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- The portal to the past opens on click. Pull the grasping door handle, wait for a short metal "tink!" - and here you are in the Soviet sixties. The texture, color, and most importantly, the smell of another era are alarming from the doorway: neither the eye nor the nose can catch the signs of the XXI century. There is no scent of fresh polish, no fake upholstery under the "cozy" retro, no mp3-tape recorder, fixed away from the eyes. Nothing looks like a restored antique or flirts with pseudo-nostalgia. This is exactly how the cars that were produced almost 60 years ago looked, were completed and smelled like that
Video: They Exist! We Found Seven Soviet "time Capsules"
The portal to the past opens on click. Pull the grasping door handle, wait for a short metal "tink!" - and here you are in the Soviet sixties. The texture, color, and most importantly, the smell of another era are alarming from the doorway: neither the eye nor the nose can catch the signs of the XXI century. There is no scent of fresh polish, no fake upholstery under the "cozy" retro, no mp3-tape recorder, fixed away from the eyes. Nothing looks like a restored antique or flirts with pseudo-nostalgia. This is exactly how the cars that were produced almost 60 years ago looked, were completed and smelled like that
From the darkness of the glove compartment I take out a wad of yellowed paper - a price list for cars by AvtoZAZ. Model 968M: 4189 rubles 61 kopecks, including retail markups. In today's figures - about 1.2 million rubles, but the "Zaporozhets" in which I am sitting is more expensive by another couple of hundred thousand. The fact is that it is almost new. Mileage - 12 899 kilometers!
The V-shaped atmospheric "four" has been thoroughly tuned, some work has been done on the chassis, and in order to go somewhere, you need to let the engine come to life and breathe a little. But this is an original 52-year-old car in perfect condition that has survived to this day. A Soviet classic that has not seen repainting, welding, putty and (God forbid!) Tuning, which can be bought right now, just half an hour from Moscow.
I remember that you asked if it was possible to find a "time capsule" in 2020 without embarking on a long-term search with a dubious prospect. Well, before us are seven such "capsules" at once. And the only thing these machines require is careful handling.
Seven cars from Krasnoznamensk near Moscow have a common owner. More precisely, it is a whole team of enthusiasts that has been collecting a collection of Soviet models for twenty years. Mainly for personal use. They find standing copies, put them in order on their own, sending only a small part of the repair work to "outsource". Moreover, for a car worthy of attention, they are ready to go almost anywhere - we will tell you more about this, just below.
In the meantime, you just have to believe us: the cars you see in the photographs are only a small part of the vast collection. Its owners do not pursue popularity and do not want publicity too much. And they even asked not to mention their names. But they gave us a touch and told us about the copies ready for sale. And there is something to see!
Эта 1,3-литровая «шестёрка» намного старше голубой: 1983 года выпуска. У неё привычные хромированные бамперы с клыками и идентичный салон за исключением формы подголовников. За 37 лет пробег составил чуть больше 12 тысяч километров.
An export version of the VAZ-2106 with factory "five" bumpers - the so-called "Canadian" - was found in Novosibirsk. And the olive-green "troika" in the photos below is in Serbia. Search for a curious car under the motto "what if?" started by looking at ads on the German portal Mobile.de. It soon became clear that an interesting option is waiting in the wings not even in Germany, but in the Balkans!
“We found the Troika from the heirs of a local party leader,” says the seller. - The engine was switched to gas, and the combined salon, in addition to the factory revision "for export", received several options from the Serbian dealer of Lada. For example, a stereo cassette recorder or the Yugoslav version of BFGoodrich tires. All this works and does not require replacement.
The car cost collectors two thousand euros. Another three and a half went to customs procedures and transportation. Negotiations became a separate problem. Instead of the Serbian language, the relatives of the former owner had to negotiate in Hungarian - when the owner himself was gone, relatives from another country took over his property. This is the geography.
At the same time, the guys do not have especially warm feelings towards the Zhiguli, which returned to Russia in such a difficult way. Much more noticeable is the pride in the result and the work done.
“It's just a very good car,” the guys say. - We are glad that we managed to get it, and again we will be glad if the "troika" finds a sane buyer. So the search was worth it.
The team is usually lucky with sane clients, but there are also dubious persons. For example, a client from Central Asia insistently demanded to bring him a Volga for inspection at home, then disappeared. And the buyer of the original "kopeck" with a mileage of only 10 kilometers for some reason decided to save several thousand rubles on a tow truck and set out to drive into the snow on its own. It took time to dissuade him from a risky act - after all, the original Soviet tires are no match for the modern "spike".
Price also makes the dialogue with potential buyers difficult. It is quite obvious for sellers - after all, it includes searches, bringing to the desired state - it often becomes unreasonable for those who see just a Zhiguli in a car. Even in spite of the almost museum state. However, are there many people among your acquaintances who are ready to give a million for a Lada, even if it has passed from the status of a cheap alternative to foreign cars to the status of a time keeper? That's the same.
The guys have a healthy skepticism about lovers of tuning and customizing Soviet cars. And to convince us of the authenticity of the cars from the collection, the owners open the hood of the 1968 Zaporozhets, showing the high-voltage wires in an almost glazed original braid.
- The electrics were not changed, but only tuned for trouble-free operation. Well, who would fight with this trifle? If a part breaks, it is always easier and cheaper to replace it with a new one. But we either leave our dear ones, or change them to the Soviet original. Of course, we complicate the process, but there’s no other way,”the collectors say.
By the way, of the seven cars exhibited at Avto.ru, this "Humpbacked" ZAZ-965 is the most expensive: about one and a half million rubles. Expensive? While this material was being written, the car had already found its lucky owner.
But on the day when the Zaporozhets was found in St. Petersburg, it simply could not move. Because of the long idle time, the wheels did not rotate, the suspension turned into a monolith, and the "air" motor, which was repaired with a blow from a sledgehammer in the picture "Golden Eye", turned out to be more capricious than a child.
After 2014, the rich in details Ukrainian market with a large selection of spare parts turned out to be virtually cut off for Russian collectors, so searches for the necessary parts were carried out throughout the country and even abroad. It took some tinkering to assemble and configure each unit of the minicar - but you will only appreciate the result!
The special smell has not disappeared even after half a century. It's as cozy and naive here as in sixty-eighth. The raspberry-colored fabric upholstery is not frayed, and the springs of the chairs take the load silently and resiliently. A thin key is inserted into the lock, on the next seat is a road atlas of the sixties … To prevent a temporary visitor of this car from drowning in emotion, an A4 sheet with sobering information about the value of the car is left next to it. You can touch it, you need to ride it, but it is important to approach everything with care. I close the door and return to the modern world - with the same click with which I got inside. And then I get another one - already cognitive.
In our endlessly interesting conversation, filled with dozens of stories, the owners admit that this ZAZ (and two others found for completeness of the model range), and export Zhiguli, and the GAZ-24 station wagon are all put up for sale because of their … how to put it mildly, lack of coolness.
The magnificent seven excellent Soviet models in factory paint, excellent physical shape and on the original rubber no longer pulls the status of the collection's pearls. And therefore it is sold.
It's just that our today's storytellers have cars that are much cooler than those that they showed us and put up for sale on Automotive News. Being very careful (there is nothing without it) and not too public (it seems that this is also important in their business), they still prefer to keep their exclusives away from prying eyes. But as soon as we decide to show them, we will try to be the first to be at the gates of their luxurious collection.