Rare Rides: The Beige 1988 Lada Samara Is Neither Sporty Nor Luxurious

Image: 1988 Lada Samara

We’ve featured a communist-built car before on Rare Rides; it was an old Czech-made Skoda 120, located in Canada. A specialized importer group brought many cars just like the Skoda into Canada in the 1980s, supplying bare bones Soviet Bloc vehicles to frugal Canadians living in Quebec and some other places.

Today’s Rare Ride was never part of LadaCanada, and lived its life abroad until very recently. Made in Russia, sold in Belgium, and imported to America, it’s a Lada Samara.

The Lada Samara was known by no less than 18 different names during its life. Demand ensured the Samara remained in production for 29 years — 1984 to 2013. Much like the Traction Avant we featured recently, the front-drive Samara was available in many different bodystyles: hatchbacks of various door configurations, sedans, vans, SUVs, and even convertibles. Seven versions in total, if you leave out the rear-engined rally car.

Power arrived from four-cylinder engines ranging from 1.1 to 1.5 liters of displacement.

Image: 1988 Lada SamaraThe Samara was a big step forward for its manufacturer, AvtoVAZ. It was only the second vehicle from the company to feature new, original architecture, and the first available in front-wheel drive. Previous models developed by AvtoVAZ relied on existing Fiat mechanicals.

Image: 1988 Lada SamaraAvtoVAZ had the Fiat 124 in mind when creating the Samara, as the Fiat was a very successful and affordable family vehicle during its original production run (1966 to 1974). It’s worth noting that the 124 was the basis for many vehicles around the globe.

Image: 1988 Lada SamaraStarting with an AvtoVAZ-Fiat tie-up in 1966, the 124 would continue on for several decades as various VAZ and Lada vehicles, culminating in the Lada Riva, which remained in production until 2012.

Image: 1988 Lada SamaraLocated at a dealer in Utah and labeled as a 1987 Porsche 924, the ad contains various erroneous information which should be ignored. The one valid piece of information contained therein is the price, which is just $3,500. Affordable and uncommon, you can have your own Rare Ride on the cheap.

Have a Rare Ride to submit, be it Lada Riva or something else? Send it to editors@ttac.com.

[Images via seller]