The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world

Byes of the Russian automotive industry

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

Well, even the Russian bears away from the forest and to watch football. Congratulations, the world Cup is open! We will remind that the championship passes in Russia from 14 June to 15 July. I hope guests will stop their interest not only in football but also will get acquainted with our interesting and incredible culture. Including our legendary cars, which though was a little, but nevertheless, many domestic models of cars, despite the iron curtain, have become quite popular in many countries. And most interestingly, many old Russian cars are still well-know all over the world.

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

So, to celebrate the world’s largest event – the 21st world Cup, we want to show the world not only open and friendly Russia, but our no less interesting automotive history. We have collected the best and most iconic cars in the history of Soviet and Russian automotive industry.


GAZ-13 “Chaika”

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

Our collection of Russian cars starts with the largest avtotriumf our country during the Soviet era. We begin with the legendary car “the Seagull”, which was produced under the designation GAZ-13. It is the Soviet flagship luxury car, which until 1989 was used by the political leaders of our country. It is, without exaggeration, can be called luxurious in every sense.


GAZ-13 “Chaika” was produced in various modifications of bodies, including sedan and convertible. In the domestic market, this model was not available for purchase, unlike some Western countries.

In addition to the political elite “Seagulls” was in the KGB (the highest on the security of the Soviet Union until 1991). Including “the Seagull” drove the Soviet ambassadors to East Germany, North Korea, Bulgaria, Hungary, Mongolia and Finland.

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

By the way, Fidel Castro has received from the Secretary General of the Communist party of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev to gift the GAZ-13.

“Chaika” (GAZ-13) was produced at the GAZ plant in Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod) and at the Riga bus plant in Riga (Latvia) in the period from 1959 to 1981. During this time there were released 3 179 cars. Most of them seven-seat four-door sedans. Most rare instances have the back of a convertible. Even more rare was the special GAZ-13, set up as ambulances.


GAZ-24 “Volga”

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

Of course, after “the Seagull” we decided to include in our rating of “Volga”, which was produced under the designation GAZ-24. It was first presented on the London motor show in 1970. It’s another Russian car that became instantly recognizable around the world. Like “the Seagull” “Volga” was marketed in many countries outside the USSR. And including the countries of Western Europe, Latin America and Indonesia.


July 15, 1970, began the mass production of GAZ-24 “Volga”. Apart from Ukraine, this model was also going to plant in Belgium by Scaldia company. Until mid-1980-ies it was available for sale in many countries of Europe with a diesel engine.

Unfortunately, most of the time in the domestic market this machine was not available to the masses. At the same time, “Volga” was the most popular car in our country and in the GDR.

Use GAS-24 as a taxi was economically beneficial, as this model was considered to be not only reliable. After all, the most important is the maintainability and cost of maintenance. For example, the GAZ-24 for use in a taxi, this car was perfect.


Lada 2104 / 2105 / 2107

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

Third place in popularity of our vehicles worldwide, of course, is another one of our legendary Autostore. We are talking about cars Lada, which were produced under the designation VAZ-2104, VAZ-2105 and VAZ-2107.

These models have become known in many countries due to the direct export of new cars Lada. However, in some countries these cars were sold with slightly different names. For example, in the UK these cars became known as the Lada Riva. In Europe domestic classic sold under the designation of Lada Nova.


By the way, this model family is one of the most popular not only in our country (including today), as well as in Canada, Ecuador, France, Germany, great Britain, Cuba and many other countries.


Recall that the Lada brand was started in 1966, when the company “AVTOVAZ” under the leadership of the government signed an agreement with the Italian Communist party on the joint development of the new Soviet car for the masses. In the end, for several years the company “AVTOVAZ” has developed a VAZ-2101 on the basis of the classic Italian Fiat 124.

The first six pre-production cars VAZ-2101 was collected on 19 April 1970, and in August of the same year began mass production. Read more about the development of the “Penny” you can read in our article “How Fiat turned into a Zhiguli”.


But the Soviet Union did not stop there and in subsequent years continued to improve the Italian clones, releasing a VAZ-2102, VAZ-2103.

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world

In 1979, with AVTOVAZ produced a model VAZ-2105. This model of Lada was produced for the longest period of 1979 to 2010. That is the model was in production for 31 years.

