Reader Submissions: Vaz is All About Sunset Drives and Spare Bulbs

Vaz is All About Sunset Drives and Spare Bulbs

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
August 25, 2014
7 comments

Owner and photographer: Yuri Ilyaguev

Year, Make, and Model: 1971 VAZ 2101 

Location: Moscow, Russia

I have always loved cars but as time passes, my tastes have evolved from new sports cars to old/young timers. Today, most of the cars I am passionate about are at least twenty years old. Nevertheless I still have a deep appreciation for modern technology and besides the VAZ, I own a Subaru Impreza STi as well as a completely original BMW E36 M3 Sedan. Overall, I would say I grew up with a passion that developed naturally.

My brother found this VAZ and I bought it off a veteran who kept the car in his garage most of the time, hence why it has only driven 59,000km since 1971. And this is the first model Vaz ever produced. Back then the craftsmanship was much better, so the build quality of this car is much higher in comparison to the later 21011 for example.

The 21011 is nearly identical in its looks, except for some details, but this car is of the first generation (production line) and rolled out of the production plant in 1971. Although it does have a lot of modifications such as the exterior paint, rims, and a dropped suspension, the motor is in its original, stock condition. The interior has been re-designed in subtle black leather with seats from a later model. I know that many purists are against the mods, still I decided to give it a personal touch and for all the modifications I have used new parts in order to preserve the originals and have the ability to return the car to its original state whenever I decide to. More than anything else, I love driving it on summer evenings through the city with very low traffic while the sun sets.

However, since it’s a Russian car, I can tell you some stories about having trouble with it. There are always little things, such as bulbs, that need replacement and so I always have a box of bulbs around. Recently, I’ve also had a leak in the fuel pump that took me the whole day to fix. But thankfully there are still plenty of spare parts available so it’s running perfectly again. In addition to that I have had trouble with the wiring. With the car being of some age now the wiring gets a little funny sometimes. In particular the lights. Often the blinkers will flash in funny patterns or not blink at all. Overall, it is a great car but here in Russia there are little bugs and problems that are associated with VAZ cars. Nevertheless, people who drive them are aware of the issues and usually take them into account. So dealing with these small things is part of driving and owning a VAZ. In other words it’s part of the fun.

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Andreas Pihelgas
Andreas Pihelgas

Cool story. I’m a proud owner of the same car. Got it from my grandfather who bought it new in 1971. It was the first and last car he owned. Since he’s still around we have a deal – I let him drive it to the shops when he’s staying in the summerhouse on the countryside 🙂

So in my collection I have two great cars – my first and my grandfathers first

Patrick
Patrick

I drove one of these in Uglich, Russia in May 1990. Cool story.

Denis Porokhniak
Denis Porokhniak

The badge on the front is not original but a modern version. These cars had rectangular-ish badges just like the Fiat 124. Also I don’t think it had a rear view mirror on the passenger side! Neither the updated 21011 and 21013, nor the quad-headlight 2103 and 2106 had one. Actually even the 2105, a budget version of 2107 (exported as Riva) had one mirror. 🙂 It’s cool that the owner kept the ancient black plates with a square one at the rear. They’ve been replaced by white (identical rectangular front and rear) ones back in ’82! You almost never… Read more »

Pete Foglia
Pete Foglia

This is the Russian version of the Fiat 124. Nice work keeping this one alive. I think the Vaz was built until the early-2000’s if I’m not mistaken, with “improvements” and updates being made along the way. One model looked a lot like the Fiat 124 Special and 125. At one point they had a High performance model with 160hp and the Poles rallied them in European events.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

My attitude towards ‘ purists ‘ is simple . In the words of the late , great Vincent M/C Guru … Big Sid Biberman ;

” Stock is a Can of Beans on a Shelf ”

In other words . Its your vehicle . Do what ever the ___ you want with it and ____ the detractors !

My being a ‘ Kit Basher ‘ from my earliest days ( and still am ) .. with both my vehicles as well as my profession

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

I will be honest and say i was never really that big of fan of Russian cars from any era but after reading your article you have giving me a change of heart. Thanks for sharing your ride

Alex Velkov
Alex Velkov

Love it.

Although I hasten to add that the E36 M3 is, in fact, also more than 20 years old 🙂