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East European cars

East European and Russian Cars!

I must admit; I am a complete nut about cars. Yes, I agree they pollute, but there is nothing as interesting as anything cars, trucks.. hey even tractors..! And another thing; Ferraris, Corvettes, T-Fords and so on all have heaps of fan pages. In my view, the last thing the internet needs is another Porsche fan-page...  But the car production in the former Soviet and other East European countries is not so well know in the Western World.. And, if I may say so, and I may; this is MY website.., this is understandable. Car production has suffered just like all other production under the ridiculous yoke of socialism. Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and John Meynard Keynes are all liars, and should not be shown respect any longer! The disadvantages of socialism compared to the free-marked model makes it very hard to believe that so many people still believe in those old lies! Maybe if some of those people takes a look at this page, and thinks for a while about why cars produced in socialist countries are to such a remarkable extent inferior to those produced in a country with at least a higher degree of economically and social freedom, they will reconsider..  

On this page I have collected some of the pictures I have taken on my travels in Eastern Europe and Russia. The abilities of both the camera/scanner as well as the photographer are very, very limited, so please forgive the poor picture quality. If you click on the pictures on this page you'll get a larger version, by the way. I have tried to collect links to the official websites. Click on the heading for each make for that.

There is no particular order or system with which I have placed these pictures, I do this just for fun! If you are looking for more in-depth information, and perhaps less subjective comments, then you should take a look at the SovAvto Website. Another good site is the Russian Car Club. Both are well worth a visit! 

If you find any errors on this page, please let me know by filling in this short form. You can fill in that form just to let me know that you have visited my page also... That would have been super, thanks for asking! Especially if you could tell me more about the history of IZH, MAZ, KAMAZ or any of the other carmakers that I have written too little about.. That would have been a great help! 
But that's enough chatting already, let get on with the cars!

Zaporozhets (ZAZ / ЗАЗ)


This little Ukrainian made car is equipped with an air-cooled rear-mounted engine. It was often given to invalids in the Soviet Union. The Zaporozhets' on the pictures here are ZAZ-968M. It weighs 770 kg, and owners I have spoken with claim that it goes from 0 - 100 km/h in 38 seconds, and doesn't stop accelerating until it reaches 120 km/h! 

The Zaporozhets is not a Soviet construction originally. It was based on the NSU Prinz 4, which is known as a quite sporty car. It goes without saying that the Zaporozhets is not. It has a totally phlegmatic 40 bhp, V4, air-cooled engine called MeMZ-968A. I'd guess that the engine could be tuned to increase its output. After all the engine-volume is 1197 ccm. 

The 968M was produced from 1979 to 1994.

More information about Zaporozhets can be found on the very interesting Meet the Zaporozhets page.

In my view, AZLKs are some of the worst cars in the world. If you agree or disagree, feel free to e-mail me... I don't know about the newer models, but the Soviet era models cannot in any ways be compared to western-produced cars. 


This is the 2141 model that went into production in 1986. It came with a choice of a 1.4 liter, 72 bhp UZAM-331.10 engine or a 1.6 liter 77 bhp VAZ-2106-70 engine. Both engines are four-cylinder, water-cooled, OHV, carburetor constructions. 



Izh-412 "Moskvitsh" It has a 75 bhp,, 4 inline cylinder, 1478 ccm, OHV engine called UZAM-412.


Izh-2715. A small delivery van based on the 412.

For more info about AZLK and IZH, take a look at Andrei Walters Moskvitsh page


VAZ, or Lada, has had some success abroad, and should be familiar to most Europeans, at least here in Scandinavia. Build quality is actually among the best of the former Soviet cars! Imagine what the other cars are like... I found a Hungarian Lada club on the net. Click here if you are interested in that. You should also take a look at the European Lada site.


This is a well-kept VAZ 2102 "Zhiguli" that I saw in Kobrin, Belarus. The construction is a Soviet adaptation of the Italian FIAT 124. It was built from 1970 to 1983. Its 1,2 liter, 64 bhp engine takes the 955 kg car to 100 km/h in 22 seconds and a good while later you'll might reach 140 km/h. At 90 km/h the mileage is 6,9 liter pr 100 km, but watch out; the fuel tank capacity is only 39 liters.


