My 1976 Lada 21011

After I bought my project Niva, I still wanted to get a Lada sedan...The problem is that there were none in the USA I could find at the time (even now there's only a handful and none are for sale as far as I know), and the ones from Canada would be:

1. Not in any better shape than my Niva
2. Newer than 1980 (that's when they started selling Ladas in Canada)

Problem is that USA have very stringent car importation rules - basically cars either have to be US-certified (you need a letter from a manufacturer proving it - good luck getting one from AutoVAZ) or over 25 years old (1977 and older in 2002)...So I decided to look elsewhere...namely Europe. Western Europe that is. I had no intention to deal with someone in former USSR - chances are they would just pocket the money and that's it. I turned back to Ebay. And one day I struck gold - there was a 1976 Lada 21011 for sale on German Ebay site. It was advertised as being in "TOP ZUSTAND" - top condition. Seller also claimed that it went through a major rebuild about 25,000 km ago. Even better, the seller had a feedback rating of well over 500, so I could trust her. As soon as she confirmed that she would help with shipping, I was off to find a transport company. I ended up doing business with AbleCargo ( They took care of everything - getting the car out of Germany, Customs clearance in New Jersey, trucking to Chicago...I just had to sit back and wait...and wait...and wait... About six weeks later, the car was in my driveway. Getting it titled was a snap - just took all the paperwork they FedExed me to the nearest currency exchange and a month later I got a US Title in the mail.

While I would not say that this Lada is in "top condition", it is in a very nice condition for it's age...possibly the nicest 1976 Lada in existance. There's very little rust, and none of it is structural, and everything in it works - yep, everything. Although, it took some sorting out to get it running nicely. Here are the issues it had when I got it:

I also got a cool vanity license plate for it - it's a copy of a Russian license plate (region 78 - Saint-Petersburg), it has "MAFIA" written on it in Russian - check out the pics.

Here are some pictures of my little Lada. They were taken soon after I got it. Click on thumbnails to see full-size images:

1976 Lada VAZ 210111976 Lada VAZ 210111976 Lada VAZ 210111976 Lada VAZ 21011 MAFIA license plates

1976 Lada VAZ 21011 interior1976 Lada VAZ 21011 interior1976 Lada VAZ 21011 dashboard

I plan to get this little Lada to a completely pristine condition. It had already received a new paint job at the "SpeedShop" in Loves Park, IL. Then I made a mistake of hiring them to rebuild the engine - long story short, over a year later I had to rescue my 21011 from them, in pieces, and put it all back together myself.

Update: See the 2006 Update page for recent news.

Meanwhile, it was featured in the "Classics and Chrome" invitational car show on April 26 and 27, 2003. Follow a link on the left to read about the show, and see photos.