Then, in 1982, the plant began to produce a modified version of the VAZ-2105. We are talking about the model VAZ-2107, which was produced from 1982 to 2012.

Equally popular was and wagon, developed on the basis of the VAZ-2105 and VAZ-2107. The car was produced from 1984 to 2012. It is noteworthy that in parallel with the production of wagon “Quartet” AVTOVAZ produced universal VAZ-2102 (1971 to 1985). That is, from 1984 to 1985, the Togliatti plant was made commercially available two universal different generations.


VAZ-2104, VAZ-2105 and VAZ-2107 was sold in the West until the collapse of the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Union of these models in addition to the Russian domestic market were sold in Ukraine, in Egypt and in Kazakhstan.

By the way, some instances of “Zhiguli” was produced for law enforcement agencies. Including for the KGB. These cars were equipped with a powerful rotary Wankel engine producing 150 HP.



The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

This is one of the most powerful SUVs in the Russian world of the Soviet era. UAZ-469 was designed as a replacement for military GAZ-69, which was used not only by the Russian army during the Soviet years, but also by many military in the Eastern bloc countries.

SUV UAZ-469 was introduced in 1972. In Germany this machine is known as Baijah Automotive, it was sold in this country from 2003 to 2007.


Also, this car was sold in Cuba, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Ukraine, and even in the United States (1997-2005).

But what is most surprising, in fact, the company UAZ (Ulyanovsk automobile plant) still produces the old SUV. We are talking about the newly upgraded version, which is the code designation of the UAZ-469 is named “Hunter”.

Unlike most modern SUVs and crossovers UAZ in the base set has an incredibly high ground clearance, which is 210 mm. Thanks to its ground clearance, all-wheel drive UAZ hunter is one of the kings of vnedorozhe where fold popular SUVs such as Land Cruiser, Patrol and even the Mercedes G-class. Don’t believe? Look on YouTube off-road runs and competitions for club members, where often the winner turns out that hunter, and you will no longer doubt that the Russian SUV, despite his advanced age, is still able to conquer any place where there is no pavement.



The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

ZIL-4102 was developed as a successor to the ZIL-41047, which was carrying top Soviet officials, as well as repeatedly used to transport dignitaries of our country.

Unfortunately, the ZIL-4102 never came to production, as Mikhail Gorbachev (former Soviet leader) was not impressed with this car. That is, he was just not liked. In the end the project was closed, despite the fact that for its development have been spent a lot of money.


The first prototype ZIL-4102 was released in 1987. Two cars was created in 1989 and late 1990, respectively. Since it was released no more than one instance.

Sorry, we have no official information about the engines in this model. But, according to many sources, most likely, the ZIL car factory was planned on the model 4102 to use three variants of power units: petrol 4.5 l V6 petrol 6.0-litre V8 and a huge 7,0-litre V8 diesel. Also this car was designed by a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission, which should have been transferred to the ZIL-4102 torque to the front wheels.


Considering the quality and boredom in those years the Soviet automobile industry, the ZIL-4102 was supposed to be a true masterpiece of the domestic auto market from the technical side. Moreover, this car still looked fantastic. You won’t believe the ZIL-4102 in its body structure even used details carbon fiber (!).


The Moskvitch AZLK-2141 Aleko

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

Moskvich 2141 is the latest development of automobile plant “Moskvich”, which after the collapse of the USSR was privatized and moved from under the control of the state in private ownership in 1991. But, alas, in 2006 the factory was disbanded.

The car AZLK-2141 also known as ALEKO (ALEKO). It is from this Latin abbreviation Moskvich-2141 and shipped to foreign markets.

Production AZLK-2141 began in 1986. This machine was developed on the basis of the Franco-American model Simca 1308. Read more about how it was created, Moskvich-2141, you can read in our article here. From the article, you will learn that the Muscovite-2141 has been developed on the basis of the car, which in 1976 became the Car of the year in Europe.


The first series of AZLK-2141 was produced until 1997. The model was then replaced by upgraded versions. The last car rolled off the Assembly line in 2013.

