Lada and garage Stam from Maarssen - column

ER Classics Desktop 2022

There were quite a few reactions to the Moskvitch text. And so you think about your first 'Russian' experiences. And for that I didn't even have to go to one of the former Soviet republics, where, as a number of responders reported, a lot of things have changed for the better. That's right: I know people in Chisinau who do not differ from Randstad hipsters in any way. They drive 'Russian' for nostalgic reasons. But my introduction to 'Russian' vehicles?

It all happened in Maarssen, in the shadow of Utrecht

My father has been in the field since quite early. He worked as a sales representative - for the NVCP, the Dutch Sales Office for Chemical Products. First he went on a journey by train. Later during the week he was sometimes allowed to use the TA of the director. He had to hand it in clean and refueled on Friday afternoon. He could pick it up again on Monday. With an empty tank. The NVCP went well, there was a Beetle for my father, an Olympia, a Rekord, a Simca 1500 and a Simca 1501, a few Mercedes diesels. An Audi 100 Avant. Because the NVCP had now become from the AKZO and because the AKZO thought that the Mercedes were too expensive.

A satisfied smoker ...

My father grew up after World War II, when two packs of cigarettes a day were more normal than addictive. Oh yes: my father developed cardiovascular problems. He quit smoking 'cold turkey'. But what he didn't say was that every day he put aside the money for two packs of cigarettes. And if the cigarettes became more expensive? Then he put a little more aside. When my father took early retirement (At 57 and a half!) There were speeches and gifts. And he was offered to take home the last Audi 100 that he had driven professionally as a thank you for the services rendered. He declined that offer.

Instead, he went to Garage Stam

That was the local Lada dealer and my father gave himself a Lada station wagon there, including an open roof. When collecting the Lada, my father had a bag full of guilders, rijksdaalders and quarters with him. That was flat 14.000 guilders. Money he would otherwise have smoked. Everyone was appropriately impressed, everyone was happy and satisfied. And my dad ridden Lada for years. Hassle free and to your satisfaction. Apparently Garage Stam is now a Dacia dealer, so the company has remained in the segment of the smart price / quality corner.

Meanwhile - a bit - popular (becoming)

In the meantime, such a 1981'er Lada was a nice full-fledged four-door car with Lada's four-cylinder ultra short-stroke engine derived from the Fiat 124. With that, the Lada had about 45 hp at the rear wheels. Think of a noisy top speed of something like 140 real kilometers. But the Lada was never referred to as 'Bahnburner'. And it is easy to live with up to a kilometer or 120. At that speed you could count on a consumption of 1 in 10.

Over time, Ladas have evolved from 'weaknesses' to cheap reliable transport, transport, student car, cult car and valued classics.
Finding a good copy here is not that easy. After the fall of communism, the Ladas were brought back to their native soil en masse. As an occasion or as a part donor.

I myself have been driving 'Russian' for over a quarter of a century now, but on three wheels. And during that time I always came home on my own. Because that is very practical of that 'Russian' stuff: It is made to be repaired on the road. And in the former Soviet republics you still have a lot 'on the road'.



Saved (photo: Djess)



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  1. Once I was allowed to drive a Lada owned by a colleague who died too early.
    The comparison was sometimes made with a tank, but you should of course also see that as a compliment, since the car was mainly made to take a beating, as can be read in the other comments.
    Not familiar or used to the car, I had to revise the cornering speeds, but otherwise there was little to criticize.

    Where many people at the time were condescending or laughing about the brand, I had little need to do the same.
    Because it was a lot of car for relatively little money.
    The sellers were also honest about it; the workmanship was not of the highest level, sheet metal parts could sometimes fit together poorly, but if you took that for granted, you had a means of transport at your disposal for which you did not have to get deeply into debt.
    And if you read about the gadgets of today's cars, you long for a car that is simply straightforward, after all: all those extras only make a car more susceptible to malfunction and more vulnerable.

    For example, it could be read somewhere that an owner of a premium German brand experienced this:

    “Lots of reports all the time, so I was worried I'd scrapped it. Just before handing in that thing through the car wash, those guests spent 10 minutes with the hand sprayer to spray away all the caked snow between the wheel arches, all reports gone. ”

    For the Skoda in the picture it is a similar story, although I have never driven such a model.

