The Lada Riva Story
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My enduring image of the Lada Riva from the late 1980s is an old-fashioned car that people bought because it was cheap. With it being the butt of many jokes, it was about as exciting as Steve Davis. But this is like judging a film you’ve missed the start of, that’s in a foreign language. The Riva was the first car for many Soviets, and over a 40-year history sold more than Ford’s Model T. So just where did this car come from? And why was the USSR hawking it for all it was worth in the UK in the 1980s?
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  • Big Car
    Big Car

    Erratum: Smirnoff vodka is a western product, not Russian.

    • Markku Pesonen
      Markku Pesonen

      @soydechileyque Unfortunately, I have never visited Chile, You have very beautiful country too. I have visited South America only to Brazil. There, the obligatory alcohol was Cachaça. Sometimes I order it to my local alcohol shop because it is available only from storage in Helsinki and I live in Arctic Circle Rovaniemi. Unfortunately there is only Pitú Cachaça now in storage and it is like Diesel. I hope I'll get better Cachaça again someday. I don’t remember cocktails anymore because it’s been a while since I visited there in 2006 and 2009. The best beer I thought was Bohemia there. If I visit in Chile i will taste Terremoto En La Piojera for sure. If I want to make it here I think that fermented white wine will be difficult to find. Maybe normal Chilean wine will be OK to use?

    • soydechileyque
      soydechileyque

      @Markku Pesonen THEN TRY THIS irbin.info/loft/fy-lm-h-y/k8mAh4mxsXCPt3M.html WARNING: IT'S SO GOOOOD!!!! XD

    • soydechileyque
      soydechileyque

      YES SIR. AND THE ERISTOFF IT'S PRODUCED IN CHILE. WITH POTATOES XD

    • R.a. Wheeler
      R.a. Wheeler

      One could be forgiven.. it's Vodka. Nobody makes a good Vodka quite like the Russians. Vodka and mortar.

    • J-エリコ
      J-エリコ

      @David Hollenshead could you sell that to me

  • dav dave
    dav dave

    I drove a Moskvitch van in the 1970 =- It was indestructible as we apprentices tried our best to destroy it. I've still got the extensive tool kit which I nicked.

  • TechGuy YT
    TechGuy YT

    My favorite car brand is Lada

    • TechGuy YT
      TechGuy YT

      I will buy a Lada when I learn to drive

  • v v
    v v

    Remember seeing them when foreigners visited Romania. As a kid I found them exo

  • Kajpajepolavailable
    Kajpajepolavailable

    Great Italian engineering from the 60s. When BMWs and Toyotas were made for the poor. After 124 and 125 did their job in the West, FIAT still managed to sell them to commies who could not make a proper car by themselves.

  • rami elias kremesti
    rami elias kremesti

    No diesel, no turbo, no BS... i love the Lada

  • KrisRaps
    KrisRaps

    This Car Is Called LADA Only For OUTSIDE OF USSR, Inside Everybody Called This Car A Žiguļi

  • Richard K MuseVid-Metal RVREVO
    Richard K MuseVid-Metal RVREVO

    Never seen a Lada taxi in the 40 plus years i lived in New Zealand.

  • theatheobhv
    theatheobhv

    Thanks you for the video. My first own car was a red Lada 1200 estate, bought 2nd hand in the mid 80es. I payed 700 DM (around 180£ ) for a 7 year old car with 7 month „TÜV“ (MOT). I was very happy with that car, it took my an my girl around Europe in the summer of ˋ87. Only once Inhalt a problem, in the middle of Spain. With a Russian car. Fortunately the Spanish Seat was the same as my Lada, so I got a cheap and quick repair. BTW, my next car was a Mini 1000, I’d love a Mini-Story.

  • Nickname Nick
    Nickname Nick

    amazing car!

  • soydechileyque
    soydechileyque

    IN CHILE LADA WAS A FUNNY CAR. HEAVY LIKE A TANK. STRONG LIKE A TANK. HARD LIKE A TANK. BUT THE PEOPLE LOVES THE LOW COST OF MAINTENANCE. GOOD ENGINE 1.2 WITHOUT SOPHISTICATIONS. THOUSANDS OF STORIES BEHIND THE WHEEL. GREAT MEMORY.