Here is a VAZ 2107 "Zhiguli" serving as a police car in Kobrin, Belarus. This 995 kg sedan has 72 horsepower, and accelerates from standing still to 100 km/h in 15 seconds. This series went into production in 1982.


A VAZ 21213 "Niva" driving down Internationalnaya street in Kobrin, Belarus. The Niva ("grain-field") is one of the few cars from Russia to enjoy some sort of respect abroad. It gives very good value-for-money, and it is not unusual for Niva-drivers to buy Nivas again and again. However, quality control should be better; some Nivas are very good, others are encumbered with all sorts of trouble. Caveat Emptor! You can read more about the Niva at Deklan's Niva Pages or UK Niva Owners Page. 


Volga... The name alone brings associations to things that are as Russian as it gets; the river, vodka, bureaucracy.. Volga is the preferred car for most mid- and upper level functionaries, or "apparatchiki" as they sometimes is called. Even the Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov owns one. They are really quite comfortable, but the construction is remarkably old-fashion. 


GAZ 24 "Volga". These two Volgas I saw in Baranovitchi, Belarus. They sport a 2445 ccm, four cylinder, 98 bhp, OHV engine called ZMZ-402. The 24 model line was produced from 1968 to 1992. It was exported to western Europe as well; some Volgas was fitted with Peugeot diesel engines in Belgium and sold on the European marked. That was at the beginning of the 1980s. 

Maximum speed is 145 km/h, and at a constant speed of 90 km/h you must expect to use 10.2 liters/100km. This 1420 kg heavy car is frequently used as a taxi in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. 

If you are looking for a GAZ-24, you should try the Baltic states. At least that is what one Riga cab-driver told me. He told me that Russian cars are not very popular there. I believe he said that not only because of the quality. Many Russian goods are not welcome in the Baltic states. 


GAZ 3102 "Volga". This car is basically the same 1968 construction as the GAZ-24, but the body has a considerably sleeker design and the engine now produces 105 bhp. That makes it possible to accelerate from standing to 100 km/h in 20 seconds. Not very remarkable for a 1992 car.


The GAZ 3110 "Volga" was introduced in 1997. One would have expected that GAZ would have understood the need for considerable modernization by now. But no, this model is except for various cosmetical improvements the same 2800 mm wheelbase car that was introduced in 1968. The engine used in the GAZ 3110 is a ZMZ-4021.10. It's a four cylinder OHV with one double carburetor. It's 100 hp at 4.500 rpm gives the 1490 kg heavy car an top speed of 150 km/h. If you are contended with cruising along at 90 km/h it lets you do so at 9,3 liter/100 km. 


GAZ-53. If you don't see this truck on the streets of former Soviet, then you are probably blind.... This GAZ truck is one of the vehicles you'll see most frequently on Russian roads. It was introduced in 1961 and was kept in production until 1991. It carries 3,500 kg and the 3,48 liter six-cylinder carbureted engine offers 90 horsepower, enabling the driver to reach the whopping speed of 75 km/h! It's contented with 72 octane gasoline, and requires 19,5 liters per 100 km. The minimal radius of turn is 9.4 meter. It comes in almost all shapes; as a dumpster truck, boxed grocery delivery truck, tanker, even as a bus!
Very often it's propelled by methane or propane gas. 


GAZ-3302 "Gazel" (Gazelle) Introduced in 1996, this mid-size truck represent a long awaited development. It is offered in several different versions; minibuses, 4x4 and so on. I rode in a Gazel from Ulan-Ude to Zakamensk in Buryatia, and was actually impressed. It seemed sturdy and solid, even on the not-too-good roads of Siberia. But, although the name may imply it, it's NOT gazelle-like! :-)
If you are interested in more information about GAZ, then you should take a look at this list of models produced by GAZ


Russian Jeeps. Frequently used by the military, and as ambulance/fire-fighter in rural areas. Solid built, and are generally spoken of as dependable. The construction is old, but simple to fix when things break down. 


