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Hoonobituary: The Classic Lada 2107 Riva

Kamil Kaluski April 19, 2012 Hoonobituaries 45 Comments


Nothing lasts forever even cold November rain, especially in the world of automobiles. The production of the classic Lada 2107/2105/2104, or Riva as it was called by some Capitalist pigs in other parts of the world, has stopped. To be more specific, only the production of the 2107, easily identified by its fancy big grill, has stopped. The 2105 has been out of production for some time and the 2104, which is the station wagon version, will be assembled until the end of the year. 

Introduced in 1980, based on the Fiat 125, which was a larger version of the 124, it has become one of the most iconic Russian cars of all time. Produced since the 1980 and powered by a variety of shitty engines, it went through its thirty-two year life cycle relatively unchanged, unlike the country where is was produced. 

Instead of going on about this Lada’s depressing history, which was pretty much summarized above, I choose to remember the classic Lada in pictures, after the jump. Let’s pour one out for Commie friend: often unreliable, mostly awful, frequently misunderstood, always charismatic. Rust in pieces old friend, but may you stay in our memory as another symbol of very important political and historical era. 

  • Vavon

    How could you forget the infamous Lotus Lada???
    <img src="http://gallery.brit-cars.com/data/522/lotus_lada_4.jpg"&gt;

  • TX_Stig

    Interesting. According to the diagrams in the first picture, the Lada came with factory underinflated tires! Amazing! Seriously though, these are neat little cars that I wish I could get my hands on over here easily. When I lived in Russia for a few years, friends told me that they were reliable in the way of Russian cars. That meant that when they broke down, they were cheap and easy to fix. Also, that when you took delivery of a new one, the first task to do when you got it home was to check all the fastners. Sometimes they weren't fastened very well.

    But a cheap, simple, RWD sedan… Why can't we have one of those produced in recent years? Why?

    • Air in tires was extra.

      I heard of Polish cars some times missing minor parts, such as engine mounts.

      • TX_Stig

        Well a missing engine mount could be marketed as an automatic massager for the passengers… A nice soothing vibration for those long road trips. Or for easing the tension of a long day pretending to work while the bosses pretend to pay you.

      • dukeisduke

        Deploy the Polish jokes.

      • TurboBrick

        No, that oxygen came with the car, it was just factory bonded with the iron on the fenders.

      • Van_Sarockin

        Socialist tires do not hoard the People's air, comrade!

    • Yes, after Communism fell, production quality kind of took a dump.

      I can only imagine how well these things were built during the Communist years. Quality control is a priority, when you have the muzzle of an SKS jammed into your back!

  • Irishzombieman

    Alas, poor Lada! I knew him, Nikolai, the butt of infinite jests, yet desired by all in the West.
    He hath bore me in his saloon a thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is!
    My gorge rises at it.

    <img src="http://www.freewebs.com/hamletviral/photos/Hamlet%20Mel%20Gibson/vlcsnap-45032.png"&gt;

  • dukeisduke

    Okay, I'll take the white wagon, and the blonde…

    And the slammed coupe, along with the silver wagon, silver sedan, and red wagon.

  • RichardKopf

    Good bye old buddy.

  • LostOnJalopnik

    <img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NzAwWDcwMA==/$(KGrHqNHJCME8f,NWH+CBPPL2rlvMQ~~60_35.JPG"&gt;

    Well as Coosin Balki said, "Your ship has finally hit the fan!"

    So long little Lada, I pour some ROP just for you.

  • Manic_King

    Kamil, that car was still Fiat 124 (not 125) based like all those Ladas before it, they just decided to change design to boxier one, that itself is small miracle because in USSR such "innovation" or evolution wasn't usual, every Lada would have been sold to people in 15 year waiting list anyway. Maybe it was done because of export markets who got tired with softer design from seventies.
    All the 2105/07 body panels are basically interchangeable with earlier models.
    In USSR one of the few "tuning" things you could do was to change older Lada's door frames and glass to one piece glass design of 2105/07. Same with bumpers which in 2107 case looked much more butch, a bit like those on US version cars vs. Euro cars after the 5 mph law. Ladas are Lego's basically, only with quite small amount of bricks.

