I spotted this not-so-lovely example of the UAZ 469B in my eastern European travels, about a year ago. Casually parked on a Krakow street, slowly rusting away, this UAZ is surely looking toward its retirement. Judging by the general “fix when needed, as cheap as possible” attitude of its owner, this UAZ’s retirement will come as soon as its owner lands a better job. Or a job.
This seven-passenger (2, 3, 2 jump seats) all-terrain vehicle was originally manufactured, and still is (!!), for military use. Over the years versions of the 469 have made their way to agricultural, and finally, private buyers. Today in most eastern European many used 469s are available of varying years and conditions. As with most Eastern Bloc cars there is also an enthusiast market emerging with restored or modernized UAZs.
Originally powered by a 2.5-liter 4-banger, but there have been diesel versions too, connected to weak 4-speed transmission and a proper part-time 2-speed transfer case. These days new UAZ are sporting more powerful engine and five gears.
The 469B has two fuel tanks, with filler on each side of the vehicle, between the doors, at the bottom of each B-pillar. Inside, under the driver’s seat is a lever that switches between the two tanks. Placing the lever in the middle disables both fuel tanks, which is a handy anti-theft feature.
The thing below the passenger grab handle is a map light. It is shaded down in a spotlight-like fashion to illuminate a map that the passenger maybe holding without generating excessive amount of light, allowing the UAZ to stay dark. Shitty electrical system helped the UAZ stay dark too.
The windows do not roll down but the whole top half of the door can be taken off after removing five bolts. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the bottom halves of the front and rear doors are identical, and therefore easily swappable.