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It was many moons ago I brought my first Lada a 1200 saloon, I'm a motormechanic and have a passion for fast cars so what possessed me to buy a Lada? Simple budget I only had £500 and anything cool in this price range were rusting old sheds and I was fed up with spending all my spare time (and money) fixing them. So standing in the old banger car dealership surrounded by rusting old sheds there was this 2 year old Lada in as new condition so the deal was done. It was 2 years and 30,000 miles later before anything went wrong with it. We were on holiday in North Wales when the headgasket went on the last day and we had 150mile trip home did it get me home? Of course it did I had to stop a number of times to refill it but it happily carried on and after replacing the gasket suffered no ill effects and ran for another 12 months before I traded it in for a 1500GLS. By this time Lada were fitting an eco carb which was I have to admit rubbish. I found a manual for the old Fiat 124 which the Lada is based on and from this I found that although the front suspension and steering looked the same the geometry was totally different so I sent it according to Fiat's settings and this greatly improved the cars handling at anything above 70mph. I then replaced the carb (which is based on a twin choke webber) with one off a 3.0litre Capri (I won't bore you with tec stuff) then an electronic ignition from some Fiat (don't remember what) fitted bosh 4 point plugs and modified the exhaust (home made out of other bits of exhaust). The result was a surprisingly fast car. I only found out how fast when the company I worked for arranged a track day for us, I didn't really want to take the Lada having had to suffer much mickey taking already over it but they insisted they all needed a good laugh so I thought what the hell. Imagine there surprise (and mine) when I found not only could I keep up with many of them, I could pass them to (on the straight that is bends where not its forte). On the straight the my Lada was clocked at 119 (point something) mph and when we had a little drag race, it out accelerated everything up to a Escort XR3 (early non injected model) so by the end of the day it had stopped being the butt of all jokes(everyone it beat was). All things have to come to an end and my children were getting older and couldn't cope with the embarrassment of being seen in a Lada so it got traded for a Peugeot 309 GTi (shed) which was horrible.
Background - or, How Did I End Up With This? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I originally learned to drive in Oregon. I learned to drive an automatic transmission, and the test was ridiculously easy (just drive for a bit, really). I never owned a car in the States, and rarely drove. I moved to the UK. Being either sensible or a coward, depending on your point of view, I decided to start from scratch. After all, cars here are by and large manual transmissions...you drive on the left side of the road...roundabouts - all these things scared me. I passed my test after two instructors (the first died...but I wasn't driving at the time) and two tests (that saga deserves an essay of its own sometime). After a while, it was clear I needed a car. I had an infant in a large pushchair - the bus just wasn't practical for me. We found a second-hand Lada Riva Estate 1.4 at, of all places, a BMW dealer (that's some trade in). The car was three years old at the time (F registered) and only had 24,000 miles on the clock. It was £1,000. Seemed like a good deal. Hmmmmm.... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Details ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As mentioned, the Lada Riva I owned was an estate car. It had a small engine for the size of the car, and had a four speed manual transmission. It took unleaded petrol, which was only just becoming popular at the time. Its maximum speed under normal driving conditions was around 60ish, although (and this IS true), I did get it to 90 on the M40. Downhill. With the wind behind me. As a digression, that WAS fun - watching the drivers' of posher cars (i.e. everyone else) mouths drop open from sheer amazement and disbelief. It had a radio cassette (although I had to use tweezers to get the tapes out of the cassette player). That was pretty much it for features. I was lucky it had four wheels and an engine (of sorts). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Good ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Well...it WAS cheap - but I came to realise that it was overpriced even at £1000. The Lada Riva was a 'tall' car. Not as tall as a van, SUV or MVP but taller than most passenger cars. This was nice, since I could see over the tops of most other cars - handy in traffic to see when we could go. If the car would go. It took unleaded, as mentioned above. Although the car was petrol-greedy, at least the petrol was cheaper. A standard service was fairly cheap, as the engine was so simple - there were no electronics to speak of in the car - a hobbyist could service it (my husband, who knows a bit about cars but isn't obsessive, did minor service on it). HOWEVER, things did go wrong a lot...but that belongs in the next section. Visibility was good - the rear pillars were small, thus few blind spots. Being an estate car, the back of the car was pretty much at the back window, so I knew where the back of the car was when reversing. The boot was ROOMY. This was absolutely crucial in the days when my daughter was small and still required enough equipment to aid a small nation. Or so it seemed at the time. I could get her pushchair, shopping, an extra pushchair and all the other bumf you have to carry around when travelling with a small child into the rear baggage space without a problem. Of course, the boot DID have a rather annoying problem...but I'll get to that shortly. