported to many markets where the Fiat version wasn’t already on sale (Fiat didn’t permit Lada/VAZ to compete directly with its own product).

TLCB’s home nation got the Lada 1200 in 1974, when the Fiat 124 was replaced by the newer 131, becoming the first Lada on sale in the market, and likely a brave purchase by consumers during the Cold War.

A thousand Lada jokes would follow, which was a bit unfair as the 1200 was fine, but many were probably as much to do with anti-communist sentiment as they were with automotive quality.

This lovely Model Team recreation of the Lada 1200 Combi / VAZ-2102 comes from Flickr’s Legostalgie, whose wonderful Lego replicas of Communist cars have appeared here numerous times so far. His latest captures the Lada brilliantly, with superbly accurate bodywork, opening doors, hood and tailgate, a life-like interior and engine, and even a trunk on the roof-rack.

There’s lots more to see Legostalgie’s ‘Lada 1200 Combi / VAZ-2102’ album on Flickr, and you can head to the Communist-era Soviet Union (or the United Kingdom) c1974 via the link in the text above.

Whole Lotta Lada

We like crap cars here at TLCB. The office car park features several. OK, by ‘like’, we mean ‘own’, but we do genuinely like it when they’re built from Lego bricks.

This is one such crap car, the Lada 1200 / VAZ-2101, and whilst the car-based efforts of communism were almost uniformly terrible, there is a lot to like about the Lada 1200.

Developed from the then decade-old Fiat 124, the Lada 1200 actually had a throughly excellent base, as back in the 1960s Fiat were one of the most forward-thinking and technologically advanced manufacturers* in Europe, with the Fiat 124 winning the European Car of the Year award in 1967.

The Lada 1200 was therefore actually quite a good car when it was launched, with a strengthened chassis, more advanced overhead cam engine, and the Fiat’s one key foible – rust – almost eliminated by Lada and VAZ’s use of much thicker steel and paint.

Of course decent engineering can be very much undone by poor build quality, limited competition, and corner cutting, which sums up communistical manufacturing nicely, and thus the Lada (and Soviet cars in general) quickly became known for being total crap. And that was even when compared to rivals like the Austin Allegro.

We’ll much rather take this one then – which features build quality on a level never achieved in Lada factory – from TLCB newcomer Legostalgie.

Legostalgie’s Model Team recreation of the Lada 1200 / VAZ-2101is superb, with opening doors, hood and trunk, a detailed engine and interior, and infinitely better build quality than the real thing.

Neatly pictured on a grey sofa (we think!), Legostalgie also proves you don’t need a professional set-up to Photo like a Pro, and there’s more to see of his wonderful Lada 1200 / VAZ-2101 model on Flickr by clicking these words.

*What the hell happened?