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No matter how in love I am with my big American sledges ... there are some non-American cars that I have a total weakness for. That is again due to the memories attached to it, I think.

By: Maria Pels

That's how my father rode Lada. Really. And a new one every year. I know all models by heart. I even remember how he smelled inside. The 2100, the 2104 (a real station) and the 2105. And even though he always wanted a 'night blue', he always came home with the most weird colors. "This one is coral red," he said ... "Uhu dad, I think it's just bright orange ..." I think the station was dark yellow and we also had many variations on something that had to be passed through with beige, cream or off-white to go. We really went everywhere with it. Holidays to the South of France, no problem for this indestructible tank on LPG.

My father was also very stubborn at his garage. I think it was a Lada dealer Aantjes. I don't know where he was anymore. I just remember that I always felt we were in the car for half a day ... At that time car journeys were still without iPads, smartphones, built-in TV screens and computer games and you really had to enjoy yourself during a long car trip. On top of that I became incredibly motion sick on every trip. Makes-not-for-what-car so that eternal stop on the road made the journey even longer.

My father was really lyrical about the model. I can vividly remember the windscreen wipers on the headlights, that was top of the bill! What also helps me is that he steered enormously and had a turning circle of a jumbo jet. I actually found the Lada Niva to be the nicest model, but somehow that wasn't possible in a family with 6 children. I think there was once a brochure from the Lada Junior on our kitchen table. I don't even know if that was a real version or a concept car. It was a Lada with spoilers and colored decals. More like a racing car.

Sometimes we had a new car a little earlier. We lived on a dike and twice there was a Lada from my father who drove down a dike by a motorist who misjudged the bend. I have to tell you ... that is quite a blow! There he lay. A coral red block of iron at the bottom of the dike. A whole spectacle to get that right again in the middle of the night.

In the early '90 he switched to the Lada Samara. A completely different model than the normal square models we had. I didn't like it at all! Again my father was very enthusiastic about it. This also had an open roof! He only had problems with the Samaras. I think it was something about oil spills. He finally gave up and bought a Daewoo. I believe that I can say with certainty that I don't have the love for American cars from my father, but that it is something I have developed myself.

Oh well it doesn't matter. It was his thing. And even though I used to think differently, when I come across a Lada, I always have to laugh. Thinking of back then, the rides in those square and crazy colored machines, singing along loudly with the music of the Texaco cassette tapes saved together. The Lada's from the '80 years are really just cool!


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  1. Somehow I can't reconcile that 'a new one every year' and indestructible. A nice story further.

    I remember that a friend once borrowed a Lada and that everything was loose on the inside. We suddenly had the interior mirror loose. We did laugh.

    • Haha Peter, that's because ours were always driven off the dike for some reason. So yes indestructible… with a but. And I think my dad just liked having a new car on a regular basis.

      • For example, another friend had a very old Suzuki Alto. He never bought cars more expensive than 1000 euros and was grôôs in its 'power alto'. Unfortunately, some triples and winding Zuid-Beveland dikes did not go well together.

  2. I bought one for fun last year. A real 1200 station, it rattles on all sides and it is old-fashioned working in that car but very nice.

  3. I had 3 there. First an 1200, then an 1600 on LPG. Both in orange / red and then a green Niva on LPG. Had a lot of fun with it. Did 1 on 5, but then the gas still cost 50 cents. (in the golden age)

  4. Nice piece of Maria.
    I think there is a Lada somewhere in every family,
    my uncle had an ocher yellow 1200 station.
    When I was just working (eighty years ago) we drove a
    white 2107 (the ones with the chromed grill, yes yes af off the construction sites.
    That was a great car.
    Greetings, Peter

  5. I fully agree with the above. Because I (in the past) also had a Lada myself, an 2105 in liver color. Found it a great bowl and sent it wherever the girls and the music were. The car was (almost) not to break but unfortunately I succeeded. Was then totally released at the scrap yard.
    But the memory remains….
    Gr, Anton.

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