    • tonyola

      Manic King is right – I was going to post the same thing. The post-1980 Riva was just a restyle of the earlier car. There never was a 125-based Lada. However, the Polski-Fiat/Polonez 125P was based on the 125.

  • Manic_King

    Oh, and that spoilered version of 2105 called Lada VFTS, people got up to 170-180 hp out of poor Lada engine in those rally cars, and if this wasn't enough one could use hard currency (friends abroad? shady dealings with currency owners like, say sailors?) to get DOHC Lancia/Fiat head or full motor which was bolt-on to Lada and add side draft Webers and have more than 200 hp race weapon. Then, regional rally or rallycross wins, here we come.

  • First the Ford Panther platform, and now THIS!!!???!!!??? (shakes fist in the air) What next!? Next you will tell me that Dick Clark is dead!!!

  • tonyola

    I've seen a few Ladas here in Florida – all with Canadian license plates and belonging to the snowbirds from the Great White North. I'm a bit surprised that the cars could make it all the way.

    • The guy who sold me my Metro has a couple of Signets here in the Seattle area. They've got Chevette automatics in them, which I've been told was a dealer swap for the Canadian market.

  • Vavon

    R.I.P. little Zhiguli, it was fun seeing you around!
    <img src="http://englishrussia.com/images/soviet_race/8.jpg"&gt;
    More racing Ladas here: http://englishrussia.com/2009/03/26/soviet-racing

    • Savant_Idiot

      Isn't "racing Lada" an oxymoron? Or is it just that anyone silly enough to try is an actual moron?

      • Devin
      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        Typing lada rally into youtube should change your mind.

        Anyway a story, a couple weeks back a Russian chum of mine at work was switching jobs, so I drove him to lunch before he left in my Amazon so he could get pissed. Boy was he impressed, "This car is good, much like Russian car, ha ha ha," in his smoker's baritone. I smiledm but deep inside I was a bit offended. I was hoping Astrid would not lash out, bust a u-joint or something, very uneventful trip thankfully. Anyway it was my dad's birthday too, so when I talked to him later I told him. And he told me, "Russian cars, especially the ones from before the '80s, were very good, well built, but you needed to be a mechanic to drive one." RIP boxy Lada 🙁

        • Savant_Idiot

          As the former owner of a PV544 Sport (B20 with Weber conversion) I resent the comparison of Swedish mastery with an ancient Fiat design assembled by Soviet block government employees. These were BARELY one step above the Trabant and probably not quite par with the Yugo (another horrible socialist representation of a terrible Fiat design).

          This does not preclude my wanting to hoon the shit out of one, just sayin'

          • Van_Sarockin

            Careful, I've still got a thing for fastback FIAT 127s and 850s!

        • Savant_Idiot

          People race motorized bar stools too, but that does not make them quality vehicles…

          • True. They achieve that distinction regardless of racing pedigree.

  • kyle

    I can say with some confidance and little to no knowledge of the actual car… that I like it alot, classic shape and with a proper twin cam 4 pot in front it could be alot of fun…. maybe?

  • tonyola

    Another proposal that never made it – a Lada hatchback!
    <img src="http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/86527/%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%B7-……..jpg" width=400>

    • Savant_Idiot

      Sure its a hatch? In that pic it looks like a socialist impression of the flying buttress!

    • Dude!!! Polonez!!!

  • Manic_King

    A man goes into a car accessory shop and says to the assistant, 'Can I have a hub cap for my Lada?'
    The assistant thinks to himself for a moment and then replies, 'OK, it seems like a fair swap'

    • tonyola

      Q: How do you double the value of a Lada?
      A: Fill the gas tank.

    • TurboBrick

      What does a Lada starter motor sound like?

  • Maymar

    Back in '95, my parents' '90 Sonata was written off, and they got about six grand from the insurance company for it. Being 9, and having no real concept of why one car might cost more than another, I thought they should buy a brand new Lada, since they started at six grand (although the Signet I really preferred was more like seven grand). So yes, new Ladas were actually worth about the same as a five year old Hyundai, long before that was an okay thing. And in retrospect, I know it's probably for the best they just bought a used Caravan, but I still sort of wish they'd gone the more esoteric route.