RAD Russian: 1983 Lada VAZ 2101 21K Survivor – Sold?

by | Aug 2022 | Classifinds, Free For All Friday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

August 25, 2022, Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

When is a Fiat not a Fiat? When it’s a Soviet-produced Lada!  Travel to a former Eastern Bloc country; chances are good, you’ll see either vintage VAZ, Moskovitch, or Ladas crowding the highways.  All are more robust versions of the Fiat 124. We don’t know the circumstances of how it made it over to the U.S., but this 21K original mile 1983 Lada 2101 sedan originally listed in August 2022 on Craigslist in Garwood, New Jersey, is said to be a low mileage survivor we believe was likely imported under the U.S. Federal Government’s 25-year exemption rule.

Despite relying on a design dating back to the early 1970s, RAD Era (1980-1999) enthusiasts welcome these eastern bloc-made cars as they represent the tail end of true Soviet car production before the USSR fell at the end of 1991.  We’ve come across listings for other Ladas from this same seller before, so we get a sense this enthusiast likely knows these cars very well.  Offered at $15,000 currently, none of our usual pricing sources provide guidance on these cars, and Bring A Trailer doesn’t list any comparable sales of these cars.

​VAZ, now known as AutoVAZ, was a Soviet automobile manufacturer that produced re-engineered version of Fiat’s124 produced under license and tailored for the nations of the Eastern Bloc.  However, the company also exported versions to the West as economy cars. Known as the VAZ 2101 (wagon versions like the one featured here carry a “2102” designation) the main difference between it and the Fiat 124 is the use of thicker gauge steel for the bodyshell, drum brakes on the rear wheels in place of disc brakes and a bespoke engine. Early versions of the car featured a starting handle for cranking the engine manually should the battery go flat in Siberian winter conditions and an auxiliary fuel pump.

Under the licensing agreement with Fiat, VAZ was forbidden from selling the car in Italy in order to protect Fiat’s lucrative home market, nor was it permitted to sell it in any export market in competition with the 124; however, exports to Western Europe began in 1974 when the 124 was discontinued in favor of Fiat’s newer 131 Mirafiori. VAZ 2101s were sold in export markets as the Lada 1200, Lada 1300, Lada 1200S, and Lada 2101 until 1989; it was sold in the United Kingdom from May 1974, until the arrival of the Riva in 1983. It was the first Lada to be sold in the United Kingdom. Over 660,000 were built between 1971 and 1986.

While the later-model sedan we’re writing about does not have this, we came across a video of an early right-hand-drive model where the owner demonstrates how to start the car with a hand crank:

Whether you simply dare to be different or long to own a Lada from your native country, based on the pictures provided, this 1983 Lada 2101 Sedan appears to be a low mileage survivor with freshly painted steel wheels that appears to need replacement passenger side rocker panel trim.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“This is a rare find!
Very well preserved Lada 2101.
Original paint has never been repainted.
Must see it in person! This is really a collectors car!

Show or go: What would you do with this 1983 Lada 2101 Sedan?  Please comment below and let us know!

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