Soviet Cars Living and Dying in Poland

russian cars living and dying in poland World War II started on September 1st, 1939 with the German invasion of Poland, everyone remembers that from their high school World History class. What many may not remember is that in addition to the attack from the west, Poland was also invaded by the Soviet Union, under the direction of  Joseph Stalin, from the east, on September 17th. At the end of that September, Hitler famously said “Poland never will rise again in the form of the Versailles treaty. That is guaranteed not only by Germany, but also… Russia.” Stalin would soon learn that he shouldn’t be making deals with the devil, as Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Red-faced Stalin pushed back, switched sides, and in the end help to defeat the Axis Powers. In the process of Stalin’s flip-flops, 40 millions Russian lives were lost and millions of Polish people were either killed or forcibly transferred to effing Siberia. While victorious in the defeat of Germany, the Soviet Union never regained the trust of the western world. The potential of U.S. versus USSR war existed as early as May of 1945 and continued throughout the Cold War. Things are clearly different today (sarcasm). Following the war, and the division of Europe, Poland fell under the control of the Soviet Union. The signing of the Warsaw Pact (comically called the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance) between the Russian-controlled Eastern European countries put Poland further behind the Iron Curtain. As if centuries of fighting were not enough, now the people of Poland had to deal with this communist bullshit for almost fifty years. Fed up with it, the fall of communism began in Poland in 1989. The Berlin Wall fell in 1990. The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. For those years when Poland was under Soviet control, it was limited to the kind of cars it could produce and import. Of course only cars from other Eastern Bloc countries were imported and sold. Today we look at the Soviet cars that are currently still living and dying on the streets of Poland. As always, all of the pictures were taken recently in Poland by the awesome readers of, a site which them complies them into sort of a monthly V.I.S.I.T. post. Big thanks and much love to them! SONY DSC We’re starting our journey off with the Porsche 911 fighter, ZAZ Zaporozhets. Like the iconic Porsche, the Zaporizhets has a rear-mounted air-cooled engine and… well… that’s where the similarities end. It was Soviet Union’s People’s car, mimicking the small Fiats, Beetles, and other such cars. 41426_zps41b7e2ad Russian KAMAZ trucks. I remember these well from my childhood. This one has been tastefully modified by its weirdo owner. Kamaz is currently the biggest truck maker in Russia. They make conversational trucks as well as military vehicles. Kamaz won the grueling Dakar Rally an amazing eleven times. 41451_zpsca1211e9 The Lada Niva does not need an introduction. Here is a weird LWB crewcab-without-rear-doors homemade pickup truck version 2414004_zps503a8fe2 And here is a properish overlander. 2414033_zps2b570c66 Another modified Kamaz. This must be the GT version.

Now let’s take a break and look at the other posts from this series:

American cars living and dying in Poland

American Cars Living and Dying in Poland (part 2)

