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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Aug 23: From Russia with love - part 2

 After starting our Russian river cruise in the (very) big city of Moscow, with all its traffic chaos and luxury cars, we move north along the river to the smaller cities, towns and villages. Now we get to see Russia as it used to be and is to the most part these days as well. We see the quaint little homes surrounded by vegetable gardens, that bring me back to those old National Geographic articles of my youth. The same ones that sparked my interest in Russia and eventually caused my wife and I to visit this Summer. This is where the luxury cars fade into future dreams and we see the old Soviet era cars in a wide variety of conditions, but mostly rather poor.

As I wrote in another blog, the old Russian cars intrigue me and I have a bit of knowledge about the models, but with so many, I'm bound to be wrong a few times (feel free to correct me, Alex). I think the car above and definitely the one below is a Gaz-Volga.

Russian cars sometimes seemed to have different names in different parts of the Soviet Union, but I believe these are the same car, but different years.

Expensive suv's might be very popular in the new Russia, but they also had a place in past times, but were, you might say, considerably rougher, with a few (quite a few) less creature comforts. Here's a good example........

A classic? Sure is, it's the UAZ 469. Loved for it extreme ruggedness and probably its similarity to the older Land Rovers, before they became the darlings of the rich and famous crowd. Another classic is this little rear engined Zaporozets..........

Just imagine that in the Soviet era, if you could afford a car, you'd put down a deposit and wait maybe a couple of years to see what colour you'd be getting. Try that now a days. By the way, there are still a ton of Lada's around, but since they were sold in Canada, I didn't find them too interesting.

Russia has also become home for some Chinese imports. You know that the Chinese have never found a design that they couldn't copy, so what does this new Lifan 320 remind you of.........

How could you not say a Mini Cooper? After BMW's lawsuit, I don't think that you'll see one in Europe anytime soon.

Was this trip an eye opening experience? Absolutely. A look behind a curtain that is still foreign to most people. And for me, a look at a past and present car culture that is both intriguing and a little bit scary. I had the good luck to meet a Russian car guy, we talked cars and exchanged magazines (thanks again, Alex).

We were fortunate to be able to make this trip and it was worth every single penny..

Until next time.........

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