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Thread: Re Lada Niva

  1. #1

    Re Lada Niva

    Has anyone got experience of this russian offroader?
    I always fancied one after I saw them being fine tuned for suspension tweaks in Porsches development department in Weissach in Germany 1977 (I worked on the 928).
    Martin

  2. #2
    Nivas were our vehicle of choice in Khazakhstan getting around the wellsites for oilfield work.
    Good off road capability in all weathers and locals could fix them with a screwdriver and baling twine.
    Which was good as they broke down all the time!
    I never make the same mistake twice.

    I make it five or six times.

    Just to be sure.


  3. #3
    I had a Niva Cossack for a few years. It was a jolly good little vehicle - basic but tough.
    If it had had a large diesel engine instead of the rather puny petrol one I think it would have been very popular as an off-roader. As it was, it could go pretty much anywhere.
    Could be a bit tricky to start at times - didn't like cold damp mornings very much. (What's the weather like in Russia?).
    Biggest fault was sudden braking - an emergency stop would invariably put it into a nasty spin!

  4. #4
    They are a hard little motor off road built from the ussr so more off road than on bone rattlers but seen them pull out RR and land Rover even with them skinny wheels ,they leak they smell they are bloody good for the price on par with Suzuki for my 2p worth ,would I have one no !! why I like heat and dry feet

  5. #5
    Brother had one that he actually went to Russia to buy many moons ago, probably in the 80s. Basic little truck with no fancy interior but would go wherever he pointed it. It even had a very crude gas conversion on it but the pipes used to freeze.

  6. #6
    I'd mirror what has been said, My father had one and it was excellent offroad and actually very reliable, the only small downside was the on road ride was a little harsh - but no worse than a landrover series!

    regards,

    gixer

  7. #7
    I noticed during boar trips they are very popular in Croatia too... amazing the places they can get them, 4 up and with a load of dogs on laps too!

  8. #8
    My parents, who, to my then teenage mind, lived in the English equivalent of Mordor such was its remoteness and lack of essential services, had a Lada Niva as a second vehicle for emergencies (such as getting to the nearest branch of Oddbins in a snow storm etc.). It had a very well designed 4x4 system and body work made of double-skinned battle-tank steel. Unfortunately, most of the main components were made of some kind of ersatz metal substitute and therefore everything broke constantly - it was lucky that they could be fixed with a hammer because spare parts were expensive and usually completely unobtainable.

    My overriding memory is that ours had a comedy manual choke knob that extended about 18" when pulled out - usually to no effect whatsoever as the battery was always flat and the brake drums seized at the slightest hint of moisture. School friends long suspected that I was the offspring of a Politburo apparatchik because the old man insisted on wearing a Russian bearskin ushanka hat when driving the damned thing.

  9. #9
    It set me thinking about the Niva because I had bought new in 1974 a Moskvitch panel van for 550 if my memory is good. I had awful earnings as a young draftsman at the time and it was the only reliable (new? car that I could afford) I was going through my teenage "poor downtrodden soviet system they need all the help we can give them phase" but it served me 100% reliable for 4 years then I got 100 for it. So it was no bargain in the end.
    Martin

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Adamant View Post
    My parents, who, to my then teenage mind, lived in the English equivalent of Mordor such was its remoteness and lack of essential services, had a Lada Niva as a second vehicle for emergencies (such as getting to the nearest branch of Oddbins in a snow storm etc.). It had a very well designed 4x4 system and body work made of double-skinned battle-tank steel. Unfortunately, most of the main components were made of some kind of ersatz metal substitute and therefore everything broke constantly - it was lucky that they could be fixed with a hammer because spare parts were expensive and usually completely unobtainable.

    My overriding memory is that ours had a comedy manual choke knob that extended about 18" when pulled out - usually to no effect whatsoever as the battery was always flat and the brake drums seized at the slightest hint of moisture. School friends long suspected that I was the offspring of a Politburo apparatchik because the old man insisted on wearing a Russian bearskin ushanka hat when driving the damned thing.
    Ha ha! Reading your post I thought my brother had joined the site!
    My parents drove ladas through the 80s and 90s, and my dad was a big bloke with a rusky beard and a penchant for wearing furry hats with floppy earflaps.
    As a teenager I didn't find it very cool, but with hindsight it was very practical - any car they owned, no matter how expensive, would get wrecked in the same amount of time, so they just bought a brand new lada every few years. Free servicing and no MOT to worry about, then back to the main dealer for a really good trade in.

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