  • Appu Joseph Jose
    Appu Joseph Jose

    Premier 118NE in India

  • Roger Hudson
    Roger Hudson

    You could have mentioned the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky who somehow (?!) managed to take control of VAZ before escaping to the UK.

  • Ab Ben
    Ab Ben

    Lad is FIAT 124 copy!!!

  • Richard Que
    Richard Que

    In China it was call me pao car or bread bun car.

  • RonJohn63
    RonJohn63

    15:43 Angola was, and Cuba still is firmly Communist.

  • Simone Gaeta
    Simone Gaeta

    Zhiguli it's a fancy name indeed if you know why they've chose it

  • manofweed1
    manofweed1

    Weren't they just a mid sixties Fiat with a different name ?

    • 69 is a great number
      69 is a great number

      Yes and no

  • R.a. Wheeler
    R.a. Wheeler

    To me the early cars looked like a 63' Plymouth Valient. One thing is for sure if you've owned a Lada, you've litterally owned every model. The one model. Very typical for Soviet Union. Women and men litterally had one choice for deodorant... Talcum and it took no less then a year to get it after you've ordered it. Amazon would be a mind blower to a Soviet.

  • Al Lex
    Al Lex

    Ils cars were artistic... they were Beauties

  • Belznis
    Belznis

    Actually there were not many cars in the soviet union. There were times when people waited in lines to get a car. The choices were - moskvitch, zaz, lada and then much later there was lada niva and others. Our Latvian family had ladas in various periods and I think the first car was an old moskvitch 401. In the 90's we had that wagon type lada. You basically did not have much choice. In the 90's people started buying all kind of used European cars as we gained independence. They were not looking back and destroying soviet cars in pranks. They looked so boring in comparison. These days people will restore and sell them as there is a collectors market. The doors were painful - a lot of people got their fingers trapped while getting out and someone (usually kids) slamming the doors. Lost many fingernails myself.

  • Dave Ross
    Dave Ross

    I had a mate who bought one in the late seventies. Always remember him showing me the huge toolkit which came with the car. Was not very long before he found out why it had such an extensive toolkit. LOL.

  • puiul galbenus
    puiul galbenus

    very good. the 1200 went everywhere.

  • Not Me Not Me
    Not Me Not Me

    Q. Why do Lada’s have heated rear windows? A. To keep your hands warm when you’re pushing it. Q. What do you call a Lada with a sunroof? A. A skip.

  • Cascaret That's right
    Cascaret That's right

    ladas, are the police cars in, Cuba.

  • ALM
    ALM

    I worked for a short time in a Lada dealership. Riva's already had rust under the bonnet when they were sold brand new.

  • MrNohab
    MrNohab

    We had 2 LADA, it was a very good and reliable car compared to their era! They are still unbeatable in their category in the Rally racing!

  • J-エリコ
    J-エリコ

    also this means that they should've gone with renault

  • J-エリコ
    J-エリコ

    i like the 124 better. less weight.

  • supersonicsegax1
    supersonicsegax1

    I’d buy a lada or any Russian car! They’re reliable as all hell and easy to fix!! I can give a shit less about driving something with 9 million features, just give me a basic car that goes like a Toyota!

  • ofnotandi
    ofnotandi

    I remember 1988-89. A Russian troller came into harbor in my little town and bought Lada's for Vodka. Pallettes of Vodka. They didn't want any other cars and they didn't really seem to care about in what shape they where. This happened a few times after that. People would buy Ladas knowing this. Great cars for the price back then and when you where done you could turn them in for Vodka.

