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The Pride Of The Nation: Special Versions Of Soviet Cars For Western Countries

The Pride Of The Nation: Special Versions Of Soviet Cars For Western Countries
The Pride Of The Nation: Special Versions Of Soviet Cars For Western Countries

Video: The Pride Of The Nation: Special Versions Of Soviet Cars For Western Countries

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Video: 10 Communist Cars Western People May Not Know About 2023, February
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During the Soviet era, cars produced in our country were actively exported, and not only to socialist countries. "Volga", "Muscovites", "Lada" and even "Cossacks" tried to find their niche in the capitalist West to bring the country hard currency. Soviet cars were offered to foreign buyers at attractive prices, and their configurations were very different from the cars that were sold in the USSR. Of course, for the better. We will tell you what the export cars of the Soviet Union were like.

Volga

Domestic version of GAZ-21
Domestic version of GAZ-21
Domestic version of GAZ-21
Domestic version of GAZ-21
GAZ-21KB Scaldia-Volg for the Belgian market
GAZ-21KB Scaldia-Volg for the Belgian market
GAZ-21KB Scaldia-Volg for the Belgian market
GAZ-21KB Scaldia-Volg for the Belgian market
VolgM24D for Belgium market with diesel engine
VolgM24D for Belgium market with diesel engine
VolgM24D Break station wagon for the Belgian market
VolgM24D Break station wagon for the Belgian market

The Volga M-21, which entered the assembly line in 1956, was produced until 1970. During this time, she, in modern terms, has undergone two restyling. But at the same time, the "Volga" of all three series had a division according to the type of design into ordinary and improved. Cars with richer decor were most often exported.

For example, cars of the "first series", produced before 1959, in the "improved" configuration had an additional chrome-plated sill molding. In the second series, a frame around the windshield was added to it. The radiator grill could also be shiny. The late "twenty-first" with the US index was decorated even more richly - additional moldings appeared even on the wings!

Soviet "Volga" at one time were popular, for example, in the countries of Scandinavia. However, the geography of their export was much wider. There were even right-hand drive versions - they were sold in the UK and Singapore. The speedometer for such cars is marked in miles, the gear change is floor-mounted, but the hood opening lever in the cabin remains on the left.

We should also mention the activities of the Soviet-Belgian company Scaldia, which sold our cars in Western Europe. Some of the exported cars were sent abroad without engines, as machine kits, and already there they were equipped with more modern engines - mainly diesel ones. This also applies to the "twenty-first", which was supplied with power units Rover and Peugeot, and the GAZ-24 that replaced it, which was also equipped with a French unit on "heavy fuel".

ZAZ Jalta

The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries

The products of the Zaporozhye plant "Kommunar" were also actively promoted abroad. In order not to frighten the foreign buyer with the alphanumeric indices adopted in our country, they came up with a sonorous export name for the small car - "Yalta".

Externally, such a car can be distinguished by sloping chrome moldings along the entire side, stylish Jalt strokes on the rear fenders, and a rearview mirror on the front left fender. But the inscription "Zaporozhets" in Ukrainian was often absent.

Inside - improved seat upholstery and a "special" steering wheel with a chrome-plated horn ring, as well as an ashtray and improved noise insulation. The standard "Zaporozhians" relied on a "steering wheel" similar to the one that was put on "Moskvich-407". The export name was inherited by the “eared” ZAZ-966 and 968, which replaced the "humped" ZAZ-965. In this case, the rich chrome trim was also a distinctive feature of the export version.

Moskvitch elite

408th Moskvich of the Belgian importer - Scaldia
408th Moskvich of the Belgian importer - Scaldia
408th Moskvich of the Belgian importer - Scaldia
408th Moskvich of the Belgian importer - Scaldia
Elite DeLuxe is a version for the Finnish market. A distinctive feature of the DeLuxe version is four headlights
Elite DeLuxe is a version for the Finnish market. A distinctive feature of the DeLuxe version is four headlights
Elite DeLuxe is a version for the Finnish market. A distinctive feature of the DeLuxe version is four headlights
Elite DeLuxe is a version for the Finnish market. A distinctive feature of the DeLuxe version is four headlights
Elite DeLuxe - version for the Finnish market
Elite DeLuxe - version for the Finnish market

The production of the third generation "Muscovites" began at the Moscow Small Car Plant (MZMA, later AZLK) in the fall of 1964, when the "Moskvich-408" was installed on the assembly line. Until the end of the 1960s, this model was quite modern even by the standards of the global automotive industry and therefore was in demand abroad.

In addition, in order to increase sales and earn more freely convertible currency, the USSR actively practiced dumping. "Four hundred and eighth" was known in many countries under different names: Moskvich Carat, Moskvitch Elite and even Elite de Luxe, Scaldi1360 - and this is not a complete list of its names.In the Bulgarian city of Lovech, the assembly of these cars was even established, and the Soviet-Belgian Scaldia, as in the case of the Volga, equipped vehicle sets from the USSR with foreign engines.

Finishing options also differed - dealers tried to equip the cars with additional equipment such as new-fangled seat belts and chrome-plated false discs (caps) of a special shape. There were Moscovites with a roof covered with vinyl - any whim for your money.

Classic "Zhiguli"

VAZ-2106 in Canada
VAZ-2106 in Canada
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The export version of the "two" was called the VAZ-21026. On such cars, they did not just put the interior and the engine from 2103, but also the right wheel
The export version of the "two" was called the VAZ-21026. On such cars, they did not just put the interior and the engine from 2103, but also the right wheel
Another right-hand drive Lad-Riv for the British market
Another right-hand drive Lad-Riv for the British market
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
LadNov for the German market
LadNov for the German market
VAZ-2107 was delivered to Canada, where the model was called LadSignet GL
VAZ-2107 was delivered to Canada, where the model was called LadSignet GL
VAZ-2105 in Hungary
VAZ-2105 in Hungary

Built as part of a joint project with the Italians, the Volzhsky Automobile Plant quickly tried to impose competition on Fiat itself. Starting with the first model, Zhiguli was actively promoted in foreign markets. Also, right-hand drive modifications were produced, and local dealers were actively modifying the cars coming from the USSR - up to repainting the bodies.

In droves, "Lada" received alloy wheels and original radiator grilles. The names have also changed: in Great Britain classic Zhiguli are known under the name LadRiva, in Germany - as LadNova. There were other options as well. At the same time, foreign distributors managed to put even automatic transmissions on the "classics"! The three-speed gearbox General Motors 3L30 (TH180), manufactured in France, was mounted, for example, on the VAZ-2103 and VAZ-2105. Some copies of re-export "automatic" Zhiguli occasionally ended up in Russia.

A separate modification of the VAZ-2106 for the Canadian market was developed in the late 1970s at the VAZ itself. It can be distinguished by the more massive bumpers with hydraulic supports, which meet overseas standards, according to which the bumper of the car must withstand a collision at a speed of 5 miles per hour without damaging the body parts.

In addition to bumpers with integrated turn signals, the "Canadian" VAZ-2106-37 and 061-37 were equipped with safety bars in the doors and were slightly different in lighting technology. To comply with local emission standards, such "sixes" were equipped with a neutralizer and an adsorber. The cars remained carbureted, but had a check engine light bulb! There was also a heated rear window on the "Canadian". "Zhiguli" of our dreams, right?

LadSamara

LadSamarCarlot for Belgium market
LadSamarCarlot for Belgium market
LadSamarCarlot for Belgium market
LadSamarCarlot for Belgium market
"Nine", modified by the Finnish company Valmet Automotive. The model was renamed to LadSamarGL
"Nine", modified by the Finnish company Valmet Automotive. The model was renamed to LadSamarGL
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
Convertible LadNatacha
Convertible LadNatacha
Convertible LadNatacha
Convertible LadNatacha

The export prospects of the new front-wheel drive family were assessed at VAZ with great optimism, so the model was actively promoted in European markets. At the same time, already well-developed methods were used - "Lada" offered abroad differed from those produced "for internal use" both externally and in terms of content.

The plant offered improved interior trim for such vehicles, and dealers continued to install alloy wheels and sunroofs. Even special aerodynamic body kits and original radiator grilles were designed! Some of the cars intended for sale in Europe were assembled abroad. For example, the Finnish automobile plant Valmet Automotive produced "eights" and "nines" under the name LadBaltic. Such cars were also distinguished by better body painting!

