The Lada showed at my friend’s now closed shop on an open car carrier a few years ago. It didn’t look like anything else; it was a tiny shell of a red car, on small wheels, with a golden roll cage inside. Dusty, banged up and beat up, it was a proper Lemons racer. I knew right away that this free car was going to be very expensive. I instantly fell in love with it.

Then life got in the way. Other priorities occupied my time. I did what I could, when I could with the Lada. In hind-side, I actually did quite a bit. Here is the rundown:

  • Straightened the frame and the body. In its second Lemons race, the Lada got tangled up with a Camaro. The result was worse than I expected.
  • Removed all graphics. The Lada originally had a communist theme. Having seen communist Poland in my childhood, I wanted nothing to do with it. The graphic of Lenin on the side was a work of art but I just couldn’t stand it.
  • Ordered a bunch of parts. There is a place in Florida that sells parts for various Russian cars. They shipped some parts to me. The windshield was broken. Other parts were missing. When I called them they didn’t speak English. Ugh.
  • Got it running!! In ran for a bit. It was started by an older Italian gentleman who spent his childhood tinkering with Fiats, using olive oil, which in itself was awesome.
  • Put it into storage and made plans for the future.

Of course, those plans did not come to fruition. It’s been some years and now I think I can restart this project. I have the help and commitment of my teammates. Money is short but it always is. Let’s see where it goes.