West German cars living and dying in Poland

East German cars Living and Dying in Poland

Japanese cars living and dying in Poland

Italian cars living and dying in Poland

French Cars Living and Dying in Poland

Czechoslovakian Cars Living and Dying in Poland

Swedish Cars Living and Dying in Poland

Polish Cars Living and Dying in Poland

Obscure, weird, and random cars living and dying in Poland

The Museum of Communist Polish Cars in Krakow

2414036_zpsb8602946 Lada 2105 or 2107 2104 wagon. I recently learned that the name Lada was an export name, in USSR/Russia they were known as VAZes. 2414047_zps70ae4c45 Lada Samara. You can just smell the free world in this 80’s designed vehicle. FWD, sleek modern looks, why would anyone buy a VW Polo over it? Don’t answer that. 2414077_zps055b7243 Samaras took the aftermarket tuning world by storm. And by storm I mean a morning drizzle. bulg48_zpsc7bb7149 Being that all of the eastern bloc cars are now in demand, people buy them with the intention of restoring them. Unfortunately many end up rotting away or are restored in an amazingly horrible way. end16_zps94aef424 Volga 24, made by GAZ. This looks like a late 80s version, what with the fancy cassette door handles. end33_zps486a15fb Basketball and Matchbox cars. I get this guy. This is a GAZ 69, but a Romanian ARO was made under a license and it was identical. end36_zps10b1836f When I was little, the Volga always seemed like a big car… it isn’t. holz11_zpsf02a5b52 Moskvitch 1600 series. I don’t think I have ever seen those in Poland, but I did see a ton of them when vacationing in Bulgaria. Ah yes, Bulgaria, the land of great seafood, Moskitches, and topless German women tourists. That’s all I recall from that country which I visited about four times in the early 1980s, before the age of ten. iiplan38_zps0c43fc72 GAZ 21, awaiting restoration? inco88_zps7129fb56 Lada 2107, based on a Fiat 124. It was made for decades after the 124 went to pasture, only it was improved by the Russians. Yes, it was RWD. inco101_zps5d52621c Another 2107, here in three-tone primer-blue-rusty. I believe that the only difference between the 2105 and 2107 was a grill, which made it more luxurious. inco102_zps82a273ba Another Niva. My father who lives in Poland has a newer one. I’m going for a visit in October, can’t wait to drive it! k88 Lada VAZ 2101 (sedan) and 2102 (wagon), were the predecessors to the 2105/2107. Similarities to the Italian Fiat 124 a lot more visible here. When I was a kid I thought that there was completely different cars, not just updated/face-lifted. lat03_zps08ab1c22 lat33_zpsd03d3869 Another Moskvitch. Roof racks very popular because trunks were small. luty53_zps2c9051fd Another weird modified Niva. At least I think it’s modified, I don’t think it rolled out of the factory like this. m0634_zps3bbbfa57 Chaika, the car of some very important commie, but not the top-top important guy, because those were driven around in Zils. He’s got the wrong flag on it. m0635_zps31fbe61e UAZ 469B in front of a gorgeous 1986-ish FSO Polonez. m0675_zpsad39a8af Another 2102. Looks like pre-WW2 building. maj078_zps9b7be66b Lada, or VAZ when sold domestically, 2103 2106. This was the model between 2101 and 2105, which makes sense. Green leaf sticker used to represent a rookie driver back in the day. This car seems to be registered to the same person for many years, so that sticker was probably just never removed. maj097_zps88e14623 Modified Niva Sport Activity Vehicle. BMW blatantly copied this when they were developing the original X5. The above statement may not be true. maj1406_zpsaeaae6bd It’s a late model Lada. It may be Korean based or it could be an original design, I really don’t know/care. maj1418_zps75e4c1fb maj1421_zpsc4cd9af5 Older Volga and an updated version – oh, so modern! mar05_zps188f9d30 mi81_zps3c37dc93 minor38_zps691ac81b ost29_zps89e82b8f Some Moskvitch. Sąd w Mrągowie Dang, that’s a nice size garage. What’s the woman in the window, it’s a poster or a tv or something, right? pm630_zps48eb1468 Historic plates, perked at contemporary furniture store. pm647_zpsf371c070 An earlier GAZ Chaika. What American car does it look like? pm651_zps1910eef9 Old GAZ 21 visiting from Ukraine. pol201_zps41fe409e pol220_zpse2784336 polski05_zpscab467ae I guess the winch stopped working. Perhaps it would off-road better with matching tires? ponie42_zps91208a33 Side air inlet transforms into a taillight. Very 1960s space-y design. rm04_zps133fbbe0 I think those headlight things were used to make the headlights give off less glare but still illuminate the road for the driver, so that the vehicle is less visible from above, kind of like modern night vision. Can anyone confirm? ry18_zpse7f051e7 styczen1424_zps92228c42 syzyf53_zpsd91e62ab One of the last ZAZs. Yes, it has a rack on the engine lid. Dual tailpipes… how capitalistic. syzyf54_zpse1c790d5 Mosktitch wagon. Looks very AllRoad-y. m71407_zpsbd0c5005 Someone just threw it out. m71401_zpsaa35e1e6 Worn out tires? No problem, just wrap some chains around them and keep going. This ZIL 131 has seen some shit.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

%d bloggers like this: