Tag Archives: VAZ

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!

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?

Nice Niva

Lego VAZ Niva

We’ve often mocked Russian vehicles here at The Lego Car Blog, and rightly so – they’re largely crap. However modern Ladas are essentially just Renaults and Dacias, making them now perfectly respectable, if thoroughly boring.

That said we probably wouldn’t trade a modern Renault with a Lada badge on the front for one of their old catastrophes, apart that is, for one car. Launched in 1977 the VAZ (now Lada) Niva was a superbly capable off-roader, more sophisticated than a comparable Land Rover of the era, likely more reliable, and a fair bit cheaper too.

The Niva is still being built today too, and is infinitely better than the monstrosities that the G-Wagon and Range Rover have become. This most excellent Technic version of Russia’s iconic off-roader comes from TLCB favourite Horcik Designs, who has recreated it in Technic form, both with and without Power Functions components.

It’s the remote control version we have pictured above, complete with suspension, all-wheel-drive via an XL Motor, Servo steering, a Li-Po battery, and third-party tyres.

There’s more to see of Horcik’s Technic Niva at both Flickr and Bricksafe – take a look via the links.

Hello Boys*

Lego technic VAZ-2101

It’s a rare event when a Lego creation shares something in common with Wonderbra, so this wire-framed VAZ-2101 by Desert752 Kiril marks a TLCB first. The interesting bodywork design is employed for essentially the same reason as Wonderbra’s patented underwiring; to lift its contents as much as possible.

However, unlike Wonderbra’s garment of lies, Desert752’s VAZ is using its wiring technology to offer you much more than you’d expect… because its lightweight minimalism allows it to drift!

Without the weight of thick plastic bricks to overcome, the VAZ’s Power Functions motors can have a riot on shiny surfaces. You can see the VAZ in glorious sideways-y action at Desert752’s MOCpage, or via the Eurobricks discussion forum here.

Lego Technic Drift Car

*Also, this ad.