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Bad ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hmmm...where to begin. Let's start with the smaller stuff. The thingies (do they have a name?) that hold the rear boot door open didn't work. I had to prop the hatch open with a golf umbrella. You could take the key out of the ignition and the engine would continue to run. Also, if you didn't turn off the ignition in exactly the right way (it took a knack), the radio would lose all of its pre-set stations. And the clock would go. The front passenger window had lost its windy thing. The rear driver-side window went down on its own. To raise it, I had to open the door, put one hand on the inside and the other on the outside and pull it up. It came down during driving. Never mind - no-one ever tried to steal the car. I was rather hoping someone would...I left notes begging someone to. No, I didn't. I made that bit up. :) The interior fan belt (the fan that allows you to demist your windows) finally gave up the ghost, and I was told it would be a fortune to replace. For a while, I could get it going Tardis style - just bang on the dash. Hard. After a bit, even that stopped working. On the subject of de-misting, both the rear screen defogger and the rear screen wiper died as well. I had the wiper fixed, but the demister was a lost cause - it would have cost more to have the window replaced than the car was worth. Moving onto more serious problems, the alternator never worked properly - even when we had it replaced. I went through three batteries in around the five years I owned the car. If the car was left undriven for more than a few days, the battery would be as flat as the proverbial pancake. The car badly needed a fifth gear. After about 40 miles an hour, you could no longer hear the radio, because the engine was very LOUD. The whole car shook during motorway driving. Fuel consumption was terrible, partly, I suspect, as a result of the lack of fifth gear. The fuel tank was tiny though - I spent around £20 filling it if memory serves. But keep in mind, this was back in around 1995ish. I spent a fair amount of time in petrol station forecourts. The engine (1.4) was tiny and badly underpowered for a car of its size, meaning it did 0-60 in around...oh...three days. The Lada was a TANK. It also drove like one - there was no power steering, so I gained some pretty impressive muscles driving that car. The turning circle was poor, although it was a rare event indeed when I could muster the strength to turn the wheel to full lock. The clutch cables needed regular replacement, and the gears were stiff. It had an old fashioned gear stick - just a stick with a knob at the end. Reverse was a bugger to get to - it required some force. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Ugly ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The car, really. It was an ugly off-white. It was an ugly car. It had ugly brown poo coloured plastic seats. I couldn't wear shorts in the car in the summer (and me in shorts really IS ugly), since the seat would burn my legs. No status symbol, this car! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Slightly Amusing ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The instruction booklet contained such nuggets of useful information such as: "Do not attempt to iron the seatbelts." Damn! And I do like freshly pressed seatbelts with a nice sharp crease down the middle. "Do not drink the petrol; it is poisonous." There goes my evenings' entertainment out the window (that, if you recall, didn't shut properly anyway). I did NOT make those up! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The End Result, or, How I Finally Got Rid of This Heap-o-Junk ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Finally, the car wouldn't go - the alternator had completely packed up. Even if I could have started it, it wouldn't have stopped. The brakes were non-functional. By this time, any repairs would have cost far more than the car was worth. Have you ever seen those small ads in local papers that say 'CARS WANTED FOR CASH - any car considered?' They lie. People wanted ME to pay so that they could take the Lada away. I sent an email around work - £10 CAR! No-one wanted it. Finally, a mate of my boss, who runs a garage, took it away for me, for free. Remember, because of the lack of working brakes, it needed a solid tow bar. I asked what happened to it. Apparently, it was donated to a local fire station so that they could set it alight and practise putting car fires out. A fitting end, I felt. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Comic Relief - Lada Jokes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A man walks into a garage and says, "can I have a windscreen wiper for my Lada?" The mechanic replies "sure, fair exchange". What do you call a Lada with two exhausts? A wheelbarrow. What do you call a Lada with a sunroof? A skip. Oh, how I laughed! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BUYER BEWARE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Don't buy this car! Thank you for your kind attention, now go and enjoy driving a PROPER car!
