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So long, Lada – the last UK Niva goes up for sale

DCPU

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"Since the late 1970s, Lada’s crude-yet-tough Niva 4×4 has provided a quirky alternative to the sea of identikit soft-roaders.

But after decades of loyal service to the off-roading fraternity, its time is finally up, as Mark Key of importer Lada 4×4 UK explains.

“The last unregistered Lada Niva to enter the UK is now for sale,” he says.

“It’s unlikely that things will thaw with Russia for the remaining part of our combustion engine decade so, sadly, that’s it. No more little monsters for us decadent Westerners.”

The car arrived in the UK on 7 February, before the conflict, and is finally type approved, making it ready to be sold.

It’s a high-spec left-hand-drive Bronto Prestige with air-con, wide arches, 50mm lift and all-terrain tyres.

“These are more than £16,000 plus taxes on the road in Russia now – if you can get one,” Mr Key says.

“Production is sporadic and buyers can’t order through conventional means, instead having to ‘apply’ for one… which all sounds rather Soviet.”

This last vehicle is being sold for £22,342 plus VAT (tax can be reclaimed by VAT-registered individuals if it is taken as a two-seater) and profits will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which Lada 4×4 UK is supporting.

“Although no more cars will be coming into the country, we keep lots of spares and have easy access to Estonian and Polish parts,” Mr Key says.

“I have to say, despite the conflict in Ukraine, the car only ever attracts smiles and enthusiastic conversation at petrol stations. When you tell enquirers you snaffled the last Niva out before the war, they’re always intrigued.”

The company will instead be branching into Japanese mini trucks, specifically Daihatsu Hijet 4×4 models, which Mr Key says are light and have a large rear load bed. “They’ve got quite a following in the US, and what starts over there…”
 

Logsplitter

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View attachment 7797664
"Since the late 1970s, Lada’s crude-yet-tough Niva 4×4 has provided a quirky alternative to the sea of identikit soft-roaders.

But after decades of loyal service to the off-roading fraternity, its time is finally up, as Mark Key of importer Lada 4×4 UK explains.

“The last unregistered Lada Niva to enter the UK is now for sale,” he says.

“It’s unlikely that things will thaw with Russia for the remaining part of our combustion engine decade so, sadly, that’s it. No more little monsters for us decadent Westerners.”

The car arrived in the UK on 7 February, before the conflict, and is finally type approved, making it ready to be sold.

It’s a high-spec left-hand-drive Bronto Prestige with air-con, wide arches, 50mm lift and all-terrain tyres.

“These are more than £16,000 plus taxes on the road in Russia now – if you can get one,” Mr Key says.

“Production is sporadic and buyers can’t order through conventional means, instead having to ‘apply’ for one… which all sounds rather Soviet.”

This last vehicle is being sold for £22,342 plus VAT (tax can be reclaimed by VAT-registered individuals if it is taken as a two-seater) and profits will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which Lada 4×4 UK is supporting.

“Although no more cars will be coming into the country, we keep lots of spares and have easy access to Estonian and Polish parts,” Mr Key says.

“I have to say, despite the conflict in Ukraine, the car only ever attracts smiles and enthusiastic conversation at petrol stations. When you tell enquirers you snaffled the last Niva out before the war, they’re always intrigued.”

The company will instead be branching into Japanese mini trucks, specifically Daihatsu Hijet 4×4 models, which Mr Key says are light and have a large rear load bed. “They’ve got quite a following in the US, and what starts over there…”
A very good cause. But unfortunately as I’m spending my money on a Grenadier I won’t be buying it. A nice little collector’s piece with a good story though.
 

Krabby

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I’ve heard of the Lada and have seen a few videos on YouTube but really don’t know much. I always thought they looked like VW Rabbits on steroids. If they were reliable and capable it would be a fun runabout. They look fantastic and tough as nails.
 

bemax

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I’ve heard of the Lada and have seen a few videos on YouTube but really don’t know much. I always thought they looked like VW Rabbits on steroids. If they were reliable and capable it would be a fun runabout. They look fantastic and tough as nails.
Every assumption is right but the one regarding "reliability". It is the russion Defender in some way but much lighter and weaker. It is a car which will never be repaired to the end but is hard to kill as well.
 

klarie

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Many fellow hunters utilize Nivas, there are companies offering disassembled, galvanizing to prevent rusting and reassembling the car.
in my area there are quite a couple running. the Niva is compact, simple and robust and easy to repair. If it is used as a second car and short haul only.
If the vehicle is properly prepared against rusting it will be a long term off-road companion.
 

emax

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The Niva is boring, simple, old-fashioned, loud and weak. But it's a very capable off roader and, as @klarie already said, simple to repair and a reliable companion.

It has an honestly deserved place in the off road world and will become a legend at the latest when its production ends. I like it.
 

painter

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Had them in Canada for a while way back when. I remember one of the features was built in side window scrapers, when you roller down the window the seal at the bottom was ridged and tight to the glass, serving as a scraper.

Very rare to see one now.

Good for them producing their own cars.
 

globalgregors

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I’ve heard of the Lada and have seen a few videos on YouTube but really don’t know much. I always thought they looked like VW Rabbits on steroids. If they were reliable and capable it would be a fun runabout. They look fantastic and tough as nails.
Kind of like a UAZ, prone to breakdown but easy to work on/get going again. So reliable, in a sense - their tendency to rust not a huge issue in Oz.

On further thought VW Rabbit is American for Golf, noted. I first visualised however a Subaru 1600, another classic early 4wd. I think Subaru called them ‘Leones’ but when I was growing up they were widely known as ‘(White) Rabbits’, being originally only available in that colour or later tan. An excellent choice for your 80’s surfing safari as they’d go anywhere and you could sleep in the back.

1670885855016.jpeg
 
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Shaky

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I always said I fancied one of these and it was only recently I realised they were still being made so it’s a shame that they are not going to be available for what is likely to be quite a while.

On a brighter note, but the time they do become available in this country again they might have an electric motor available. Even if that means they will most likely have a range of about 110 miles and a four day recharge time.
 

MrMike

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Kind of like a UAZ, prone to breakdown but easy to work on/get going again. So reliable, in a sense - their tendency to rust not a huge issue in Oz.

On further thought VW Rabbit is American for Golf, noted. I first visualised however a Subaru 1600, another classic early 4wd. I think Subaru called them ‘Leones’ but when I was growing up they were widely known as ‘(White) Rabbits’, being originally only available in that colour or later tan. An excellent choice for your 80’s surfing safari as they’d go anywhere and you could sleep in the back.

View attachment 7797698
They were the first of the "L" series wagons, about 1977, that photo was taken near Margaret River Western Australia
 
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