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Truck Thursday: Decaying UAZ 469B

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.

Source: Me!

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.

Make sure to see this link for the most awesome RC UAZ ever and the link for videos of the said RC UAZ.

  • Jay

    I dunno, by UAZ standards it's probably not really even rusting all that much.

    I was just reading the other day about the, ahem, unique quality control conditions under which these were made, with horribly random production shifts (a few dozen one day, then two days of non-stop production at double the normal pace). Then the assembled car would be jolted into life by a guy kicking the gearshift with his foot into first gear. Bottom line: some of them actually started before being loaded onto rail cars for delivery.

  • TX_Stig

    It also looks like the upper half of the door is diagonally mirrored front to rear, so that the passenger rear window is interchangeable with the drive front. Pretty slick, if you ask me.

  • Devin

    I remember that in the early '90s someone was going to sell these in Canada, I don't think they got too far though. It was listed in the CAA's big book of every car that's sold in this country, along with the TVR Griffith and Morgans. I wonder if any actually sold, since I know that one dealer somewhere in Toronto actually did manage to sell a TVR Griffith at the minimum.

    Also, I have this weird condition where I find fake Jeeps immeasurably appealing.

    • Kris

      That's awesome. It's too bad that they didn't officially get sold here. I'd buy one and immediately name it Boris.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Looks fine for a working truck. A whole lot less rust than most of the old Land Rovers around here. About one percent of the rust of most old pickups around here.

  • Sjalabais

    Making this for so many decades, I'd expect today's workers to know what they are doing. With simple mechanics, this might be a nice and rough toy? In Norway, a well-preserved example might even fetch 5000$. The latest incarnation of this car is called "Hunter", which nicely sums up who might be interested in this in the decadent west, too. I've always had a lot of affection for imperfect Eastern cars, and I love everything that has been in production for 30-40 years – so it's almost unresistable to me. Would love me a Hindustan Ambassador, too.

  • wisc47

    Who needs a Wrangler anyways?

  • idiotking

    I remember running across one of these on the tiny island of Bimini about eight years ago and wondering what planet it had dropped from.