Tag Archives: Lada

Soviet Synergy

The Soviet Union, for all the terror, oppression, and poverty meted out on its inhabitants, achieved some amazing things. Uniting almost all of Eastern Europe, it spanned over 22,000 square kilometres and eleven time-zones before its collapse in 1990, heralding a freedom long-awaited by millions.

The two largest countries within the bloc were the Russian SFSR and the Ukrainian SSR, where collaboration on military, vehicle and aircraft manufacturing was particularly close.

Which makes it all the more awful that Russia has decided to invade and bombard its brother, despite a shared history, language, people, accomplishments, and that Kyiv is actually even older than Moscow. It’s a war to revive the Soviet Union, in a time where – thankfully – such oppression is incredibly hard to achieve, and is – we hope – doomed to fail.

Today’s creation captures the shared history of Russia and Ukraine beautifully, being a Russian Lada Niva constructed in Ukrainian colours. Flickr’s PalBenglat is the builder, answering our call to build in blue and yellow, and there’s more to see on Flickr. Good luck Ukraine.

Yellow Niva

The Soviet Union was full of terrible cars. This is not one of them.

The Lada Niva / VAZ-2121 is unibody 4×4, capable of going as far as a Land Rover (only more comfortably, as it had proper springs) and able to be easily worked on with limited tools. And it’s brilliant.

Unusually, the Niva was an in-house design – rather than using left-over bits of old Fiats – and so successful is it that is still being built today. Not for long though, as the Niva’s days are numbered, after which it’ll be replaced by a re-badged Dacia Duster courtesy of Lada’s parent company Renault.

Now we quite like the Duster, but it’s not a Niva, and it certainly can’t go as far as a Land Rover off road. Which means we suspect the original Niva will become quite a sought-after vehicle once production stops, not something you might expect of a Communist-era Lada.

This rather lovely Lego version comes from previous bloggee Legostalgie, who has evolved his previously featured design and has now made building instructions available. If you like the Niva as much as we do you can check out all the images of Legostalgie’s update, and find a link to building instructions, by clicking here.

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.

что-то странное в окрестности

If there’s something strange
In the neighbourhood
Putin’s gonna call…
Ghostbusters!

If there’s someone gay
Or gender misunderstood
Putin’s gonna call…
Ghostbusters!

He ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost
He ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost

But he’s hearing things
That should not be said
Putin’s gonna call…
Ghostbusters!

A political threat?
Then you’ll end up dead!
Ow, Putin’s gonna call…
Ghostbusters!

Have we butchered the classic Ghostbusters theme song by Ray Parker Jr. just to tenuously link to Vladimir Putin’s human rights record? Yup! But to be fair it’s been ages since we received a good death threat.

Plus, of course, this rather wonderful creation is a VAZ/Lada 2104 estate that has been brilliantly converted into a Soviet Ecto-1, which makes re-writing that song almost mandatory.

We also happen to think it might just be cooler than the original Ghostbusters’ Cadillac ambulance. OK, no it isn’t, but it is a Lada converted into an Ecto-1, which does probably make it the coolest Lada ever.

Flickr’s Tony Bovkoon is the builder who has brought Ghostbusting to Russia, and there’s more to see of his fantastic Lada Ecto-1 on Flickr.

Click the link to call…
Ghostbusters!

Nice Niva

We often mock Communist-era Eastern European cars for being slow, highly polluting, ageing designs built for far longer than they should have been. Because we’re so much better in the West…

So here’s a Communist-era Eastern European car that’s a slow, highly polluting, ageing design that’s been built for far longer than it should have been. And we absolutely love it.

No, we’re not consistent.

Anyway, this is the Lada Niva / VAZ-2121, a wonderful compact off-roader that was not only more advanced than the famous Western offerings of the time (cough Land Rover Defender cough), it’s still in production without becoming just another enormous luxury SUV (cough Land Rover Defender cough).

This lovely Model Team recreation of the Niva captures the real car brilliantly, with opening doors, hood and tailgate, a detailed interior and engine bay, plus some suitable over-landing accompaniments mounted on the roof.

Flickr’s Legostalgie is the builder and there’s more of this superb Soviet 4×4 to see at his ‘Lada Niva / VAZ-2121’ album – take a look via the link 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?

Neat Niva

Lego Lada Niva

Lada have come in for some stick here at The Lego Car Blog. Now owned by the Renault-Nissan alliance they’ll be making good cars soon enough, but their legacy is one of reheating the leftovers from Fiat, badly. Apart that is, from one car…

The Niva was not built from bits of old Fiat, but was actually rather sophisticated. Launched in 1977 it was the world’s first mass-produced unibody car, featured independent suspension, and with permanent four-wheel-drive and locking differentials it was as good as a Land Rover off-road.

So good that the design is still being produced today, almost completely unchanged in over 40 years. Despite this it’s a car that doesn’t appear much in Lego form, so de-marco‘s brilliant 4-wide version of the iconic 4×4 makes a refreshing change from the usual Land Rovers and Jeeps. de-marco has captured the design superbly in mini-figure scale and there’s more to see of his little Lada on Flickr via the link above.

6×5(wide)

Lego Lada Niva

It’s a bumper crop today at The Lego Car Blog! Previous bloggee de-marco has been very busy of late, building a plethora of 5-wide Town-style vehicles.

Lego Pick-Up Trucks

Ranging from beautifully constructed classic pick-up trucks above, through a Humvee, an airport luggage tug, and even a Baywatch-esque coastguard vehicle (allowing us to get Pamela Anderson into the tags), de-marco’s small-scale creations are wonderfully life-like replicas of their real-world counterparts.

Lego Airport Tractor

You can view each of the 5-wide models featured here, plus lots more besides, courtesy of de-marco’s Flickr photostream. We’ll get you started with the Lada Niva pictured at the top of this post, which is our favourite – but then we’re a bit weird like that. Choose your own via the link above!

Lego Humvee & Baywatch Pick-Up

Russian Patrol

Russian Patrol

Fresh from our Flickr-feed: something from Russia. We’ve blogged a few East-European cars recently, but we haven’t seen a police car yet. This detailed car which could easily be found in LEGOland is instantly recognizable as a Lada. The fig is impressive, too. Made by Mad Physicist (Ralph S), see more of this car at Flickr.