Lada 1200, 1300, 1500 and 1600 (1970 – 1984) Review

Lada 1200, 1300, 1500 and 1600 (1970 – 1984) At A Glance


+Simple to work on with the best stanard-fit toolkit you'll ever encounter, rugged, essentially reliable, roomy and well equipped in the top models

-Stodgy to drive, rare in the UK, and you can buy much more capable cars for the same money

The Soviet government inked a deal with Fiat to assist setting up a new factory to build its then-current 124. As donor cars go, it was perfect - the 124 was good to drive, powered by a range of sporting twin-cams and had plenty of room inside. The factory that was set-up near Samara in Russia, and was called Togliatti (after Palmio Togliatto, a high ranking Italian Communist). The factory ended up being the largest in Europe, with iron ore coming in one end, and cars emerging from the other.

The  VAZ 2100-series cars it churned out became the Soviet Union’s best-seller by a country mile. They were rechristened the Lada for export markets, and soon picked up a useful market share thanks to low prices and high equipment levels. Stodgier than the Fiat to drive, and powered by more rugged engines, it was blessed with the best toolkit in the business, Ladas have their fans despite being laughed at by most sane people, and are a left-field choice for non-conformists.