Most Popular Soviet Cars Brands & Models: Lada GAZ ZAZ Moskvich Volga

Most Popular Soviet Cars List

ZAZ Zaporozhets – rear-wheel-drive supermini car

ZAZ968 – Year of manufacture: 1978

ZAZ968 Zaporozhets Soviet car

The first Zaporozhets came off the assembly line at the ZAZ factory in Soviet Ukraine in 1960. Its main prototype was Italian Fiat 600. It was commonplace to talk about a small Soviet car with disdain and joke, but in fact, Zaporozhets did not concede to foreign analogues of its time for the most characteristics. The nicknames of this car are ushastyi (“big-eared” and mylnitsa (“soap-box”).

Zaporozhets was popular for several reasons: first, it was relatively inexpensive, it could be bought without waiting in a queue and it was easy to equip car with additional sets of controls for disabled people. The compact Zaporozhets was completely obsolete and no longer in demand in the end of 1970s. ZAZ Zaporozhets cars: ZAZ-965, ZAZ-965A, ZAZ-966, ZAZ-968, ZAZ-968M. Export versions: Jalta, Eliette. The production of the cars stopped in 1994.


Moskvich-408 – Years of manufacture: 1964-1975

Moskvich 408 popular soviet car

The Moskvich plant (Moscow Car Assembly Factory, AZLK) founded in 1929. First it produced Ford cars. The car of its own design KIM-10 was launched in serial production only in 1940. The subcompact Moskvich-400 was built on the basis of the German Opel Kadett, came off the assembly line in 1947.

The truly successful years in the history of the plant were the 50s and 60s. At that time, Moskvich-402, Moskvich-407 and Moskvich-410, Moskvich-408 and Moskvich-412 models with a modernized engine were being released. Moskvich was not only a people’s car, which was used both in the city and the countryside, but with a well-known brand outside the USSR – the car was exported to Western Europe.

Due to increasing production rates and change of management of the plant, the quality of the components has significantly decreased, and Moskvich lost its position in the world market, the last attempt to return was the Moskvich-2141 model in the mid-1980s. In the late 80’s and 90’s the plant continued to produce cars, but 80% of the finished cars were not in demand and conveyors stopped forever in 2001.

Zhiguli – Lada

Zhiguli is a family of classic cars, produced by AvtoVAZ plant, which began mass production in 1970. The first car of the sedan class was the VAZ-2101, which was first called Kopeyka, which means 1/100 of the Ruble – the smallest coin.

Zhiguli VAZ 2101

The prototype of the car was Fiat 124, but in the end, the “Lada” became very different from the Italian car – brakes, suspension, cardan transmission and reinforced clutch. The car was very different from other Soviet subcompacts and in terms of comfort – it hasn’t require a long time for warm up in cold weather, you could talk even at high speeds; and even go on holiday to the sea, it’s a good car for long distance driving.

It would be no exaggeration to say that Zhiguli was the best brand of cars manufactured in Russia and Soviet Union in XX centure. The last car was off the assembly line on September 17, 2012.


Soviet-Zhiguli VAZ 2107 Semerka

Famous Semyorka (“the seven”) was one of the most popular cars in the early 80’s. Power – 74 (hp). Great value for that time. At the same time the car was very economical and consumed only 7 liters of gasoline per 100 km. The design for that time is simply progressive. Today, used Semyorka can be purchased on any car market at an affordable price.

VAZ-2108 – Years of manufacture: 1984-2003

VAZ 2108

Vos’merka (the eight) is a breakthrough of its time: the first Soviet front-wheel drive vehicle. VAZ-2108 began to be produced at the Volzhsky Automobile Plant from the end of 1984 serially. The car was a front-drive three-door hatchback, which became the basis of the model in the Lada “Sputnik” family (export name – Lada Samara). Obvious advantages in comparison with rear-drive “Zhiguli” were concluded in excellent dynamics, high-speed qualities, good controllability and stability on roads with different coating. Under the name of Samara the car was exported to Germany, Great Britain, France, Belgium. Power – 64 (hp). At the same time, it speeds up to 100 km/h in 15 seconds. It’s a very economical vehicle, fuel consumption is 5.4 liters/100 km only.

Since 1984, AvtoVAZ sold more than 5 millions of Lada Samara.

VAZ-2121 – Lada Niva – LADA 4×4

Niva VAZ 2121 offroad car

VAZ-2121 “Niva” is a Soviet and Russian off-road car of small class with a self-supporting body and permanent all-wheel drive. Niva showed in the 1970s what kind of offroad cars will be the next 20-30 years.

GAZ – Volga models

The prototype of the Volga was presented to the  Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union Marshal Zhukov in the early fifties. He approved it, and with minor changes the car was launched into mass production. “The Twenty First Volga” became a real movie star, it can be seen in the films “The Diamond Arm”, “Three Poplars in Plyushchikha”, “Beware of the Car” and others.

GAZ-21 – Years of manufacture: 1955-1970

GAZ-21 Soviet car

This car was produced in several modifications. At the same time, GAZ-21 was affordable for the middle class of the population of the Soviet Union. Probably, that’s why It became popular. The engine size of 2.5 liters had a power of 75 (hp). Today you can see this car on the roads of the country, but this happens less and less. The model can not be called economical. It consumes in a mixed mode of 15 L/100 km.

GAZ-13 luxury sedan Chaika. One of the most beautiful cars in the history of the USSR.

GAZ-13 luxury Soviet sedan Chaika

This car might be considered as the best one that was produced in the USSR. From 1959 to 1981 she simply was not equal in terms of elegance. It was mostly not ordinary people, but high-level Government Officials, who emphasized their status. The the engine size is 5.5 liters. At the same time, its power was 195 (hp). A real monster of the time. It had 8 cylinders and 16 valves, which for that time was an undeniable progress.

In the 1970s, Volga looks different: the ground clearance reduced and has significantly increased in size. It was called as “barge” for a spacious saloon and smooth running. Volga has always been an official car – it was used in taxis, as police cars and ambulances, and in black color as an indispensable attribute of the Soviet nomenclature of the middle level, from generals to filmmakers.

In the private hands of the Volga began to fall in the second half of the 80’s. It was convenient to drive the written off official cars to the dacha.


Volga GAZ-24

GAZ-24 is a middle class passenger car manufactured by the Gorky Automobile Plant from 1968 to 1986. It was the successor of GAZ-21 and predecessor GAZ-24-10. Produced with two types of bodies: sedan and wagon. It was the most prestigious car in the years of its production in the USSR.

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