My first car was a Lada Riva - it was a lovely distinctive beige colour - fashion cred nil points! My sister got a Lada at the same time - but hers was an estate (I was a little envious). However, my Lada was reliable and got me about. I remember the steering was extremely heavy - a bit like driving a tank - my arm muscles developed nicely. Other down sides to having a Lada were the obvious lack of cred. At the time I worked with young people. I remember I had some small blue cushions on the back seat (from my boyfriends scrapped Honda). If I gave any young men a lift in my car - if they dared to get in - they would hide their faces behind the cushions., to avoid being spotted by anyone they knew. Also I remember it was very cold in my car - you felt the seasons - although it handled well in the ice and snow (face it it was made for Russian weather!) - my breath often threw out a cloud of haze. These minuses were outweighed by the pluses. Due to it's sort of lego land look the Lada gave me the confidence to "have a go" machanics. Well I was under the thought that my little Russian car was probably designed to be fixed with a few spring clips and a roll of gaffer tape (carried in my tool kit in the boot). Also it was NEVER broken into or tampered with. As I lived in a high car crime area this was the best bonus around. I often visited the most notorious areas of the city due to work. I never lost one ounce of concern over wether my car was being broken into while I worked (often late into the night). Since then I have had 2 major break ins to my car at work and 2 other break ins. Another plus was the strength of the body work - amazing. I had a run in with a taxi cab - I won't go into the details. But to say I hit the cab as I pulled out of a junction. The taxi cab received a dent in the side and a few scratches - while I was left with hardly a mark. Then my boyfriend backed out into the road and a `boy r acer' in his dad's escort hit him. I heard the screech and smash from inside the house! I went out to inspect the dameage to my baby! Lada had a small dent in the rear bumper - Escort had the whole of the front ripped off with ligths smashed all over the floor!!!! Oooops I don't think daddy would be pleased! My Lada went every where with me - we travelled the length of England. It's final trip was it's greatest swan song. It took us down to Glastonbury Festival. I had vowed to run my Lada into the ground - rather than spend wads of cash in keeping it giong - it only cost me £150 after all. It was a hot summer. We had a pass to drive into the site being with the performers. The luxury of parking next to your tent. We filled the boot with larger - the intention was to sell some to get some cash - I think we sold about 6 cans in the end - it was far too hot to carry cans around to sit and sell and miss out on all the music and views! Lada was in a sorry state - a little rattley when it ran. I didn't know what was up with it and wasn't about to find out. I had to keep stopping all the way there and back to fill it up with oil. On our return I took it into a garage to be told that the timing chain had stretched, broken then ripped a hole in the engine side. There was no hope to revive my baby - it would cost more than the purchase price. I rang a few palces and she went for scrap. I remember at the time wishing I'd spent more thought getting rid of my Lada. There was a programme on not long afterwards about how Rusia was paying upto £150 per car to ship them from the UK to Russia for spares. I felt a little ripped off by the £25 I got from the scrappers - but in the back of my mind I hoped they had really ripped me off, and sent her home to Russia where she belonged. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Aefra the Motors category guide has come up with the next writing challenge! If you want to take part, please enter Cars of Memory in the title and include the following paragraph: This review is part of the Cars & Motorbikes of Memory challenge where members are asked to write about cars/motor bikes which bring back memories. ** dooyoo say they will hurry through any item requests. If they are flagged "Motors" they will see they go through as quickly as possible. They do ask that they not be "In General" but a specific make/model of vehicle. Any which have consumer information will be eligible for crowns.
This is the first opinion I've written of cars I haven't owned, or driven properly. But I feel nostalgic reading other people's reviews of these Russian relics, so I have been moved to put finger to keyboard, as it were. When I was growing up, my parents were (and still are) amazingly tight with their money. Not towards me or my brother, just in terms of spending on themselves. My dad has always had company cars, but after my little brother came along my mum needed some transport to ferry the family around, for short distances. We always had the backup of the old man's Avenger/Marina/Cortina/Ital/Sierra for longer trips. Now, sensible folks would have bought an old Mini, Escort or even something French (as people were starting to break down their resistance to secondhand foreign cars - this was about 1981), but my grandfather had an acquiantance who was in the motor trade, and I mean really dodgy "under-the-arches" stuff. He had a 1977 Lada 1200 Estate, on an S-plate, for sale. My dad bought it, reasoning it was a lot cheaper than any other car of the same age, and