AFTER a 42-year run on Russian assembly lines, automobile manufacturers AutoVaz recently announced it has pulled the plug on the Lada 2107.
Taking its inspiration from the 1960s Fiat 124, the Lada — which was available in both sedan and wagon — became the affordable transportation option for many persons worldwide.
Nigel McFarlane, Jamaica Classic Car Club (JCCC) president, said he remembers when the Lada first 'set foot' on the island.
"There was a drought of cars coming into Jamaica during the late 1970s. I remember as a teenager, accompanying my father to Kingston from Manchester to purchase one at Motor Sales. The cars were priced at $13,000," he told Auto.
"After standing in line for almost an entire day, we did not get one. The demand was so great," McFarlane continued.
The classic car club president said his father had to resort to buying a second-hand Ford Cortina.
During the early 1980s, an agreement between Jamaica and then Communist Russia saw large numbers of Ladas being imported under a barter arrangement in exchange for bauxite ore. As a result, Ladas became popular as taxis due to their rugged simplicity and affordability. They replaced the ever-present but dated Morris Oxford.
The manual, five-speed, in-line, four-cylinder Lada engine had 57 kW at 5,600 revs per minute. With its fuel tank which could hold 43 litres of gasoline, the vehicle had a torque of 108.0 Nm at 3,200 revs per minute.
McFarlane said that despite the brand being discontinued, Lada owners should not worry about the availability of parts.
"Most of the cars in the club [JCCC] are not in production now. What you may generally find is some enterprising company making reproduction parts, especially if they are in great demand," he said.
"I have a 1979 MG MGB and the factory closed 32 years ago. I find that I get parts easier for my classic than my everyday car," he added.