I'm sure expats have been waiting in anticipation for this one - Cars of the Soviet Union.
Well here they are in glorious technicolour.
First is Putins favourite brand of vehicle the Volga.
Here we have the ubiquitous Volga GAZ M24 pictured in Lviv Ukraine in 2006. The GAZ-24 used
to be every mans dream car in the USSR. The GAZ-24 was introduced in 1967 and continued
production in its original format until 1992.
As the BBC reported in a recent article - the russians never had much love for their Ladas. But
the Volga was different, it was the Soviet Mercedes Benz, Rover or Buick.
So if you wanted to impress your Soviet girlfriend, this was the car to be seen in.
Even the President of the United States, George W. Bush just couldn't resist taking the
wheel of Putins 1956 Volga, seen here on a recent visit to Moscow.
Then we have the Zaporozhets or ZAZ. This has a special affection for Vladimir Putin for being
his very first car. In fact for many people in the Soviet Union, the Zaporozhets is the entry
level, cheapest car you could buy in the USSR. Even today it is warmly remembered by many
people in the former Soviet Union, much like the mini, the Voltswagen beetle or the Trabant
in East Germany.Mr Bush checking out Putins little runaboutOther Zaporozhets - the ZAZ 968Side view of the ZAZ 968
Next we have the Moskvitch 408 - a real gem for the discerning connoisseur of Soviet classic
cars. This Moskvitch 408 is taken in Lviv, Ukraine in 2006. The Moskvitch 408 was produced
between 1964 and 1976 in the Soviet Union. This particular Moskvitch belongs to the first
generation of the 408 (1964-1969)
Sports version of the Moskvitch 408 in blue with roof rack. The Moskvitch sports is easily identified
by a pair of training shoes in the rear window. Photo taken in Lviv, Ukraine.TV video of the Moskvitch 412 being put through its paces in the DDR East Germany in the 1980's.
The test track featured in this video is an East German / Soviet army tank assault course
Moskvitch 2140 pictured in Bulgaria in 2006. In 1975, the 412 got a facelift and was renamed
The Moskvitch 2140 station wagon
The Station wagon version of the Moskvitch 2140, here pictured in Viljandi Estonia in 2007.
In 1975, the 412 got a facelift and was renamed Moskvitsh 2140. The 2140 carried the
Moskvitch 500 name for Western exports.
The GAZ 12 ZIM
In the hierarchy of Soviet luxury cars it was in the intermediate position between ZIS-110
and the smaller GAZ M20 “Pobeda”. The GAZ 12 ZIM was produced between 1950
and 1959. ZIM = Zavod imeni Molotova (”named after Molotov”)
UAZ 452 photographed in Lviv Ukraine in 2007. UAZ-452 (van, pick-up, truck) was introduced
in the Soviet Union in 1966. The offroad abilities of UAZ-452 made it popular among farmers
and also widely used by Soviet / Russian military.
Lada's produced by the VAZ factory on the banks of the Volga in Russia.
The Lada plant was set up as a collaboration between Italy & the Soviet Union in 1966 and used as
the basis of its first collaborative production model the Italian Fiat 124.
The lightweight Italian Fiat 124 was adapted into something intended to survive treacherous
Russian driving conditions. Among many changes, aluminium brake drums were added to the rear,
and the original Fiat engine was dropped in favour of a newer design also purchased from Fiat. This
new engine had a modern overhead camshaft design but was never used in Fiat cars. The suspension
was raised (to clear rough Russian & Ukrainian roads) and the bodyshell was made from thicker,
The first Lada models were equipped with a starting handle in case the battery went flat in Siberian
conditions, though this was later dropped. Another feature specifically intended to help out in
cold conditions was a manual auxiliary fuel pump.
The Fiat-based Ladas feature various headlight, trim and body styles. The original, Fiat style
models included VAZ-2101 sedan and VAZ-2102 station wagon. 1972 saw introduction of deluxe
version of the sedan, VAZ-2103, which was based on Fiat 124 Speciale and featured new 1.5L engine
and twin headlights. In 1974, the original VAZ-2101 was updated with new engines and
nteriors; VAZ-2102 underwent the same improvements in 1976. The body style with two round
headlights was manufactured until 1988, all others remain in production in slightly updated form.The Lada 2101 or VAZ-2101The Lada 2103 or VAZ-2103
Lada 1200 S
Lada 1200 S (VAZ 21051) pictured in Finland in 2007. Lada 1200 S was manufactured in
Soviet Union in 1982 - 1990.Lada 1200 Combi
The Lada 1200 Combi here pictured in Narva Estonia in 2007.
The limosine of choice for all high ranking officials of the Soviet Politburo, including the General Secretary
of the CPSU. Expats living in Moscow during the heyday of the Soviet May day parades would be
familiar with the Zil.
Please note - this post maybe updated from time to time.