Rare Rides: A UAZ From 1991 Brings the Iron Curtain to the Midwest

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a uaz from 1991 brings the iron curtain to the midwest

Earlier this week, we brought you a Rare Ride straight from the Eastern Block. The Skoda 120 was Czechoslovakia’s answer to the middle-market family sedan. Today we keep it Communist and look at Russia’s answer to the decadent and capitalistic Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender, the UAZ-469.

This four-by-four can really do some work.

UAZ has been around for quite a while. Founded in 1941, the initials stand for Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod, or Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant. UAZ is a manufacturer of trucks, SUVs, and small bus and van models — and that’s it.

One of their most popular models, the 469, was the successor to the GAZ-69, which was in production from 1953 to 1972. Entering production in 1971, the 469 is still in production today. Minor modifications saw the model renamed as the UAZ-3151 in 1985. A few more minor modifications over the years, another renaming in 2003 to the Hunter name, and that carries us to present day. It’s most impressive what car companies can do (or not do) when regulations aren’t standing in the way.

The UAZ-469 isn’t produced in quite as many places as it used to. Presently, it’s being assembled in only five locales: Russia, Cuba, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, and the Ukraine. The only other vehicle produced by UAZ presently is the Patriot. That one is more luxurious, and sort of a cross between a Nissan Frontier and a 2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara. Onward to our Rare Ride!

For sale in Indiana (via Chicago’s Craigslist), this black UAZ is from 1991 (or maybe pre-1985), and has been imported from somewhere far away and titled here in the USA. It’s past the 25-year import age requirement either way, so the title confusion probably isn’t worth much worry.

With just 23,000 miles on it, things look neat and tidy — even in the engine bay. This particular 469 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 71 horsepower.

On the floor is a manual of four or five speeds, and there’s a two-speed transfer box for those mucky Communist America situations. The interior features seats and even a steering wheel. Don’t get any Land Rovery, aspirational ideas in here — it’s not going to happen.

Asking $15,000 seems a bit aspirational in itself, but the UAZ is the sort of rarity someone is likely to covet. Sort of the antithesis of everything the UAZ stands for, don’t you think?

[Images via seller]

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3 of 66 comments
  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Oct 06, 2017

    Faster than a 'mog then.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Oct 08, 2017

    I think Slavuta above stated this was inspired by Jeeps that were left behind. Was this a backwards engineered vehicle? The first thing I thought when it rolled across the feed is that it bore a strong resemblance to a Jeep. *Caveat being I don't know Jeeps well enough to make an informed opinion on the similarities or dissimilarities thereof.

  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂
  • ToolGuy The dealer knows best. 🙂
  • ToolGuy Cool.
  • ToolGuy This truck is the perfect size, and the fuel economy is very impressive.-This post sponsored by ExxonMobil
  • ToolGuy If I were Jeep, I would offer a version with better NVH and charge more for it.And then I would offer a version with worse NVH, and charge more for it. (There is an audience for both.)