Moskvich 2141 is a family mid – size car with five door hatchback and front wheel drive. Throughout the entire period of production the car was offered with different engines, including a 1.5-liter, 1.6-liter, 1.7-liter and 1.8-liter petrol engine. Also in some versions of the AZLK-2141 installed a 1.9-liter diesel engines Peugeot.



The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

GAZ-69 replaced GAZ-67B. The purpose of the update was to reduce fuel consumption and improve off-road capabilities of the car. Development of the model began in 1946, and a year later appeared the first prototype. The production of GAZ-69 was launched on 25 August 1953 in the Hills at the factory GAZ.

By the end of 1972 had produced over 600 000 vehicles.


GAZ-69 was basically an army vehicle. But he could afford to buy and civilians. The SUV has a characteristic relief rugged indestructible body with amazing angles of the overhangs. The car was equipped with 2.1-liter engine based on the engine installed in a sedan, GAZ-M20 “Pobeda”. Few people know, but the engine is the “Victory” was developed on the basis of the motor Dodge 1935 model year. Our country bought the drawings of this engine for only $ 20,000.


Lada Tarzan

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

What kind of Lada? It is a model “Tarzan” – intermediate model, which was created in development of all-wheel drive Lada Samara. That is, this vehicle was created between the development stages prototype and full production version (the so-called pre-production version of a small volume).

Lada Tarzan is a compact four-wheel drive vehicle with independent suspension on both the wheel axles. Very interesting concept. But, in fact, we have a compact crossover and an SUV, which today beat all records of popularity around the world.

By the way, Lada Tarzan created after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the iron curtain.

But despite this, this model can be called the Soviet Union because of Lada Tarzan used technology series cars Lada Samara (VAZ-2108, VAZ-2109). Lada Tarzan was produced from 1997 to 2003. In all there were 300 cars.


Muscovite 402 / 403 / 407

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

The basis of the brand “Moskvich” taken from Germany. Or rather, the car “Moskvich” is closely associated with the brand Opel. The first models of “Moskvich” was based on the Opel 1946. So was born the legendary 400-series cars Moskvich.

For example, in 1956, entered the market Moskvich-402. In 1958, the market was withdrawn, the model 407 with a 45-horsepower engine. In 1962 Moskvich-407 became Moskvich-403.


Lada-2103 Porsche

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

Did you know that in the history of AVTOVAZ, there is an interesting joint project with Porsche? In 1970, the Porsche Chairman Ernst Fuhrmann met with our Minister of industry Viktor Polyakov. During their meeting it was agreed a three-year collaboration worth half a million German marks. This agreement included the development of the company Porsche design future new domestic cars.


First, and as it turned out, the unfortunate result of this partnership was the model Lada-2103 Porsche. In the framework of cooperation, the company Porsche has revised the design of the VAZ-2103, retaining, however, all the main recognizable features. That is, the shape and body lines remain the same. But Porsche to change the appearance of the vehicle, used bumpers and a new grille.

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

Including in the model Lada-2103 Porsche decided to abandon all chrome parts of the exterior (with the exception of the hubcaps and door handles).

Porsche also revised the chassis and completely redesigned the interior “treshki VAZ”. In the end VAZ-2103 got the steering wheel from Porsche 928 and leather interior.


Unfortunately, the President has rejected such a car. The reason is that the factory in those years he worked on his own reconstruction of the VAZ-2103, which debuted two months later as the model VAZ-2106.


The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

Unknown to many, this model, which was called “the Loire”, as it never reached mass production. It’s a prototype sports car, which came to light in 1980. But the project was completed in 1982.

Unfortunately, detailed information on this amazing machine are almost there. It is known that this sports car can accelerate to 170 km/h.

But the most interesting that “Laura” was not developed by some large domestic automobile factory, and two enthusiasts – Dmitry Parfenov and Gennady Hino. They have created a real sports car, which in those years was innovative and had nothing to do with the vehicles of Russian manufacturers.


According to some, even the head of state Mikhail Gorbachev praised this ambitious project. However, Laura never reached mass production. Max, what made the creators is the promotion of car at international exhibitions. But that’s not the end of the story.

