Things get harder for the humble Lada

  TopCat® 14:25 21 Oct 2009

Manufactured for 40 years in the town of Togliatti, Russia, and with a recently reduced workforce from around 100,000, it looks like the 'writing is on the wall' for the Lada plant. As the link video shows the potential loss of the town's main employer will be hard to take. click here

This will also be sad news for my elder brother, as he at one time owned several Ladas. I remember when he came down on a holiday visit to me in his latest brand new one and I was quite surprised it made it all way.

When he asked me to drive it and give my opinion I really didn't want to hurt his feelings. The power performance was very poor and I was up and down the gearbox constantly to maintain decent forward motion! When he said the fuel consumption was much higher than expected I decided to take a look at its 'power plant'.

I found the distributor locking clamp was loose allowing the ignition timing to fluctuate wildly. The contact breaker points gap was way out as well. Then, on examining the carburettor and manifold I saw there was a restrictor plate fitted. Took this out from under the carb, checked further and tuned up the engine properly and then, with brother aboard, did a road test.

You wouldn't have thought it was the same car, not that it performed like a Ferrari of course, but it was certainly very much better. My brother was ecstatic at the difference, and as we passed our local Lada garage, he actually threw up a snappy salute! He drove home a much happier man with his faith restored in all things Russian, but I'm afraid red never was my favourite colour! :o) TC.

  peter99co 16:13 21 Oct 2009

came with a tool kit that woild allow a complete rebuild.

My mate's had a twin carb. He had to sell it when it got a leak in the heater water pipe which was put through the body in such a way it chafed a hole in it.

  Chris the Ancient 16:17 21 Oct 2009

My memory of those Ladas goes back a while (I never had one).

What happened to two people I knew was... if they went down a long hill and needed to use the brakes a lot, when they got to the bottom of the hill, the brakes jammed on. Wait 20 mins and they would be OK again. Weird!

  oresome 16:33 21 Oct 2009

Purchased mine new in 1976. Lada 1200 saloon in red. Purchase price £1285.00.

After the Reliant Regal van conversion I part exchanged for it, it was sheer luxury. Fitted a towing bracket and pulled our first trailer tent and then caravan with it. Not sparkling performance with the caravan on the back, but it got us to where we were going.

  Picklefactory 18:20 21 Oct 2009

I also had one, as a youngster, when I had just begun earning sufficient money to afford a car of my own (This was my 2nd), I have to say I was chuffed with it. It was a step up from my 1st car, an old Mk II Viva that had sat on bricks in a garden for over 12 months before I bought it for £50. The Lada was so much more comfortable than that old banger, I was really happy with it. It never let me down once, and yes, the toolkit was brilliant, loads of spanners, I still have a few somewhere.

Shame, I wouldn't touch one now, but they have a place in my opinion. (And I don't mean a scrapyard before you all start)

  lofty29 19:07 21 Oct 2009

Were they not an early Fiat design bought from Italy.

  Picklefactory 19:26 21 Oct 2009

Yeah I think so, as was the Polski Fiat and FSO from Poland, they all looked pretty similar.

  oresome 19:53 21 Oct 2009

The Lada was based on the Fiat 124. Differences included a strengthened floor pan, larger battery and a starting handle to cope with Russian winters.

Advice in cold weather was to turn the headlights on first, before attempting to turn the engine over. This warmed the battery and increased the terminal voltage.

  Chegs ®™ 23:54 21 Oct 2009

Had one(1600 cc "S")and swore I'd never even drive another lada.Steering so heavy you needed lever the wheel around with both hands,accelerator pedal so high I had to fit a wooden floor in & drive in cowboy boots as it was so painful on the ankle after just a few minutes,electrics would decide to overcharge the battery(boiling out the electrolytic)one day,and not charge the battery at all next journey,ignition switch internals melted so had to get my passenger to hold the key in the on position whilst we drove the 40+ miles back home,rusted faster than an alfasud(impossible! I hear you all shout)and finally expired with the front wheels departing the chassis as I drove over a "level" crossing(always struck me how this particular means of running rails across roads was so stupidly named as most crossings I've driven over are far from level)The single plus I can recall was the heaters in a lada are powerful enough to cope with deepest siberia so had no problems dealing with UK winters.

  al's left peg 22:53 22 Oct 2009

That is brilliant tale, I laughed out loud at it as a former workmate owned one (county cream colour). Everything you mentioned, he experienced apart from the wooden floor and cowboy boots. I remember the battery boiling on his and stripping the paint away from the underside of the body.
A few years ago there was a Russian ship in at Blyth harbour in Northumberland unloading coal I think for the power station at the Alcan smelter. The crew had been round all the scrap yards and were taking old Lada Rivas back to Russia. The sight of these wrecks basically perched anywhere on the deck was comical.

  TopCat® 23:11 22 Oct 2009

exodus back home to Russia. TC. click here

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