better for getting the kids in. My earliest memories of being at our current house, with the luxury of a built-in garage and driveway at the front, was of my father touching up the rust and swearing at it. It was dead easy to work on, he told me later. It would run on 2-star fuel, which was the cheapest you could get in the days we were all happy to get brainache from the lead, and didn't let us down. The interior was seriously basic, though, and the black vinyl seats would burn your legs in summer. There was plenty of room for our dog in the back. I vividly remember the steering wheel had an inner chrome ring for the horn, in the manner of 50s and 60s cars. Anyhow, my folks must have been smitten and, because the village garage had a Lada franchise, my mum got her second car in April of 1986, her first new one and, to top it all, it was of course another Lada. This time we got a Riva 1200L saloon in bright red with a tan vinyl interior. C125 RDP as I recall. Anyway, this too was reliable, but slower than slow, and the interior build quality was totally lacking, in the manner of the previous one. However they are no doubt great cars for those who do their own servicing, especially as the owner's handbook is possibly the most comprehensive I have ever seen and tells you how to do all manner of roadside repairs. My parents always got it serviced at the local dealer so it was irrelevant to them. The only modification they made was to buy a set of really ugly hubcaps, the centres of which used to fly off with alarming regularity. The abiding memory of this car is the day in mid-1988 when my dad changed jobs and had to take his old company car, a C-reg Ford Sierra, back to the office. The car wouldn't start, so we towed it into the centre of Reading with the trusty old Lada. The looks on people's faces! The Riva also survived a low-speed ramming from a Transit minibus, and actually came off better. The metal on these cars certainly is thick. In 1990, despite the car having only done about 8,000 miles, my parents once again decided it was time for a change. At that time Lada UK were running a national newspaper advert for the "Select" range. You could get a 1300 Riva Select for £3,333, or the new 1100 Samara Select for £4,444. My dad bought the Samara, in white, for my mum's birthday, and parked it on the driveway with a ribbon round it. Up until that point, my mother had never test-driven a car she had bought, much less haggled over the price. Luckily her eldest son has not inherited these traits... The Samara was an altogether better car than the Riva, but still a way behind the more modern competition. What was more worrying was that Skoda, who had recently released the Favorit, were slowly pulling themselves up the market, and had a much better car to be honest. My dad fitted a Goodmans stereo from Argos, which was (predictably) crap, but at last broke up the tedium of a journey in the thing. The nylon seat trim was very itchy. Once again, the interior build quality was terrible, with sharp flashings on the plastic mouldings, and small bits like air vents and speaker grilles would regularly fall off. But once again it never let us down. By this time, though, both me and my brother would get fed up of being seen in the thing. I actually forwent lifts to and from school (about 2 miles each way) and walked. In 1993, when I was 16, I for one had had enough, and managed to persuade my parents that, as I was going to be learning to drive in less than a year, I was not going to be driving "the tank". Slightly selfish I suppose, but for once my parents saw the light and agreed with me. They looked at a basic Citroen AX brand new, which they liked, but couldn't raise more than £1,200 in part-exchange for the Samara, despite it being only 3 years old with less than 6,000 miles on the clock. Although cheap to buy, these cars depreciate like crazy. In the end we came full circle, as the local Lada dealer, where my mother had bought her two previous cars, had a choice of two Rover Metro 1.1S 5-doors, both nine months old, both with 6,000 miles on the clock, both with metallic paint, and both up for £5,995, a saving of £3k on new. My mum took a test drive (her first ever!) in the grey one, but didn't like the beige interior, so we bought the silver one with a grey interior. I was dead chuffed. The Samara was part-exchanged for £1,750, put up on the forecourt for £2,995 the next day, and was gone by the end of the same week. Nearly ten years later and we still have the Metro (and it's only just reached 45,000 miles!). Ladas, of course, stopped being sold in this country in about 1996 when they could no longer conform to emissions constraints. There was talk o f using GM fuel injection systems to get round this, but it never happened - probably because marques like Kia, Proton and Skoda took their market with better cars. Our local dealer brought in Protons as a sideline to the Lada franchise, then switched recently to Hyundais. My father still speaks with reverence about the Ladas (especially as you never see them anymore), citing the fact that they were a much safer bet than a secondhand car in the old days. Nowadays though cars are generally better-built and more reliable, but people like my parents will always go for a cheap new car to minimise risks. My mother, despite driving the heavy Ladas for many years, now refuses to drive anything bigger than her beloved Metro. How times change...