  2. For my work and private life, in 6 years time I bought 5 Lada's 1200 fl. 10.000 all on gas at Garage Dengerink in Zwolle at the time Lada Dealer. For my work drove a lot of km's 30.000 a year from there on gas. I exchanged it every other year under the agreement that I then had to pay fl. 1200 extra. Never ever had any problems with those cars, and then the colors ocher yellow (sporty) 2 x, white 1 x and 2 x liver color. My wife liked those cars sitting upright. With the whole family packed every year to Austria, mountain passes over ridden without problems oh yes it was sometimes hot. What a fantastic time when I think back to that. Happy, contented beautiful life. Have a nice day and enjoy reading. Kind regards. Ruud

  3. In 1988 we bought a new Lada 1200 with LPG installation. The battery was empty the next day, but we have not had more bad luck except 1x in the winter forgetting to remove the air filter from the summer mode, frozen carburettor as a result. The neighbor who looked down on our Lada so condescendingly had to drag along twice because his Ford Scorpio did not want to start in the winter. Happiness moment. We also went to Berlin for a week in 2. The East German border guards were much more polite to us than to the other people around us. Presumably they thought we were communists. A few months later the Berlin wall fell. Eventually exchanged for an Opel Record Diesel station wagon (with a bump on the nose). Had a terrible bad luck with that car, just homesick for the Lada back then.

  4. Jokes were made about it, talked about disparagingly.
    But a club member of the table tennis association saw that differently in the late 70s / early 80s: I buy a new car for an amount of 2 years depreciation on an expensive car, drive it for 5 years, I get 1500 guilders back. Cheaper is not possible, and yes, sometimes I hold the window crank in my hands …………… I click it back on. It can be that simple.

  5. They remain interesting cars. My brother-in-law had just started a plumbing company in the early 80s and bought a Lada station wagon as a company car. Great thing for little money. When things got better, he bought a sedan as a private and 'executive car'. This was a good choice from a business economic point of view. Things always did. Oh yes, once helped a few guys who had an American tank with an empty battery. Lada started and put it next to the sled with the engine running. One of those guys made a mistake when connecting the jumper cables. Short circuit. A bang and the entire top half of that Lada's battery flew meters high into the air (luckily no one was close by), but the engine was still running. Then we drove to a car parts store and bought a new battery.

    Large cities in Russia are indeed modern and there are people, a small number, living in a wealth that we do not know here. But I think most of Russia is still the same as it was 25.000 years ago and most of the people belong to the working class who are not really well off. Prices of local products are still low. For example, in a provincial town you can buy an apartment for € 10.000 and a house (wood) with garden for € XNUMX. A few days ago I accidentally discovered vlogs of an intelligent young lady from such a provincial town; do a search on youtube: 'yeah russia' is definitely worth it.

    • Well, I took your advice and watched some of Natasha's videos. My god, what a depressing situation up there in eastern Russia. And all those comments under each video doesn't make it any more fun. The contrasts in Russia are enormous.

    • What I don't understand is when it comes to DAF, I don't have to look up depressing movies about life in the bad neighborhoods of Amsterdam or Rotterdam or Helmond if necessary if it has to be far away.
      And about those house prices (which also has nothing to do with classic cars): In NL the prices are based on what buyers can borrow, not on the actual value of that pile of stones, a few cubic meters of concrete and some wood. Everything you see in NL is on credit, those pants are now way too big and that artificial prosperity has a downside. Those houses in Russia are cheap but they are completely owned and they don't pay real estate tax or wealth tax, also has advantages.

  6. In the area of ​​Russia, in addition to obtaining a driver's license, you also had to be able to change a wheel.
    When purchasing an Ursus tractor, there was a very well-stocked toolbox. A professional comparison shows that the professions are classified differently. The price of petrol / diesel is slightly more favorable than in NL. You can learn the language and the Cyrillies script, but not as easily as English

  7. Yes, nice to read and yet I would like to see one of those former Soviet republics in person, as I only know it from history books and from film and television. It is said to be like traveling through time or decades back in time compared to the present day.

  8. The engine of the Lada deviated considerably from the 124, it got the engine with an overhead camshaft that was designed for the Fiat Campagnola. Later also got a Fiat 124T and 124 Special with overhead camshaft.

    And there are more differences. Put a Lada on the bridge and you see a truck - all wishbones, steering and suspension are extremely robust with the ever-recurring disadvantage in the tests: heavy steering when parking. The Lada is 3 inches higher on the legs. The Lada also has a protective plate under the crankcase, a slightly larger trunk due to differently placed shock absorbers, indicator lights for brake fluid / handbrake and choke, thicker sheet metal all around, other door handles, a heavier battery, a very extensive tool set including a crank and a heater where you can can bake the breakfast rolls. Strangely enough, the Russians have taken over the 38-liter petrol tank that is far too small for their enormous country.

  9. Interesting is the price evolution of then (new) and now (trade prices 2020) of, for example, a 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and a 1980 Lada.
    In 1980 you had about 1 Lada's for 40 new RR.
    in 2020 you did not buy an average of 1 Ladas for 1980 3 Silver Shadow
    Buying an RR in 1980 with the idea of ​​a little bit of value retention was therefore not a smart investment.
    The market of supply and demand continues to amaze.
    The difference in maintenance costs will have to do with it.

    • For the price of a 1980 Rolls Royce you can now get a neat one Citroën Buy 2CV.
      A Messerschmitt Kabinenroller is not for sale for Rolls Royce money.

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