Another was the padding of the seats, and the shape of the bumpers, and even the outlines of the front panel: then biodesign came into fashion, and the Finns replaced the angular panel with a streamlined one. LadNatash deserves a separate mention - a convertible based on the G8, created in cooperation with Avtoexport, the Belgian company Garage Meeus and AvtoVAZ itself. The car received a manually folding soft top, and the sills were significantly reinforced so that the body did not fold together with the roof.

"Moskvich" Aleko

The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries
The pride of the nation: special versions of Soviet cars for Western countries

The export name Aleko for the late “Muscovites” is composed of the syllables of the phrase “Automobile Plant named after Leninsky Komsomol”. But such success abroad as the legendary "four hundred and eighth", the last model of "Moskvich" no longer had.

However, exclusive export versions were still created - for example, the Aleko 141 SL, which was sold in France by the Poch dealer in the very early 90s. The exterior of the car was corrected by means of bumpers and plastic door linings.The hatchback also received an original grille, wheel covers and a spoiler on the fifth door.

However, this did not bring tangible dividends - the “forty-first” modified by the French dealer was sold in a circulation of several hundred copies. The later Svyatogory, equipped with a Renault F3R gasoline engine, are widely known, but there was another modification in the Moskvich range with an imported engine: they tried to install Ford diesel engines from the Escort and Sierra models on it. With a Ford engine, Moskvich tried to infiltrate the German market, but failed. According to rumors, everything in these cars broke down, except, in fact, the engine.

Niva

Niva for the Australian market
Niva for the Australian market
Niva for the Finnish market
Niva for the Finnish market
Niva for the Finnish market
Niva for the Finnish market
Niva for the UK market
Niva for the UK market
Niva for the Canadian market
Niva for the Canadian market
Niva in the Savanne version. Such SUVs were sold in the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
Niva in the Savanne version. Such SUVs were sold in the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
Niva for the German market
Niva for the German market
Convertible, designed by order of the German importer VAZ
Convertible, designed by order of the German importer VAZ
Niva for the Austrian market
Niva for the Austrian market
Niva in the St-Tropez version for the French market, developed by local importer Poch
Niva in the St-Tropez version for the French market, developed by local importer Poch

The VAZ-2121 Niva SUV, produced since 1977, quickly became a popular product in the world market and remains so to this day. One of the first cars that combines the off-road capability of an SUV with the comfort of a passenger car is sold in many countries - the geography of its distribution even includes Australia and New Zealand.

Accordingly, the "Niva" was produced in the right-hand drive version. New steering wheels, alloy wheels, better and more comfortable salons - the principles for improving the export versions of the SUV were the same as in the case of other Soviet cars leaving their historical homeland. The same French dealer Poch offered "Niva" in the original body kit and even a version in the "convertible" body. Deutsche Lada was engaged in similar modifications, carrying out alterations of cars by Thiele Spezialfahrzeugbau from Bremen.

Well, the French exporter of VAZ products Jean-Jacques Pock liked our Niva so much that with his direct participation the SUV received a racing version for rally-raids. One of these cars was driven by the Formula 1 pilot and multiple winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jacqui X. However, we have already talked about this modification in detail in the test drive video.

UAZ

UAZ for the UK market
UAZ for the UK market
UAZ for the Italian market
UAZ for the Italian market
UAZ for the Italian market
UAZ for the Italian market
UAZ for the Italian market
UAZ for the Italian market
UAZ for the Italian market
UAZ for the Italian market

UAZ trucks and SUVs have also found their export niche. And if the "tadpole" supplied to the British market had to stick the sonorous name BelAZ, better known in the international arena, then in Italy the SUV from Ulyanovsk is known by itself.

A significant role in this was played by the company of the Martorelli brothers, which began selling "Soviet jeeps" in the Apennines back in the late 60s. And also to promote UAZs by participating in competitions. The adaptation of the Soviet hard worker, created for the army and collective farms, to the new habitat took place according to the standard scheme: the motors were changed, the finish was improved, the original tents and hard roofs were developed.

Moreover: in the eighties "UAZ" appeared even in the famous detective series "Octopus"! And in the early 1990s, Philippe Martorelli became the 469th, according to the UAZ itself, "the absolute champion of Italy in auto racing." The main thing is not to specify in which discipline.

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