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Old 29th April 2011, 00:38   #1
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Talking Lada Niva 1.7

(disclaimer: the name of vehicle and engine spec sourced from wikipedia)

NIV(E)A FOR MEN

Lada Niva 1.7-20110428-18.43.07.jpg

There is really something unique about the soviets. Whether its the trans siberian railway, or the 6 engined Antonov 225, or Yuri Gagarin, or the Sukhois, somewhere they are known for hatke creations.
Big, heavy, long lasting and at times imposing, soviet products have an extremely controversial fanbase. People either love it, or love to hate it. But flirts just cannot fathom to ignore it.
And critics just love to hate it.

Remember Jeremy Clarkson's quote?

Quote:
"Communism is gone...its time to rip the world of its automotive legacy...that's how you approach the lada..."
Lada Niva 1.7-20110428-18.45.14.jpg

Mad petrolheads must be aware of the old LADA jokes and how people used to make a mockery of it, obviously accusing it to be a victim of cold war. Somehow I used to watch those offbeat episodes of top gear in which a Lada Riva and a Mosqwitch vehicle were raced against a ford focus and a DOG and how a dog defeated them on a drag race.....

Russian vehicles are equivalent of dinosaurs. Big, heavy bodies powered by pint sized brains. And the same goes for LADA vehicles, manufactured by autoVAZ. Don't expect me to be an expert in knowing about Russian vehicles, because I never really bothered to research on them...lost in the pages of history books.

Lada Niva 1.7-20110428-18.41.31.jpg

Today I was returning from Banarasi Das automobiles, a Tata Fiat dealer in panchkula who gifted me a banarasi paan as a token of goodwill and while I was having some good dose of banarasi paan heading towards McDonalds to have some burger at Mani Majra, Chandigarh, this "thing" caught my eye.

From far, I dismissed it for an old school dodge truck..but when I crossed the railing I was in for a rude shock....

"Khai ke paan banaras wala
Khul jaye band akal ka taala
fir to aise kare dhamaal
seedhi karde sabki chaal..."

ITS A LADA!...LALA..A LADA!

Lada Niva 1.7-20110428-18.44.21.jpg

I can understand my pint sized brain garbing like a buffoon but feeling like a romeo. Litrelly, I didnt knew a single thing about this vehicle. All I was told is that its a LADA vehicle with a petrol engine.

But somehow rats were jumping in my stomach...not because I was hungry for that king size big mac burger, but to drive this dinosaur. I didn't knew who it belonged to...but it was there at a local repair shop for some body tinkering. Somehow I got lucky again...that shop owner is the same person whom I met with a friend of mine last week when I was in Mohali phase 6. Then things were obvious. Ek drive to banni hi thi...

Lada Niva 1.7-20110428-18.43.56.jpg

There is something unique about this dinosaur. Its big (for a 2 door SUV), heavy and powered by a puny 1.7 4 cylinder petrol engine. (Information obtained courtesy wikipedia) The bonnet lock was not working, so I didn't bother to open the bonnet. Just took some quick pics before it was sunset and time for a drive.

I open the door....man..its heavy...so damn heavy..just like a dinosaur full of dino$$$$ from richie rich.

Lada Niva 1.7-20110428-18.46.57.jpg

Opening and closing it requires immense effort. Shut the door and you are greeted by a thunk you rarely get to experiance. This thing is SOLID. Just like a dinosaur.

Start the 60 hp carbeurated engine. It takes ages to start...like the cold winds of Siberia take their toll on vehicles. This vehicle doesnt have an aircon...just had a heater which was later removed. One thing that it has, a feature that will win it many fans is....
a fan.
Mounted on the B Pillar, this usha ka pankha is designed for all round 180 degree swiveling cooling, without the conditioned air, of course.

Lada Niva 1.7-20110428-18.42.45.jpg

This is an old tired late 1970s vehicle, and its left hand drive. Everything looks ulta. Finally after 7-8 cranks, this dino starts.

The engine is noisy, damn noisy like hell..something like a rattly old badly maintained motor of a water pump. Time to go for a quick drive...

Err..did I say quick drive? You must be kiddin'. 60 bhp for a car weighng well over 2.5 tonnes and you know the power to weight ratio....this dino is all about showing off. The steering is awfully vague and heavy and straightline is what it does its best.

Dont ask me about 0-100 or 100-0 or 20-80 or 40-100 timings. Its not for those people who care about acceleration. Because this dino is not really about acceleration. Its about ruggedness and a comfy cruiser, though its painfully slow. It struggles to reach 50, leave alone 100. And the fuel gauge was malfunctioning, so donno how much gas it had guzzled. Fuel economy should be come XXX. Litres per km.

Lada Niva 1.7-20110428-18.42.33.jpg

The long, truck like gear lever is equally responsible for truck like shifts-spindly and vague. This 4 speed box whines like a spoilt child and gives a perfect exercise for your right hand.
But this thing shines at one aspect. Ride quality. Built for rugged Russian farms and poor roads, this dino with its high ground clearence and firm suspension smothers everything that comes across on its path, mini sized rocks included. The alloys felt rugged and add character to the already imposing vehicle, along with balloon sized extra wide tyres. Not so about the tata 1510 bus taillights...

The side is where it looks best. Nicely proportioned, not too high, not too low, perfectly Soviet. But is it only me or that door handles that bear uncanny resemblance to the erstwhile 118 NE?