  • Matthew McRee
    Matthew McRee

    This was a really awesome historical look into an iconic car from the Soviet Union. It's a shame that the USSR broke up (most Soviet citizens didn't want it to happen as demonstrated in the 1991 referendums), and it wouldn't have happened had the US government kept its nose out of the post-Soviet transition process. Also, the Russian economy struggled in the mid to late 90s specifically because the US, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund forced "shock therapy" aka rapid privatisation on the Russian economy, which allowed Russian mobsters and corrupt government officials to purchase Soviet state assets at prices sometimes nearly one-hundredth of their real value. I'm not by any means a fan or advocate of the Soviet state socialist system, but it's undeniable that it had certain advantages in terms of rapid economic development - of course, only up until the point where the Soviet economy was developed and there was a need for better and more available consumer goods, which the hardliners in the Politburo were loathe to focus on. But despite what the prevailing narrative is, the USSR only spent as much as it did on nuclear weapons and military expenditures in response to continued aggression by NATO. The USSR wanted peace with the West and constantly tried to make peace with the US, but the US instead would introduce new technologies that enabled nuclear first-strike capabilities, then the USSR was forced to spend more money to keep up with these new technologies. If the US really had cared so much about Soviet citizens, it could have chosen to focus on peace with the USSR and the government could have focused more on production of consumer goods without military applications, and this would have improved the standard of living for Soviet citizens. But, of course, capitalism depends on expanding access to new markets, cheap labor, and raw materials, thus the capitalist nations of the world could never allow a socialist experiment to exist in peace, as if it succeeded too much, there would be mass working class demand for these capitalist nations to become socialist societies, and the more Socialist economies existed, the fewer markets would be fully open to goods produced in the Western capitalist nations. The history of the Cold War is just a shame. The US could have worked with the USSR and it's likely that greater political and social freedom would have come to exist in the Soviet Union. Instead we fought for 50 years and lived in fear of nuclear annihilation for all that time. Sorry for the long rant, I just had a lot to say and it saddens me what Russia has become (a kleptocratic, corrupt, right-wing, nationalist oligarchy with falling living standards and mass alcoholism), and this didn't have to happen.

    • Get out.
      Get out.

      there's hardly anything more satisfying in the world than the fact that USSR collapsed))

  • James Nicholson
    James Nicholson

    The Larder was shit.

  • Daddy Benson
    Daddy Benson

    to quote kylo ren from star wars MORE!! we must make more of these vehicles Simple, cheap, and reliable is the way to go

  • Rob A
    Rob A

    A long time ago, when I was 16, I owned one of these things for about three days! Dad made me get rid of it because he wouldn't have a "god damn commie car" in his driveway! Lol What I remember was it came with a tool roll that you could almost rebuild it with. Too bad I never got a chance to drive it in one of our Canadian winters.

  • Jim Whitbread
    Jim Whitbread

    Still lots around in chernihiv Ukraine 30 year old cars still going strong

  • ukranaut
    ukranaut

    09:58 - As you can see, unlike capitalist countries, Soviet Union always had real equality for all the people.

  • Torben Hellborn
    Torben Hellborn

    thank you so much for a humorous factual based program

  • NICK T
    NICK T

    improved by the soviets... sure..

  • HENRI
    HENRI

    Im 14 and driving with 2106 sl

  • Mike Brodnicki
    Mike Brodnicki

    In 1987 I bought a Riva 1500 estate new. At its second service the carburettor and the alternator had to be changed, as they were faulty, under warranty ! The Lada dealer fitted a weber carburettor because it was more fuel efficient, reliable and tunable. A friend had a Ford Capri and he used to struggle to keep up with me. It was a good looking car in Nevada beige with a brown vinyl roof, I even fitted a sunroof. The car never let me down, driving to Germany and Ireland without problem. It was the only car I have ever owned though whose door lock would freeze in winter ! I would love another.

  • barriem davies
    barriem davies

    I had one ,,never let me down,, what ever the weather,,very reliable..

  • socialmeaslesinpartnershipwithvegetablepolice
    socialmeaslesinpartnershipwithvegetablepolice

    The Morris Minor was much better.

  • Istvan Berta
    Istvan Berta

    Inconcern of durability : OPEL ASTRA of'96

  • Istvan Berta
    Istvan Berta

    DonottelltheRO 80 ROTARY came from there!?

