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Eastern European Classics

September 14, 2009 Auto Manufacturer No Comments

The Eastern Europe Classics

By Dejan Dramicanin

This article gives comprehensive overview of Eastern Europe car classics. The cars from the list are sorted randomly.

Volga

 

Volga GAZ 24

GAZ-24 Volga

Author’s comment:

Volga was Russian for higher status. Produced from 1956 to these days, most popular revision is GAZ-24 (1970 – 1985). In version with 5.5L V8, 3-speed automatic gearbox, and black paint, it was KBG agent car of choice. Standard setup 2.5L I4 was known for brutal fuel consumption.

Lada NIVA

Lada NIVA

Author’s comment:

Lada NIVA is the best mini SUV in the world. It is produced since 1977 without any changes because it is simply perfect. This is excellent car if you need robust, real off-road vehicle. Older NIVAs have 1.6L petrol with carburetor and newer have 1.7L Opel engine with fuel injection, and there is variant with 1.9L diesel from Peugeot, all with full-time 4WD. I have never heard that someone complaint about this car, and because of exceptional center of mass it is simply unbelievable where this car can climb! With 1.7L engine and factory installed natural gas, NIVA costs less than $10k.

FSO Polonez

FSO Polonez A

Author’s comment:

I put this car on the list because it is always considered as ugly and poor performing – the karma unjustly generalized for eastern Europe cars. Name Polonez given after swift Polish dance polonaise, rounds up the nonsense of its existence. Production started in 1978, and finally ceased in 2002 because FSO was not able to withstand competition of Western cars in the same price range (for example: used, 15 years old VW Golf mark 2).

Zastava 101 Advertising PhotographZastava 101

Author’s comment:

The Zastava 101 is car built by Serbian car manufacturer Zastava, based on Fiat 128 sedan platform. The car was in production from 1971 to 20 November, 2008, with 1.3 million units sold. In 2007, it estimated that Zastava 101 was the world’s second most affordable car. This is car of my childhood, since my family had one in period from 1976 to 1984. The 101 can be seen in all generations across Eastern Europe, it is solid and inexpensive. I had chance to try many of them, and in compare with today’s car with “synthetic” driving feeling, I find driving 101 interesting since reactions of the car are with a lot of feedback. Zastava 101 remains legend in Serbia. The most usual engine is 1116 cc 55 HP.

… Continue Reading

Yugo – A “National Class” Car

Bob McElroy and Dejan Dramicanin

Yugo production at Zastava

Yugo production at Zastava

With a license from Fiat and based on the Fiat 128 the first Yugo was built in 1978 by Zastava which is located about 115 miles from Belgrade, Serbia.  In performing research for this article it appears that Zastava  is looking for partners interested in buying or investing in our factory.  The link is the first one to come up if you google Zastava Yugo.  In the event you do not want to buy the company, it is definitely interesting to follow this story as it unfolds for your Automotive Tribune Editor.  The last Yugo was built November 20 2008.

Zastava badging on a Yugo in Belgrade

Zastava badging on a Yugo in Belgrade

In November 2008 I took a business trip to Belgrade, Serbia to meet with an engineering company concerning functional and test parameters for an advanced EDR.  It did not take me long to recognize that there were a lot of Yugo cars on the road as I travelled the streets of Belgrade with Mr. Dejan Dramicanin, CEO of Bitgear Design Services.  In fact there were lots of models and I was continually looking for major and minor differences with the various models.  Dejan, knew his Yugo’s and I did ask some challenging, or was that dumb, questions. … Continue Reading

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