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A Grand Monday: Lada Samara

Published 01 July 2019

The Samara was Lada’s attempt to modernise itself and compete with European hatchbacks, and was also the company’s first front-wheel-drive model. Engines were contemporary, too - belt-driven overhead cam units that were rough and ready, but also surprisingly sprightly. 

For a while, the Samara enjoyed reasonable success in the UK. It was more socially acceptable than the three-box Riva saloon and better to drive, but the interior was still cheap and fairly nasty, while the cheap nature of the car coupled to its fondness for corrosion means that it’s a very rare car now on UK shores. 

Lada Samara (5)

All of which makes this example something of a curiosity. Left-hand-drive and Hungarian registered, it has been in the same ownership for a decade and has recently had a full engine rebuild. Given the cult following that Soviet cars tend to attract these days, £699 isn’t off-the-scale for a rot-free example of what’s a crude but cool car.

Lada Samara (4)

We can’t help but think it’d be even cooler if it was badged as they were in Russia, though, as a Lada Sputnik. How awesome a name is that?


Gerald Rogers    on 2 July 2019

Used to sell these..great cars in the day. My ex boss still has a L Reg 3 door..1owner 26000 miles with full service history.

The Gingerous One    on 24 July 2019

my friend had one as a stop-gap car in the early-2000's, when she bought a new Ford KA the dealer said in no uncertain terms "when you pick the KA up from us, DO NOT leave us the Samara...". Still she got her £100 back no problem when it came to selling (I think she only paid that for it)

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