Back in the USSR: Russian classics

Russian classics - Moskvitch
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You will find 'Russian' classic dealers when you search under, for example, 'Классический автомобиль на продажу' It mainly contains many classics from Germany and the Netherlands. But also Russian classics such as Moskvich, GAZ, ZIL, ZAZ, Scaldia, Zazphorojet, Lada and Pobjeba.

For the classics from the West (and there is no watertight guarantee that they have legally departed from these regions), amounts are requested that are at least at our level. Please note: requested. With regard to 'home-grown' products, trade tends to focus on 'our' prices. For example, a literally new Russian was offered for € 20.000. It was sold for $ 6000.

Also interesting: Russian classics will stay here

Moscow now: Neo capitalism at its best

The Beatles once sang "Back in the USSR". That union of Soviet republics has meanwhile seriously fallen apart and what is now Putin's "Russia" has a gross national product that is smaller than that of the Benelux.

In Moscow and a few other large cities you see many new, expensive cars from people who have embraced neo-liberalism. But for the sake of convenience, apart from those bulky islets of enormous wealth, what we now call 'Russia' is poor. And corrupt to the bone.

Willibrordus van der Weide, the man we met a while ago, has worked in that region for about 20+ years. He is now back in the Netherlands where he is making a restart with a concept for organic fertilizer and the friction reducer with Soviet roots 'Yellow Miracle Oil'. Wilibrordus has little business with Georgia, Ukraine and the like. But in terms of friendship and family ties, the region proves valuable.

Where there is more chance of a white Christmas than here. In the head photo he is standing at a Moskvich. A daily driver. But not now. But Georgia is apparently not the country where you have to trade for Russian classics. Georgians are apparently a kind of Antilleans: relaxed and convinced that life will automatically become beautiful if you continue to party quietly. Georgia is famous for its wines. That will certainly contribute to their attitude.

The pivot in the trade in Russian classics seems to be Ukraine

The nationality of Ukrainians apparently is more like ours: Ukrainians are opportunistic traders in everything that has a healthy margin. And there is little margin on former USSR stuff, leaving aside the trade in AK47s stolen from army supplies. On the spot, Soviet-era vehicles are memories or necessary transport for lack of better. Moreover, the territory is vast and the Internet is not nearly as spread as here. So there is still everything, but there is absolutely no interest in it.

Not on the spot, but here in the west there is no murder for 'Russian classics' either. The only mild exception applies to the M72, Ural and Dnepr sidecar combinations. And even there, in the environment we know, there is only one person who is seriously concerned with this, and that is Richard Busweiler from Genemuiden, whose passion has gotten out of hand. You have an M72, Ural or Dnepr for a fraction of the price of a classic BMW. There are even people who 'transform' them into BMW and they are popular in re-enactment festivities, where they also pretend to be BMW. And that while the Russian primal boxer, the M72 was almost completely one. Those M72s have now been widely accepted as historical heritage. And they cost a third of what a Harley WL costs.

Also interesting: M72: Almost half as expensive as an HD

Russian cars in the Netherlands

In 1953 the Amsterdam company “Auto- & Motordeelen Import” started importing the Moskvitch 400, the Russian variant of the pre-war Opel Kadett. The Amsterdam firm uses the name MKV for the import of the Moskvitch. The MKV company manages to get the Pobjeba and ZIM to be shown to the Dutch public at the Auto RAI of 1954, in addition to the Moskvitch. Three of the Pobjeba have actually been imported. Two of the ZIM came to the Netherlands. After that it remained quiet for a long time.

In 1958 an important event took place: the world exhibition in Brussels. The Soviets are also present and proudly display the fruits of their work, the Moskvitch 407, the Volga M21 and the big ZIL 111. The Moskvitch is awarded the Gold Medal and the Volga and ZIL win the "Grand Prize".

Partly due to these awards, the Russian cars are once again attracting the attention of the European public. The Belgian company Sobimpex was created in 1958 and began in 1959 with the assembly of the Moskvitch and the Volga in Belgium. In those years, cars that were (partly) assembled in Belgium were cheaper because there was a lower tax rate for cars that were (partly) assembled in the country itself. After that, Russian brands had several importers, among which the Gremi is the most remembered.

Also interesting: Lada with wankel engine

Owning and driving an ex-Russian classic is something for friendly, relaxed people without an urge for status. They even united in a relaxed club, the

And from Samara we were asked again if we could find WWII military wheel vehicles, but no Jeeps. They should then end up in a museum. So if you have something old and green in the shed, contact Alexey Zudochkin of Motorworld by V. Sheyanov at

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This type of Russians is now quite popular


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  1. I have very good memories of my first car that I bought while still studying for 200 euros. It was a Lada 2103 1500S. That thing always started, even in the winter of 1984 when it was -22 and most of the other cars didn't move.
    Eventually drove 60.000 km until the polyester could no longer hold the car together. At that time you bought a new Lada 1200 for 79.000 Francs (about 2.000 euros). You could not choose the color, after a full cherry red ship came a ship with poison green, followed by baby blue etc ... If the color was not on, the car was scrapped after barely 2 years and you just bought a new one little. Great time, unfortunately over.
    They were simply much improved and strengthened Fiat 124s from the 60s

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