The short drive alongside of manimajra roads is over, and those 15 minutes can really bring a big smile about the size of a dinosaur, enough to scare away your typical office work timings. And its time to say goodbye and send the lada to la-la-land....

This vehicle is all about showing off, and doing it in a slow paced, old fashioned manner. Nothing can be said about its engineering skills though.

Because, slow and steady wins the race.

Last edited by sidindica : 29th April 2011 at 00:46.
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Old 29th April 2011, 01:08   #2
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

Lada in India, wow! Thats indeed a dinosaur on road. I am in Germany now and everyday when I used to leave office I would see this strange car with an emblem "LADA". That was the first time I ever saw that name. Inquisitiveness took its toll and I landed on wiki to learn its a Russian vehicle manufactured by AvtoVAZ, Russia. Infact Lada was the export name for the vehicles from its stable.
And to say the least, Russians could always make things which were built like tanks and highly over designed.
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Old 29th April 2011, 08:33   #3
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

I saw many of these in Armenia. And most are 4x4

Surprised to see them in my own country. Great.
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Old 29th April 2011, 10:35   #4
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

wow - where did the owner get this from?
I had the good (!) fortune of riding LADA Riva (not Niva) in Egypt a few times. They are all over being used as taxicabs.
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Old 29th April 2011, 11:48   #5
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

Before Russia broke out in to republics and Berlin wall came down there were many Lada's visible on Delhi roads due to "excessive" bonding that India had with Soviets.

Usually not the Niva but the Riva cars. Many were then sold through auctions for "imported" cars that were held regularly by State Trading Corporation of India (STC) from their Rajpur Road yard.
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Old 29th April 2011, 12:26   #6
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

Sid that's a find, the Lada, you do have a habbit of running into the more wonderful stuff on 4 wheels.

Actually this Lada though crude in many ways seems strong enough to be M540/M550 replacement, with almost no overhang, and if it had been introduced in India ages back it could have overrun the countryside.
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Old 29th April 2011, 13:10   #7
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
There is really something unique about the soviets. Whether its the trans siberian railway, or the 6 engined Antonov 225, or Yuri Gagarin, or the Sukhois, somewhere they are known for hatke creations.
Lol.

How'd you stumble upon the Lada?
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Old 29th April 2011, 16:38   #8
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Sid..What a find !!! I thought Ladas were only in India through Fiat 124 line up,but this is truly a beast and in such pristine condition.
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Old 29th April 2011, 17:54   #9
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

Sid, really a great find!
Now this fact would interest you and anybody to know more about ladla Lada, that Lada Niva is still in production vehicle and Vladimir Putin owns one! Was searching about Lada Niva after reading this post and got to bump-in to a blog about it.
So here is the pic from Jalopnik.com.

Source: Link

Lada Niva 1.7-putin_lada_niva.jpg
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Old 29th April 2011, 19:22   #10
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

Now thats one hell of a pic. Awesome find. Never thought it could look so good and even better with Putin standing next to it in total style. Changes the impression of Lada permanently.
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Old 29th April 2011, 21:31   #11
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

If I recollect it correctly, the LADA factory was set up by FIAT and the design adapter for harsh Russian Winter (and bad roads). That is why the LADA reminds you of the FIATS of 60's - 124, 125 etc, and of course our NE118.

As was the norm in the communist era, the car shown with Putin, must be specially built unit, not an off the shelf production unit.

Last edited by Aroy : 29th April 2011 at 21:33.
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Old 29th April 2011, 22:04   #12
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

Quote:
Originally Posted by justwheels View Post
Lada in India, wow! Thats indeed a dinosaur on road. I am in Germany now and everyday when I used to leave office I would see this strange car with an emblem "LADA". That was the first time I ever saw that name. Inquisitiveness took its toll and I landed on wiki to learn its a Russian vehicle manufactured by AvtoVAZ, Russia. Infact Lada was the export name for the vehicles from its stable.
And to say the least, Russians could always make things which were built like tanks and highly over designed.
There was on e in white colour in mahim near my old office, KAKAD ind estate. The owner was a docile maharashtrian who knew little about cars, he had braought it in 1990 from STC auction and was in exelent condition .

But due to total non use and neglect it got badly coroded and finally sold to a KABADI wala in year 2000 who towed it away. No whereabouts of the car after that.
I had seen its engine compartment during one of that owners do it yourself services , it is just basic but every portions are extra strong built
with care taken to locate all things in right places in the engine compartments.
Each and every part has names, alphabets in russian.

Last edited by IQBAL VEERJI : 29th April 2011 at 22:12.
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Old 1st May 2011, 18:01   #13
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Default Re: Lada Niva 1.7

saw this dino again at manimajra today being used by 4 teenage guys...looks like it belongs to someone in that area.
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Old 1st May 2011, 19:25   #14
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Sid, are you following the Lada or the Lada is following you. Either ways its nice to spot classics, and spotting the same one again is a nice feeling.
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Old 1st May 2011, 19:42   #15
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I did my MDS from Russian Federation in 2002-2004 ans was lucky to drive one of these. It's a very capable vehicle and made to go thru snow on roads, a common sight in russia. they are very reliable and damm cheap compared to other products.
Their Volga is modern version of Ambassador and used by politicians.
They also have a car which is almost same as our 118NE.
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