  • Istvan Berta
    Istvan Berta

    On2014about they offerd in Hungary a 2×4 station in the common look for 10th€

  • Wolf Hunt
    Wolf Hunt

    Well, what I can tell... We got a LADA 2107 - that was the best rugged car EVER. Yes, it had its flaws, but take an todays car - would you ever imagine to drive it with cca 150-200 kg of decorative sotnes through a plought field some 500 meters? No. Would you think to load the car with a gravel block of cca 450 kg and drive it over 120 km ? No. Oil change very random, mostly every 7-8 years... Well, THAT car can do a MASSIVE work if you respect it. I am a happy one that had experience with those cars and I would LOVE to get a chance to drive them again.

  • Chimera
    Chimera

    I bought a used 124 wagon in 1970, can't recall any major problems with it. In 1972 I traded it in on Chevy Vega, which was the worst car I ever owned.

    • 69 is a great number
      69 is a great number

      The Chevy Vega...

  • Kevin Jordan
    Kevin Jordan

    In NZ we did an exchange transaction of Ladas for butter,we all know who got the better deal,lol.Although to be fair some NZ motorists were very pleased with their Ladas,.I think so were their service agents,lol.

  • Rad Checkinski
    Rad Checkinski

    The 125 was NOT based on the 1300/1500. Only the 125P was based on the 1300/1500. The Italian 125 was a completely different animal.

  • That One American Dude Who watches AFL Footy
    That One American Dude Who watches AFL Footy

    Hey look, it’s that car I see in Russian Car Crash Videos

  • DB Cisco
    DB Cisco

    A better FIAT 124

  • bartjuhhh
    bartjuhhh

    My grandpa used to own a 1205 it always started and was a good car for towing stuff like trailers. He also bought a lada niva because it was a good car

  • Huw Jones
    Huw Jones

    I once drove a brand new 1982 Lada Riva, it was dark so I turned on the headlights, only to find my feet were illuminated more than the road. There were also a lot of wires hanging down from behind the dash. It was slow, with heavy controls and very coarse and noisy. There was a reason these were cheap.

  • Chris Wardlow
    Chris Wardlow

    I worked at Lada Cars at Carnaby Nr Bridlington East Yorkshire in the early 90s Great cars I had two and it was a great job,it employed a lot of local people so sad when it closed down.

  • Joseph D
    Joseph D

    I believe there was also a Lada 4 x 4 car called the "Niva" in the 1990's ?...I think it used a beefed up 1.7 litre engine or something...

  • Zagoreni02A
    Zagoreni02A

    Westerners usually insult eastern car but Riva was quite good car and reliable.

  • The Japan viewer
    The Japan viewer

    My parents had a Riva from 1982 to 1988 (In The Netherlands it was known as the Lada 2104). Unfortunately, the front fenders got rust holes after just 6 years and part of the aluminium rear bumper broke off when another car hit that part.

  • Atharva Toskar
    Atharva Toskar

    _this car shown in the PC Game 'Operation Flashpoint : cold war crises'_

  • J. Dana Clark
    J. Dana Clark

    I own 6 Ladas here in canada! Only 3 run...and only 1 is road legal.. I absolutely love driving them though.

  • T.B.G.
    T.B.G.

    At 9:52 - there are no windscreen wipers on that show model was to prevent pilfering, no doubt.

  • T.B.G.
    T.B.G.

    Trivia and Fact: In Canada from the mid-to-late 1980s, the Riva was sold as the Dennis Signet, after the distributor, Peter Dennis. More than a few had to be inspected and rebuilt once they arrived in Halifax, hence the tag 'Final assembly in Canada.' The name change likely was the result of boycotts of the Lada brand after the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. Many newspapers refused to run adverts for sales of Ladas, and some companies refused to allow Ladas to be parked in their car parks, leading many a few owners to switch Lada badges for Fiat badges!

  • G G
    G G

    The ladae was actually very pratical and sturdy! Especially the older ones? Western propaganda was mostly unsubstantiated?!

