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Manufacturers / Russia / Lada


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Lada vehicles


1960


The plant was set up as a collaboration between Italy and the Soviet Union and built on the banks of the Volga river. A new part of town Togliatti, named after an Italian communist, was built around the factory. The Lada was envisaged as a "people's car" like the CitroŽn 2CV or the VW Beetle.

The lightweight Italian Fiat 124 was adapted into something intended to survive treacherous Russian driving conditions. Among many changes, aluminium brake drums were added to the rear, and the original Fiat engine was dropped in favour of a newer design purchased from Fiat. This new engine had a modern overhead camshaft design but was never used in Fiat cars. The suspension was raised (to clear rough Russian roads) and the bodyshell was made from thicker, heavier steel. The first Lada models were equipped with a starting handle in case the battery went flat in Siberian conditions, though this was later dropped. Another feature specifically intended to help out in cold conditions was a manual auxiliary fuel pump.

Engines fitted to the original Ladas start with the 1.2 L carburetor in the original and go up to the 1.7 L export model set up with a General Motors single point fuel injection system. Diesel engines were later fitted for the Russian market only. The drivetrain is a simple rear-wheel drive setup with a stiff rear axle. The engine is an inline four with two valves per cylinder and a single overhead camshaft.


1970


2101
Lada 2101   (1970)

The Fiat-based Ladas feature various headlight, trim and body styles. The original, Fiat style models included VAZ 2101 sedan and VAZ-2102 station wagon. 1972 saw introduction of deluxe version of the sedan, VAZ-2103, which was based on Fiat 124 Speciale and featured new 1.5L engine and twin headlights. In 1974, the original VAZ-2101 was updated with new engines and interiors; VAZ-2102 underwent the same improvements in 1976. The body style with two round headlights was manufactured until 1988, all others remain in production in slightly updated form.

The VAZ-2106 introduced in 1976 was an updated verion of VAZ-2103, featuring different interiors and new 1.6L engine. 2106 is the oldest and the most popular rear-drive model of AvtoVAZ, its production continued until 2001 and still carried on by licensees.


1980


2105
Lada 2105 ,Nova  (1980)

AvtoVAZ designers proved that they had some original ideas when the VAZ-2121 Niva was introduced in 1978. This highly popular car was made with off-road use in mind, featuring full time all-wheel drive, an original body style and the most powerful 1.7L engine in the VAZ range. The Niva has also been available with 1.9L Peugeot sourced diesel engine. The Niva is still in production.

Based on the success of the Niva, the design department prepared the new family of front-wheel drive models by 1984, a completely domestic design; the body is not unsimilar to Fiat Regata though. Production started with VAZ-21083 Sputnik 3-door hatchback; the series were later renamed Samara. The Samara engine was mostly designed and produced in-house, had a new single overhead cam design and was driven by a more modern rubber belt. The combustion chambers were developed in collaboration with Porsche. The line-up features completely new body and interiors, front McPherson suspension and rear torsion bar, rack and pinion steering and updated 5-speed gearshift. 5-door VAZ-21093 hatchback followed in 1987, and 4-door 1.5L sedan, VAZ-21099, was introduced in 1990. The same year, the front sides and radiator grille were restyled on the whole Samara range.

VAZ-2105, still based on the 2101 but updated to 80s styling, was introduced in 1980. Square headlights and new body panels distinguish this style from the old models. A deluxe version, VAZ-2107, was out in 1982; it featured a better engine, refined interiors and Mercedes-like radiator grille. In 1984, the VAZ-2104 station wagon completed the line-up.

2104
Lada 2104  concept (1985)

In the domestic market, these classic models were called Zhiguli. The Lada name was used for exports only, but a large share of Ladas was reexported from Eastern block countries, so the brand was well-known in the domestic market as well.


1990


Natacha
Lada Natacha  concept (1992)

The 2108-2109 models were in production until 2001, when they were restyled with new side panels, interiors and 1.5L fuel injection engines (though fuel injection was available as early as 1995). The Lada 2109 hatchback was rebadged as Lada 2114, and Lada 21099 sedan was rebadged as the Lada 2115. The 2104-21099 model range was transferred to IzhMash and ZAZ and is still being manufactured. In 2004 VAZ also introduced Lada 2113, a restyled version of Lada 2108.

VAZ-1111 Oka micro-car, which resembles the Fiat Panda (though has no relation to it), was introduced in 1988, and in 1991 the production was transferred to KamAZ and SeAZ factories.

The VAZ-2120 Nadezhda minivan is based on original Niva and is in low-volume production since 1998. A five-door version of the Niva, the VAZ-2131, has been in production since 1995.

Gnom
Lada Gnom  concept (1992)

The break-up of the USSR delayed the production of new 110-series by a couple of years. The VAZ-2110 sedan was introduced in 1996, the 2111 station wagon followed in 1998 and the 2112 hatchback completed the range in 2001. These models are basically based on Samara technology with a new body and fuel injection engines as standard, though carburated versions have also been available up until 2001. The 110-series remains in production and has been continually updated over the years- for example, engines used to be 1.5 L units with either 8 or 16 valves, but these have now been upgraded to 1.6 L units that meet stricter emissions rules.



Idea and design © 1999-2016 van Damme Stéphane.




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