Chaika

Soviet Cars

Ladas were the butt of many jokes, when they were imported to Britain in the seventies and eighties. Most disappeared from UK roads after the Soviet break up, as Russians and others from the former Soviet Union were intent on buying them up.

What do you call a convertible Lada with twin exhausts?

A wheelbarrow

In the early seventies my father had a Moskvitch 427 for a year, he exchanged it shortly after the rear passenger door came open as we were travelling along…we almost lost my sister…but she clung to the back of the front seat for sufficient time to allow my father to stop. I don’t have a photo of his Moskvitch, which was a tan coloured estate with a vinyl roof.

Rusty but running Moskvitch 427

Rusty but running Moskvitch 427

Moving to Tbilisi, I regularly see Ladas and Volgas and less commonly Izh, Moskvitches, Zils and Zaporozhets.

GAZ Chaila M14

GAZ Chaika M14

This Chaika was parked near us for months and then one day it disappeared never to return.

ZIL

ZIL114

GAZ 69

GAZ 69

Lada with Armenian plates

Lada with Armenian plates and Ford badge in grille

Lada Estate

Lada Estate

Walking to the metro takes about 15 minutes and I see at least half a dozen Ladas. The other common Soviet car here is the Volga, these I only knew of from books in England but here they are plentiful.

GAZ Volga 24

GAZ Volga 24

AS026 (2)

GAZ Volga 21

I remember in the Observer’s Book Of Automobiles I had as a child the last car was a Ukranian built Zaporozhets 968M, which closely resembled an NSU Prinz. I had never seen one until I arrived in Georgia, it is not common here but there are a few still about.

Zaporozhets

Zaporozhets

The only Soviet cars I actually own are in 1:43 scale.

Models of cars made in USSR

Models of cars made in USSR