I bought this car in april 2000, i had alot of friends and family laughing at it, but it was only £100 with tax and mot, it had done 33000 miles and had just got the timing belt done, it also had loads of history. I think this must be the best car i have ever owned as its so simple to maintain, being a student i needed a car that didnt have loads of electrical items, computers, and fancy gadgets to go wrong, sadly its a little bit the other way round, as its got no power steering, no automatic choke, and its got the old rotor arm and points ignition. Look out for rust everywhere, especially the front wings, a gearbox whine is normal, but a knocking engine might be bad, the interior trim is fragile and easily damages, and the seats are hard and uncomfortable. The best version is the 1.5 litre estate, as it can be sold on for what you paid for it, i would recommend buying a pre-1993 car as cars from 1993 have a catalytic converter, and might be harder to get through its mot. But its quicker than my old 1.3 escort which is the same size engine. Its been very reliable and very cheap to service, dont use garages as they charge more than the cars worth, buy a manual and do the work yourself. Its also very roomy with enough space for 5 people, and i can fit a child seat very easily because the rear doors open quite wide. It runs on unleaded and four star without needing the engine tuned, which has been a great help when you run low on petrol. Its very cheap on the insurance, as i am 22 and i only pay £418 fully comp. It can start in all weather conditions down to minus 50c. Its now on 62000 miles and has only needed an alternator, and alternators do break on these cars. I think this is a car perfect for a student or diyer, as its very easy to maintain, parts can be bought new cheap (£10 plus postage for a clutch plate), and what other rear wheel drive car can be bought for £100. 10 out of 10 for it.
It's the Summer of 1991. In a small village in North West Kent, a young man named Iain is nearing his 17th birthday and immensely looking forward to learning how to drive, as most of his friends live a long way away, public transport is appalling and his parents refuse to pick him up from a nightclub 20 miles from home at 3am. Iain's father, who I'll call Dave, as that's what his parents called him, is preparing to buy his son a second hand car to assist him in his learning how to drive, knowing how excited Iain is about the prospect. Little spins round the car park at the local Asda on a Sunday for now, and on the roads between lessons once he's turned 17, that sort of thing. Dave knows someone who has a low mileage, ten year old Lada Riva 1500 Estate that they don't need anymore, and are prepared to sell to Dave for £150. There's an interesting/amusing story behind it, but that's for another day, (although I may add it later upon request). Iain is mercifully unaware of this. One Sunday afternoon in the August of 1991, Dave and his wife disappear in the car and when she returns, he does not. Iain is upstairs, probably reading a book, as that's the sort of thing he does. Dave later returns and announces to his son that he has bought him a car. Iain dashes outside to the driveway and, although his heart sinks when he discovers what his father's definition of "car" actually is, he remains outwardly polite and grateful. And cries when he's alone. The car, which having only about 35000 miles on the clock was in fairly good condition remained in the drive like an insult. It was a huge looking thing, although dwarfed by the Renault 21 estate that he was driving, and the Renault 18 estate which belonged to my mother. But when you're learning to drive in a Nissan Micra, it's very big and scary looking!! In a colour that can only be described a diarrhoea yellow, with a chocolate brown interior, this car was never going to be ahead, or even pushing for the lead in the style stakes! The interior seats were soft, a little too soft, and horribly scratchy on bare skin. Although, to be fair, they didn't heat up to burning point in the summer. They were the only thing that didn't, however, as the Lada Riva Estate featured a black vinyl roof which caught the sun and overheated the car beautifully. Especially the nice, er I mean HUGE, plastic steering wheel. The only other place I have seen a steering wheel that size was on a bus. On the plus side, it meant that you had something to hang on to should anything go wrong. And, believe me, you were expecting EVERYTHING to go wrong at pretty much any second. Extras? Well, it had a radio - Longwave and Medium Wave only, no tape player, and a fan/heater. Now think of all the other extras on your own car. Got them all? Did the Lada have them? Nope!! Power steering, sunroof, electric anything, airbags, automatic choke? You guessed it...nope!! Although much of this was due to the age of the car, and I believe that later models did include some of these features. And to drive? For a 0-60 speed, you needed to give it three weeks notice. In writing! Iain passes his test and, on occasion, drives the car to school. And gets the mickey taken almost permanently. It's a tank, it's in a disgusting colour, and it's a Lada!! In it's time, it develops a hole in the exhaust and sounds like something far more impressive. So people turn to look. And see you driving a Lada. Street cred? Forget it, even the street won't talk to you now!! The car is swiftly named "Uriah the Heap" Readers of Dickens' "David Copperfield" and prog rock fans will understand, and readers of the Old Testament may recognise the name, too. Oh dear, you're thinking, another rant against Ladas. No, I