Despite Lorry and License Issues, Lada Motors On
Photography by Andrey Smazhilo
Do you remember when you first drove a car and what your first car was? For most of us, it is a memory that we’ll keep in our hearts for a lifetime. Wherever we are, no matter what happens to us, we will always remember holding the steering wheel and what it felt like the first time. Driving a car while sitting on your father’s knees, barely reaching the pedals is usually the earthshattering moment that makes you eagerly await the day you’ll own your first car.
Some of us make opinions about cars reading magazines and watching movies, some listen to friends and relatives. I personally think that the best guides are always our feelings and the judgments we make having experienced something. And so it was for Max, the owner of this Lada. His car passion was in a form of “oh, I like this and that but I don’t have anything certain in my mind,” up until he grew up enough to understand that he wanted to own a car. A couple of years ago a friend of his bought a 1994 Lada 1600, also called VAZ-2106 in Russia. And that was the moment he knew what his first car would be.
Max has happily owned this car for more than a year now. But he’s been around it for much longer, as a neighbour owned it for a long time. He still remembers walking to school and dreaming of someday buying the Lada. It was the dark chocolate brown paint and scarlet red vinyl interior that drew his attention. And they still make him fond of his car, as the shiny chrome exterior elements do too.
When buying the Lada, Maxim had some minor, let’s call them ‘issues’. He hadn’t received his driver’s licence at that time, so it was his mom who helped him buy and register the car. She didn’t really share his passion for classic cars as her daily driver is modern. So the first ten or so minutes that she was driving this brown Lada were a little bit scary for him. “I wasn’t quite sure that we were going to make it home since the car was far less comfy than my mom was used to,” Maxim says. However, after driving the car on the freeway at 60 mph his mom declared that she liked it.
Last summer, Maxim asked his friend to drive the car to a stance festival due to some driver’s license problems, and unfortunately a truck struck the Lada as they cruised. Thankfully, the car only needed a new door. And funny as it may sound, the car drew lots of attention at the festival also due to the damage and the story behind the dent.
Max has some plans for the car, including a new paintjob since the old one has lost its gloss over almost twenty-five years. Also the car is running a 1.9-liter engine from a Lada 4×4 now, and it is another thing that needs some attention and perhaps replacement. It’s already cold and snowing in Moscow, so the car will be sitting in a garage for the next six or so months. And who knows, maybe it is the right time for some changes…