Get classics in Russia

ER Classics Desktop 2022

In the pleasant conversation with Steven Bosdijk about Yugos and Zastavas (and Urals and Dneprs) the difference between 'Moscow' and 'the rest of the world' came up. Steven knows what he's talking about. Moscow is a steaming metropolis where the newest, the largest and the fastest cars play their rodeo game.

But you don't even have to go far outside the urban agglomerations to see a whole different world. A world where horse and carts are still fairly common transport. A world that is still teeming with Ladas, Zastavas, Yugos, Skodas from before the VW era and other friendly scribble animals.

'The great wide open'

That slogan is American. But it also applies to Putin's territory. That's because outside the cities, in the vast outlying area, you won't find any garages where they can rest or repair your Lexus or fat Mercedes because they are already happy that they have electric lighting. But electronics is still an unknown phenomenon there.

Those Ladas and the like do not count as status symbols there, but they are already a step further on the civilization ladder than the horse and chariots. It is talked about disgracefully. But for many people they are the contact with the outside world. And that is also because they are less sensitive to maintenance and have less chance of definitive failures than horses. After all, considering the development time, horses are still extremely faulty machines. And a Lada? Every village blacksmith fixes it in between sips of vodka.

Buying there is drawing a chance card

All those cars (and motorcycles) that are carefully building a circle of enthusiasts here, are really not classics there. And they are kept running with all their might and a lot of improvisation. That's why cars and motorcycles - rare and cheap as they may seem - from the former USSR are not a safe purchase for us Westerners. If you want to do business in that corner, and we Dutch like to see opportunities for doing business, you will first have to invest in a network.

Language is a problem, so are distances

Then you have to deal with the fact that most ex-Eastern blockers do not speak English, let alone Dutch and that the area is so large and sparsely populated, while the Internet has not yet penetrated everywhere. Putin pretends to be big, but his entire empire is economically dwarfed. In fact, the similarity between his territory and the USA is that entire pieces are running at third world level. In January 2020, the Russian Federation had 146.745.098 inhabitants. There will be fewer now. After alcohol, Covid has become the big killer on the spot. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $ 1.670 billion. On the map of the European Union, the economy of Russia fits in a small corner. The economy of Russia is just as big as that of the Benelux.

A Kettenkrad as a 'daily driver'

On the other hand, the chance of 'finds' in that region is still quite high. Because how about a Kettenkrad, which, minus its nose wheel, was used as a tractor until recently? And because of the rapid changes after the fall of communism, everything has been looted, disappeared and stored. Stuff is now emerging from that. And that in terms of asking prices they only make a move? Ach: In their eyes, every Westerner is sweetheart.

For the ZGAN (84 km on the counter) beauty in the photos, 20.000 euros was asked. He left for 3.400 euros. Look, and that kind of negotiating space appeals to us!



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  1. Cars from Russia were already very popular in the 50s, starting with the Moskovitch 400 in 4-door version, the Volga was built in 1960 and was sold in Belgium on a massive scale, first with a small 1600 cc perkings diesel engine, but quickly replaced by the Land Rover diesel engine 2250 cc it concerned the volga m21 in sedan eni in 7 places station wagon a volga sedan cost when 115000 belgian francs was a guilder when 18 francs worth gasoline full throttle were not sold in belgium the cars came press ship naan antwerp without engine with the gearbox in the suitcase diesels were installed here on site from 1972 the m24 came a small series with landrover diesel, then with peugeot indenor 2100 cc and later with 2300 cc the remaining perkins diesels were further mounted in the moskovitch 407 and later the 1800cc perkings in the 408 also in belgium assembled for a certain period, the 408 were completely assembled in the renault factory in vilvoorde brussels at 15 pieces per day later there was another attempt with the aleko with a 1800 cc ford diesel from the escort more news call me0032496105820 belgium directly

  2. In the 70s and 80s, this Volga model was used by taxi companies in Mechelen (B). Mechelen was the only country in Western Europe that used Volga taxis at the time.
    In the mid-80s I went to school in Mechelen, these Volga GAZ24 taxis were often seen at the time, especially at the station and in the city.

    • In Greece, if you can count that in Western Europe, there were also many Volga taxis and in Belgium they ran in all cities, usually with an Indenor diesel engine in it.

  3. In the photos I see a somewhat newer model Volga and the 60s model Volga. Both Russians.
    The white vehicle is a Skoda 105 from what was then Czechoslovakia.
    When we talk about Lada, we shouldn't forget the Niva - a good, cheap four-wheel drive that has proven itself as an off-road vehicle!
    What I am missing is the Scaldia !?

  4. You will certainly not come across Zastavas, apart from a few Yugos that were imported in the mid-nineties. Skodas only the newer types. I have never seen a horse and carriage there in the ten years that I have been there, not even far from the cities. That of the Ladas is somewhat correct although they were called Zsiguli there. If you live too far, and that can easily be thousands of kilometers, from a larger city, you are better off with an easily repairable car than with one that says: I have a fault, hang myself on the dealer computer. What was called Lada 2107 here was even delivered new until eight years ago. It is not really looked down upon, it just is.

  5. Have driven with a Barkas
    Two stroke with 900cc engine with freiwill
    A very nice model but a disaster of the engine
    After 15 km of (brand new) joint the villas through it was wad of paper in radiator
    Screws and old pieces of bread in every corner (was brand new)
    We had a lot of fun but also a lot of mezerie.

    • But a barkas was not Russian. He was East German.
      A bit like you are going to complain under an article about Italian cars that you made such a bad buy with a Bedford.

        • A Bedford and a Fiat are both “west blockers”.

          What I mean is that you are responding to an article about Russian classics with a German car that has nothing to do with the article. Unless you shave everything behind the Iron Curtain at the time.

          • Hi Olav, it's completely incorrect politically and geographically, but I do. Out of endearment, out of laziness and because in this column I only have about 500 words per text. The Internet is a disaster in that regard. AutoMotorKlassiek as magazine and sites are created by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. But we also just have to pay for our groceries. We see this free-to-visit site as pleasant support, but it is a matter of passion, not a great earnings model. Despite the fact that we have the largest automotive platform in NL. Therefore, we cannot invest much more time in it than we do. Otherwise we will run out of hours. So sometimes it just takes a short turn. Of course we dream of releasing something as complete and correct as Rob Golding's 'Mini after 25 years'. I have the hardcover right here next to me. A 223-page book on the Mini…. That man must have done so much research for that. Fantastic!

  6. Correction: The GDP (Purchase Power Parity) of the Russian Federation was: US $ 2017 billion in 4.100 and is growing quite well. In addition, the country has no foreign debt and a national debt of about 8%.

    That is not “a small corner of the EU”, but only slightly less than Germany (4.400 billion) and considerably less than the Benelux (1.515 billion). Moreover, we are in the red for roughly the same amounts. Russia is economically the same size as Brazil and Argentina combined and one and a half times the size of France. The standard of living is of course lower than in our country, but there are still plenty of areas in the EU where horse and buggy, old bins and inadequate facilities are the norm.

    From now on you should look up the facts before publishing anything. Figures are from the CIA World Factbook.

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