  • Abdi Piano
    Abdi Piano

    Lada was driver's car. No airbags. No ABS. No computer. Just one tough car

  • Eef Neleman
    Eef Neleman

    I'd like to get my hands on a bi-rotor Zhiguli. Never even knew they existed! Thanks for another nice history lesson!

  • Petar Dragiyski
    Petar Dragiyski

    My grandfather had one Zhiguli 2101 made in 1977 and imported from the USSR in Bulgaria, he was one of the very 1st people to get the car in his town. The car did more then 1.3 million kilometers in its life between 1977 and 2020. She ended sold for scrap as the rot started taking over and she went to the scrap yard not on a flatbed truck but by her own.

  • anthony perkins
    anthony perkins

    For many Brits, it was the affordable way for many to acquire a car, even though it was based on old Fiat technology (which it was) and wasn't the most brilliant but, what it lacks in brilliance, it more than makes up for in simplicity, even if it wasn't the most pleasant drive. A capable car in saloon and estate form that can (just about) manage 5 adults, take the holiday luggage, and get you there and back in one piece, although quality wasn't a strong point, with a marginal paint finish combined with heavy steering, exposed wires, sloppy fit and finish, and slightly flimsy trim which made it just as forgettable and lamentable as it was good value.

  • Tee Key
    Tee Key

    Forgot "Wolga" cars ?

  • Tee Key
    Tee Key

    For Spaniard "Zhiguli" souns like "gigolo", but for Poles it sounds like "zyganie" or "puking", but it was sold there.

  • garethrees100
    garethrees100

    I had one , it was slow, basic and a bit boring. But it got me from a to b. The only problems I had with it was the windows kept dropping down . A common problems I later heard.

  • Andrew Harrison
    Andrew Harrison

    Ladas arrived in Jamaica during the 1980s. I believe there was a deal to exchange bauxite for them. Up to this day, there are still Ladas being driven.

  • Jim K
    Jim K

    For Soviet car ads I dont think they even bothered to hire female models. They just grabbed any passing young girl and draped them over whatever three-box monstrosity they were trying to flog. Russian girls are ridiculously good looking after all.

  • Gena- F56 Cooper S
    Gena- F56 Cooper S

    When they all conked out in the U.K., they were shipped back to Russia where most are still running today . Long live the zhiguli !!

  • Tuppoo94
    Tuppoo94

    Lada was very popular in Finland in the past, because politics of the day meant that one could buy several of them for the price of one western car of similar size. Nowadays they're getting a bit rare, though, and basically no-one buys new Ladas anymore.

  • Admiral Bongo
    Admiral Bongo

    3:56 That's not how VAZ is pronounced. Let's try doing it by syllables: Volzh-skiy Av-to-mo-bil'-nyi Za-vod. Also, the last syllable in "Zhiguly" is stressed.

  • jumpfer Joy
    jumpfer Joy

    Really good video. Like many, I knew parts of the history, but nicely presented and interesting. Thanks

  • paul grubits
    paul grubits

    My 1st car was Lada 😊

  • jazzi p
    jazzi p

    My dad own one of these in the early 90s...cheap, reliable and cheerful. Not the quickest but it does the job taking you from A - B.....

  • Tomasnok
    Tomasnok

    Isn't that the Lika?

  • Constantin С
    Constantin С

    My worst car experience was with a Lada. But it was my first one. I was very surprised to hear from a British guy that they still had Ladas in 2005. I supposed they were difficult to maintain and find parts, but my British friend assured me it was not so. He said, we just pick parts that fall down from other Ladas on the road 😁

  • Jørgen W
    Jørgen W

    Niva next?

  • OMENASOSE7000 KTLAF
    OMENASOSE7000 KTLAF

    I WISHD ID HAD SOME DAY 177+583 DIFFRENT CARS FROM PONTIAC TO MERCEDES

  • Michael Doležal
    Michael Doležal

    It was a great car! Very reliable, though thirsty! Our Lada 21011 (1300 cc engine) stayed with us 25 years from 1978 to 2003. A 4500km trip to Ukraine was a final chapter in the ownership of the car.