This is a UAZ 31512. Its engine is similar to that of the GAZ-24, and has, as one would expect, four wheel drive. This 1600 kg, robust jeep is capable of reaching speeds up to 110 km/h. But not without risk, in my view. Away from the tarmac the UAZ shows it's real qualities. It's 2380 mm wheelbase and good ground clearance gives it an edge in rough terrain, but the turn diameter could be smaller. 


These pickups are UAZ 3741 or 2206. I am sorry that I am unable to identify better.. The difference between the two models is the maximum allowed weight. They are however built on the same base as the UAZ 31512, just like the Land Rover and the Land Rover Forward Control. The ambulance is a UAZ 39629. This model is frequently used in the countryside. 


ZIL is an old and well-reputed truck factory. In addition to building very sturdy trucks they build the limousines used by the governmental big-wigs. 


Here is a Zil 130 I saw in Belarus. It has a capacity of 6000 kg and the petrol 150 bhp V-8 propels the truck up to 90 km/h. It consumes 26,5 liter per 100 km. It was produced from 1964 to 1995. 


Zil 133. Made from 1979 to 1992, this model can carry 10.000 kg, and utilizes a 210 bhp diesel V-8 made at the KamAZ factory. 


A ZIL tanker I saw in Baranovitchi, Belarus.


This fire-truck I was able to snap some pictures of in the Suvorov park in Kobrin, Western Belarus. I believe it is built in the base of a Zil 131.


ZIL-5301 "Bychok" Introduced in 1994 as an answer to the prayers of Russian drivers. Just like the slightly smaller GAZ "Gazel" it is offered in several different versions, even as a bus with 22 seats or as a no-nonsense 4x4 truck. It seems like a solid enough truck, but in my view it could have been slightly less ... ugly...



A MAZ semi-trailer I saw in Baranovitchi, Belarus. If you are able to identify it for me, please let me know, I'd be very grateful!  



A Kamaz 55102(?). The 5510 series was introduced in 1977, and is still respected by its drivers all over the former Soviet union and other places in Eastern Europe. The YaMAZ 7401 V-8 diesel engine has a displacement of 10.85 liters producing 180 hp. Net weight is 8270 kg and load weight is 7000 kg.



This bus is a Hungarian-built inter-city bus called Series 200. Ikarus began a a blacksmith and coach-building shop in 1895, and in 1927 they turned to the production of buses. In 1967 Ikarus started the production of the Series 200 which can be seen all over Eastern Europe and Russia, especially as a city bus, often articulated. The floor is very high, making it a considerable climb for the passengers to enter it.



A LiAZ 677. I am not 100% certain, but I believe this bus runs on methane. At least it smelled like that... It seats 25 people inside its 10,450 mm body, but can carry 110 passengers! Its 7 liters, 180 hp engine is no racer, maximum speed is a mere 70 km/h. It has a 2 step automatic gearbox and has a net weight of 7,818 kg. This model was introduced in 1967.


PAZ 3205. A good 25 seat bus introduced in 1989. It has a 130 hp, 4,67 liters diesel engine. It is 7 meters long and has a wheelbase of 3,6 meters. Net-weight is 4720 kg. Fully loaded it weighs up to 7705 kg. It is also available with four-wheel drive. 

Other trucks


This is a Czech Avia A31 L that I saw in Baranovitchi, Belarus. The A31 was a copy of a Renault-Saviem. It has a diesel four-cylindered engine producing 58 kW at 3000 rpm and 205 Nm at 1800 rpm. Bore - 102 mm, stroke - 110 mm.The engine weights 335 kg. Thanks to Marin and Lukas for mailing me info about this truck!

Avia's official website with information about the new models can be found here. If you know Czech you can read some more about the history of Avia here. I found a Avia firefighter here.

Military vehicles:


A BTR on display at the Suvorov museum in Kobrin, Belarus. If you are interested in Russian military equipment you should take a look at the website "Russkaya Sila"

Well, this probably sounds like a web cliché.. And it is... But still, this page is under construction.. Really, I'm not just saying that... When I get my hands on a better slides-scanner I'll upload some more pictures.. (Yeah, that's what everybody says...)

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