gave the car two stars for a reason. The reason is this. I have many happy memories of Uriah. And I never had that much street cred to start with, so it wasn't a great loss. Uriah ran beautifully for 2 years. He did as many miles in the time I owned him as he had done in the previous ten, and was driven (I suspect) harder and faster than he ever had been before. Uriah did (or so the speedo said) 95, despite the specs in What Car? saying he should have had a top speed of 80. I beat a VW Golf GTi away from every set of lights on the Maidstone one way system, much to the driver's disgust. I out-accelerated a VERY surprised Ford Sierra driver down a motorway slip road. And I did £1000 of damage to the back of an Austin Metro without even denting Uriah's bumper. And in one memorable, wet day in Milton Keynes after a Guns 'N' Roses gig, Uriah, being rear wheel drive and very heavy indeed, drove sure-footedly out of a wet and muddy field whilst everything else just slithered sideways. It was a great moment!! Ladas were built to withstand temperatures of -28 C in Siberia, so starting in the morning was never a problem. It passed 2 MOT's without a hitch and in 2 years, needed only 1 repairs - a burst water hose and a new clip. Total cost of repairs in two years...86 pence! Being an estate, it would take 5 people and all their kit to play in a hockey match, or anywhere you wanted to go. Sadly, in September 1993, he died of sudden and terminal brake problems. It would have cost more than he was worth to fix, and he had to go. But we did get £25 for scrap! Uriah was not fun to drive, and he looked dreadful, but he was cheap, reliable and efficient, which was all you need for a first car. I cannot speak for other Ladas, but I would never drive one again, due to the memories of having the mickey taken at school - especially by my Chemistry teacher, Mr Smith, who drive a PROTON! And the jokes would always be enough to put you off. These days I have a F ord Fiesta I am very happy with, and Lada stopped selling on the UK market several years ago. <br>But as for Uriah, 10 years on I still have vivid memories of him. I will never forget (and my school friends will never let me forget!) owning and driving him and, although I wouldn't want him back, he will always be a part of my life I will look back upon with fond memories. Which is more than some of my ex-girlfriends can say!
Oh dear, oh dear...I once had a shiny red Lada Riva estate. Estate - that was the good bit. Being a gigging musician I could fit loads of stuff in the boot and everywhere else. I?m afraid, although it was really well maintained I just lost count of the number of times the AA had to be called either to get me started or to get me moving again. When enough had become enough in late 1998, I thought OK Ill sell it and get about a grand. A grand for a k-reg car - no problem. It went for 300 pounds to a bloke with a flatbed truck who took it away to Jamaica of all places. This was because it could be mended out there by any Rasta with a spanner (and I quote!). It?s probably been converted to run on Rum as well. It did actually have a little bit of grunt probably thanks to the 1.5 engine, but with no power steering you had to be fit to drive one. The gearbox was like stirring a bag of bricks and the electrics were constantly on the blink. Oh, but you can get them serviced at your local dealer can?t you? Where?s the nearest Lada garage to you then? So there you go, cheap to buy, cheap to insure, huge maintenance bills and no reliability whatsoever. I still see them for sale occasionally in the free car magazines you get in supermarkets, for about a grand: Is that a flatbed truck I hear approaching?
This is not a car I would normally consider buying, but as I needed transport while my insurance company sorted out paying up for my written off Nissan Sunny I bought a Lada Riva 1500 Estate as a stop gap. Having been used to driving a modern Japanese car this was like taking a trip back in time. The fact that the Riva is based on a ancient Fiat is obvious from the moment you get in. The layout of controls leaves a lot to be desired by todays standards, although the large seats are comfortable enough. When you come to drive it the steering is extremely heavy and takes a little getting used to. The 1500cc engine seems underpowered in comparison with more modern ones and acceleration is sluggish, not that you want to travel fast in this car, it just doesn't feel safe if you are used to up to date cars. To sum up the Riva is cheap to buy for a reason, it is way out of date and not up to comparison with todays cars. Having said that it basic enough for DIY maintenance and roomy enough for someone who just needs basic transport.
My Grandad is FANATICAL about Ladas!!! He has ALWAYS had a Lada, and the one he has currently is an M-reg maroon-coloured Riva, bought brand new in August 1994 for just £4,995 (the cheapest new car available at the time). It hasn't done too badly over the six years they've had it, but during the past year it has started to play up quite a bit. It has been in the garage a lot recently. As for the interior, well it's far more old-fashoined than my family's D-reg '87 Ford Orion! Who'd have thought an M-reg would be more old-fashioned than a D-reg?! The car looks very boxy from the outside and has an old fashioned vinyl roof! As for specification, the most exciting thing is the sunroof! There is nothing remotely like electric windows or central locking, like there is in our D-reg! It's very noisy and quite uncomfortable, although one advantage of it is, to quote my grandma "It's easy to get in and out of".