By on July 27, 2011


Surf over to, and click on “Автомобили” (automobiles), and you’ll find four model lines: Priora, Kalina, Samara and the classic, Putin-favored 4×4. Not pictured in the lineup, but still present in a sidebar on the site, is a link for one more model: the 2107. The first 2107 (then called the 2101), was built in April, 1970, developed off the internals of the Fiat 124, which itself was already four years old. And ever since 1970, the 2101 “Classic” has been rolling off an assembly line in Tolyatti, providing over 16.8 million sets of cheap wheels (MSRP: about $7,500)… and the model accounts for two-thirds of all Ladas ever built. But, reports Automotive News Europe [sub]’s Luca Ciferri:

The Classic was scheduled to die at the end of 2009 when sales began fading, but the Russian government scrappage program introduced in March 2010 gave it a new lease of life. Helped by the incentive, Classic sales last year doubled to 136,006, making it Russia best-selling car by far. In the first half of this year, sales grew 35 percent to 69,500.

But the scrapping program ended in May, heralding the end for the Classic.

The Lada Classic will be replaced by the Lada Granta, which was launched inauspiciously, when, in a scene straight from “Borat,” the car refused to start for President Vladimir Putin. But perhaps, if the Granta is built for another 40 years, car writers will be looking back fondly at it someday.

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25 Comments on “After A Whole Lada Production, A Russian Classic Retires...”

  • avatar

    I looked at these Ladas at a car show in the Netherlands in 1984. They were profoundly obsolete then.

    • 0 avatar

      I bought a new Lada Zhiguli 06 in Moscow in 1993 and drove it the four years I lived there. A one year old Lada was worth as much as a new one as the owner had a year to fix all the faults out of the factory.




      • 0 avatar

        I’ve seen one just like that still driving in the west part of Toronto. Also I’ve seen another one at the junk yard two years ago. You should’ve seen how strong its metal was compare to other cars.

  • avatar

    In the Soviet Union 2101, 2011, 2106, 2105 and 2107 were all pretty distinct models with different engines, trim levels, exteriors and performance levels. 2107 was pretty comfortable and a step forward, for its time, for its market that had no imports at the time. Top of the line.

  • avatar

    I want one.

    • 0 avatar

      No, you don’t. You might think you do, but you don’t.

      Buy a Datsun 510, AE86 Corolla or an E30 (or earlier) BMW. Hell, buy a Saab 900 if you feel like suffering. I had a Niva, and I knew a few Signet owners, and they weren’t happy about it.

      Let me put it this way: they were an less reliable version of the Fiat they were based on. If I had to say something nice, it’s that they were better than the Samara.

      Curiously, I knew one Samara owner: an older Finnish lady, and her car was Corolla-like in it’s flawlessness. I guess there’s gotta be one.

  • avatar

    Spent some time in and around Odessa last fall, and the Ladas were everywhere (funny picture…Lada parked directly in front of a flat black Audi R8)…say what you will about how old and outdated they are, but those things just…won’t…die…

    • 0 avatar

      They are the “cockroaches of the road” (registered trademark) – just like Chevy Cavaliers are here.

    • 0 avatar

      Is it really that they won’t die, or is it that they keep making more? I was in Jamaica in the mid ’90s. Ladas were everywhere, but most of them were being used as parts cars. Maybe one in three actually ran.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not that they won’t die. It’s that it’s easy and cheap to fix. Your kit of spares would include a few hairpins, rubber bands, a bucket of rainwater and some cedar boughs.

        In a post-apocalyptic scenario, you might be wise to choose one of these over a Hummer.

  • avatar

    Not that I follow the news on Russian auto industry, but I remember seeing somewhere, that the old heap would not die. It will still be made in Izhevsk (the place is a spinoff of an ammo factory that used to churn out Izh siblings of Moskvich-408/412).
    So probably good for another few years.

  • avatar

    If my memory serves me right,

    VAZ-2101 was the original RWD Lada with 4-speed manual transmission that was built starting in early 1970s. It had some improvements over the original Fiat, most notably the 1.3L SOHC engine instead of pushrod.

    VAZ-21011 was the same as 2101 but with 1.2L engine.

    VAZ-2102 – a wagon version of the above

    VAZ-2103 was a revised 2101 with improved interior (it now had a tachometer) and exterior (four round lights instead of two big round on 2101). 1.5L engine is introduced.

    VAZ-2105: for the most part a reskin effort to make the 2101 look like an 1980s car. Replaced the 2101. It was available with 1.2, 1.3, 1.5 engines.

    VAZ-2104: the wagon version of 2105

    VAZ-2106: Looks like a revision of 2103, with a 1.6L engine. The most powerful engine in all of Lada lineup.

    VAZ-2107: A kind of a “Lux” version of 2105, originally available with 1.5 engine.

    All of them came with 4 speed manual transmission. In the 90s and later on, 5-speed transmissions and slightly revised engines became available.

    Vaz-2108, 2109, 21099 etc were all new FWD designs of the later 80s called “Samara” that still live up to this day in one form or another.

    • 0 avatar

      You forgot VAZ-2121 (Niva 4×4): a 4×4 with three differentials (centre, front and rear). There are no locking hubs. The transfer case involves a high/low range selector lever and a central differential lock lever. Low range can be selected with the centre differential locked or unlocked.

      Newer models of 2107, 2121 also had 1.7L fuel injected engine and a 5-speed stick.

  • avatar

    This car is to “The Bourne Supremacy” what the Dodge Monaco and Plymouth Fury were to “The Dukes of Hazzard”; they made the cars far more interesting than they really are.

  • avatar

    I remember a friend who owned one of these back in the UK (it was the estate version). His entire tool kit for the car consisted of a really big hammer, one flat blade screwdriver, a set of adjustable pliers, a length of rope and some fluids. No matter what went wrong, it could be fixed with pretty much just those tools. Rust was the ultimate killer of the Lada.

  • avatar

    I learned to drive on one of those suckers. Built like a tractor and was almost as fast as one too. Thick metal. Strong. No seatbelt buckles. The speedo was marked km/y which was pretty accurate. Scared the sh!t outta me everytime I’d have to merge on the hwy and the instructor is telling me to floor it and I’m telling him I’ve got it through the floor! What a PoS. Perfect for any teenager to drive.

  • avatar

    It is beautiful.

  • avatar

    Lada inherited Fiat’s rust – one snow belt winter here and instant rust bucket.

    Polski-Fiat 125 P was more savvy…

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    Just a small point, Vladimir Putin isn’t the President of Russia. The President of Russia is Dmitry Medvedev. Putin is Prime Minister.

  • avatar

    Now that America has descended to developing nation/banana republic/ woody allan comedy status I think they should shift production over here. $7500.00 – why not?

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    This reminds me of back in 93 when Volvo finally phased out the 240DL. The final ones had a classic emblem on the back and came with really nice mesh alloy wheels.

    Back in the late 60’s I had a neighbor with the Fiat 124 version. Needless to say they only had it for a few years, the tinworm got to it.

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