  • paulparoma
    paulparoma

    It's pronounced "Zhih-goo-LEE."

  • nikoladd
    nikoladd

    My father had a 2104(Riva estate) and a Samara. The 2104 was not so tough in my opinion it's just that Fiats are even flimsier. Samara on the other hand was a beast. Extremely durable and it drove much better then the former Ladas. It literally had a square profile aluminum beam in it's front and rear bumpers. You could load it with a massive amount of weight and it would still go. Further it had massive amount of space. Samara had more cargo space then the 2104 estate, though the loading door was not very convenient. We measured it. Further Samara was waaay more comfortable then the former Ladas. Fit and finish was ... well not terrible, for it's time. Nowadays it's massively dated, but in the early 90s it was not that bad.

  • hanikrummi hundursvin
    hanikrummi hundursvin

    I learned to drive on a Lada Station 1.5L 5 speed left seat drive, dark purple. Driving straight I could wriggle the stearing wheel 30° each side from center before the wheels started to turn, but the car was remarkebly reliable. I like Lada´s.

  • mrhippy100
    mrhippy100

    Pretty easy to win all these awards when you are the only participate. Look out folks 1.6L 5 speed commin at ya. lol another good thing about these cars? is that you can go to a junk yard and have no problems finding parts. I really wouldn't mind having one as a ride to work as they seem to be reliable according to the comments and Russia has some pretty tough roads and winters IMO.

  • OMENASITRUUNA991 OMENASITRUUNA991
    OMENASITRUUNA991 OMENASITRUUNA991

    I WISHD ID HAD SOME DAY 2101-2108 LADAS

  • georgeh handley
    georgeh handley

    had 2 an estate first ,then the saloon. fantastic vehicles. didnt mind the jokes of the morons. it kept the price cheap. the saloon was eventually sold back to russia.

  • mathew green
    mathew green

    If you can do a 3 point turn in a Lada, then you should be able to drive any other car in the world with no problems! Nice video, thanks for posting.

  • goalfever007
    goalfever007

    Great content , I remember this car growing up in Jamaica my father’s company car was a LADA and my uncle owned one as well. Great memories thanks a million.

  • welshpete12
    welshpete12

    I was told when I was in Russia many years ago that the name Lada meant girl or young girl . But I don't know if that's true or no . I was in a long distance bus , outside Mosco. When a Lada passed us . One the back seat was a very fat lady . With someone setting by the side of her , that looked very odd with a beard . Taking a second look I could see it was a goat !

  • John Burns
    John Burns

    The only down side was that it never had a/c or power steering. Otherwise it would have kept selling in the west. It has a simple attractive design.

  • Steve GM0HUU
    Steve GM0HUU

    A square box that transports an average family, tough, reliable and cheap. That's why so many 124 variants were churned out.

  • Aryeh Yehudah Ajzenberg
    Aryeh Yehudah Ajzenberg

    Lada was very popular in Brazil in the 90s.... I asked my father, as my first car, for a LADA Jeep NIVA but he didn't agree.... ;-(

  • Listerstormable MK2
    Listerstormable MK2

    Me: i would a Riva (the boat) Mom: we have a riva Riva at home:

  • Badescu Andi
    Badescu Andi

    Make a history of Romania car DACIA

    • Big Car
      Big Car

      I have

  • AustinEVPLab
    AustinEVPLab

    I noticed @ .30 that the car, which appears to be new, has a deformed passenger door at the bottom!

    • AustinEVPLab
      AustinEVPLab

      @Big Car Ah, you’re right. Not a lot of attention to detail in that photo shoot!

    • Big Car
      Big Car

      I think the door isn't quite closed.

  • john
    john

    Did Steven Hendry not win a top of the range Merc for getting a 147 break when he was about 17 and all the insurance companies told him to take a hike?

  • peter rowcliffe
    peter rowcliffe

    I have own 4 lada rivas they were all good safe cars they should still be sold in the UK