Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lada Niva - a classic car you can buy new today

This is a Lada Niva, difficult to say what year. Few people know that this is one of the cars with the longest production history. Since 34 years it has been produced with minor changes except engine updates. 34 years is quite something, the Ford Model T for example was only manufacturered for 19 years. And even the Mercedes SL R107 made it "only" 18 years until it was replaced by its successor. But there are a few cars that are even more successful long runners, i.e. the Volkswagen Beetle with 65 years or the Porsche 911 with 47 years (if you include the water cooled generation), the Morgan 4/4, +4 with roughly 74 years (still in production) or the Land Rover (Defender) with 62 years of manufacturing history. Now, a good question is, whether these cars really have been the same car from the first to the last version produced. At the end it's a marketing decision, whether the name or the shape of a car changes. For example the 911 has probably changed quite drastically in the 47 years it has been produced, a shift from air cooled to water cooled engines is just one aspect. I would say that if basic parameters substantially change (i.e. drag factor, length, width, height, weight) then it's questionable whether we still can speak from the same car. But it's not an easy distinction.
Let's go back to the Lada Niva. I tried to convince my father to buy one of these 30+ years ago. They were cheap then, they still are. They were robust, they still are. And they offered a low cost entry into 4 wheel off road driving, they still are. But off road cars around the Niva have changed quite a bit, so buying a new Niva today is probably more like buying a classic car than a state of the art off road vehicle.

2 comments:

John L said...

There's still a few old ones kicking around these parts.

Moorabbin Carsales said...

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