When the tandem of Dmitry Parfenov and Gennady Haino broke up, one of the prototypes was sold to the Russian Museum and the other is disassembled. Some of its parts were used in the early 1990-ies to create a prototype within the project Laura-2.

This car was equipped with engine capacity of 240 HP from Audi.



The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

LuAZ-969 – four-wheel drive vehicle of the Ukrainian ZAZ automobile plant (known as “Cossack”), which was developed in the USSR in mid-1960-ies. In 1971 began production of Luisa-969. The first prototypes appeared in 1965.

Externally, the LUAZ-969 looks weird and disproportionate. But this car was created not for beauty, but for off-road. The car has a very compact size. But despite this, the ground clearance of this SUV is 28 inches. It is more than that of the first generations of the American Jeep Wrangler.


However, it was a horrible car when you left it on the road. LuAZ-969 was different slowness, supergroot and bad steering. But the worst thing is that he was unsafe. For example, in the event of an accident people are often simply thrown out of the cabin. Also, the car had problems with the exhaust system. So, in some vehicles, the carbon monoxide came through the ventilation system into the cabin, leaving many people got carbon monoxide poisoning.


ZIS-101 Sport

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

This is probably the most beautiful Russian car Soviet era. He probably has the best design in the entire history of the Russian automotive industry.

The car is based on a cute sedan ZIS-101, which was produced from 1936 to 1941.

Unfortunately, the Roadster with a V8 engine ZIS-101 Sport came only in a few instances. And then as prototypes.

This sports car was quite large. Damn it! It was huge! Its length was 5.75 m, width of 1.89 meters and a wheelbase of 3.60 meters.


Sports car was created to mark the 20th anniversary of Komsomol (youth political organization of the USSR). The project was approved by Stalin personally, but was immediately abandoned after the celebration of the anniversary of the youth organization.


Lada-1101 (VAZ-Э1101)

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

Was in the history of the Russian automotive industry another interesting project – Lada-1101. But this car has also never reached mass production. This model has existed in several versions. We have no information how many prototypes were produced. But most likely, it was created not more than 5 copies.

It all began in the early 1970-ies, when the company AVTOVAZ decided to develop a completely new vehicle for the domestic market and for Western European countries for export.


In a short time AVTOVAZ has developed the first prototype, designated VAZ-1101, and nicknamed “Cheburashka”. Initially the car was two-door. It also adopted several components from other cars Lada, which in those years was already in mass production. So, the car received from the first models Lada wheel, front and rear optics.

VAZ-1101 was front wheel drive and was equipped with an engine from a Fiat 127.

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

In 1973 we completed development of the second prototype of the VAZ-1101 in a completely different modifications and layout. The new car differed significantly more sophisticated design.

For those who do not know, will suddenly find out that even though this car went into production, thanks to him, born in the following years there appeared a series of cars Lada Samara (VAZ-2108, VAZ-2109 and VAZ-21099). However, this was only ten years later. Read more about this interesting car and its history can be found in the article “The best Russian car of which you’ve never heard of”.


ZIL-112 Sports

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

After such luxurious cars like the ZIL-117 and ZIL-4102, this model is third in importance, beauty, etc. ZIL-112 Sports is a sports car which was designed and built from 1961 to 1967. Moreover, this sports car set five all-Union records in various races.

The car was designed and built by the Likhachev factory (ZIL car factory).

Sports car is equipped with two types of eight-cylinder engines (depending on version). One had a volume of 6.0 liters and power output was 230 HP, while the other had a volume of 7.0 liters and a capacity of 270 HP


Also ZIL-112 was fitted with adjustable differential slip, disc brakes on all four wheels and radial tires. Also, due to the ease of construction the weight of the ZIL-112 was only 1330 kilograms.

In 1962, thanks to a new aerodynamic body kit ZIL 112 Sport can accelerate to 230 km/h run was made on the salt lake Baskunchak.

The best Soviet cars that is respected around the world 

But surprisingly, this was not the limit for 112 ZIL. As it turned out, even more overclocking then was prevented by bad weather conditions. In the end, the possibility of this Russian supercar was limited.

There were built two copies. After the last race and both copies left in the walls of the plant ZIL. Today, one car is in Museum in Riga (Latvia) and the other belongs to a private collector from Sweden.