There is nothing romantic about the creation of Lada. The Fiat 124 won the 1967 Car of the Year title. Meanwhile, the Soviets were looking for a family car that could be mass-produced locally in a yet-to-be-established city and then sold at a reasonable price, even in foreign markets. This car also had to be durable enough to withstand Soviet road conditions. And those Soviet conditions were… Well, picturesque.
Italians are flexible
Fortunately for Moscow, the Italians were communist enough to sell their cars to anyone with enough hard currency, but in this case shipping over the tools used just wasn't enough. And the currency was also a thing. That is why, as early as 1966, the Italians were instructed from behind the Iron Curtain to completely redesign the Fiat 124 sedan, then set up an assembly line, train the workers and give the people of Togliatti a product they can proudly wear. could be on.
On the banks of the Volga
The factory was set up as a partnership between Italy and the Soviet Union and was built on the banks of the Volga. In Tolyatti, named after the Italian communist Palmiro Togliatti, a new part of the city was built around the factory.
The VAZ-2101 was ready to conquer the world in 1970. The main differences compared to The Original, the Fiat 124, were the following…
Look for the differences
- The Fiat 124 had an OHV engine with pushrods, while the Lada 2101 had a more advanced OHC design.
- The Fiat has a horizontally mounted Solex carburetor, while the Lada came with a vertical Weber-style unit.
- The Fiat had an alternator, the Lada has an alternator.
- The Fiat 124 has a cable-operated clutch while the Lada has a hydraulic one.
- The Fiat had disc brakes on all corners while the Lada had to make do with drums at the rear. However, the Fiat had a single circuit braking system, while the Lada was upgraded to a dual circuit.
- The Lada's suspension has been raised, strengthened and simplified to equally absorb abuse on and off the road. The handling and road holding are therefore less good than that of the Fiat.
- The Lada is made of thicker steel. Too bad that the 'Russians' left the unpainted bodies outside just a little too long. That plus the fact that recycled steel was used often led to serious rust formation within a short time.
- The Fiat 124 has of course no crankcase protection plate. The Russians did install such a contraceptive.
- The coolant temperature is displayed on the Lada's dash, but the Fiat will only let you know when it's already boiling.
- These are the basic differences, but pretty much every other detail has changed for the Lada as well.
Over the years, the model received more and more innovations and variants and eventually the car was further developed into the 2105 and related models.
After the fall of communism, the new capitalists withdrew Ladas from Europe en masse. They often returned home as deck cargo. They were often already stripped of the usable parts on board. What was left just went overboard.
All in all, there aren't many neat Ladas here anymore. But for Lada's (and Skoda's) a small group of enthusiasts is moving.
Ladas are still somewhat undervalued and pleasantly affordable. And with the standard tool kit you can handle just about anything up to and including a complete engine block disassembly on the go.