• Apr 30, 2006

Though we're not sure how old this is, we figured that you would enjoy another installment of those crazy blokes at Top Gear, this time taking a hapless LADA Riva 1.5E and throwing the nutters at Lotus Engineering something approaching a blank check.

In two weeks time, they turn the 35 bhp four-wheeled apology into a 180 bhp Eastern-Bloc BMW 2002. No mention of the cost involved, but figuring in the quoted 1,000 man hours, plenty of bespoke handiwork (exhaust, seats, etc.) and a premium paint job, it stands to reason that this is the most expensive Riva going. Fortunately, it also appears to be the most fun.

[Source: Top Gear via YouTube]

 



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I can't remember which British car magazine had the "blurb" in a recent issue, but Lada is the #1 car in Russia. The model in the video (based on an early '60s Fiat) is STILL in production. And you thought U.S. manufacturers kept obsolete models in production too long. They reported sales last year of over 200,000 units. Lada's other best seller is the Samarra (sp?) which sold almost as many units. Considering that the Riva is an Italian design, it's biggest strength is supposed to be it's ruggedness and ease of repair by amateur mechanics. Needless to say, the steel used in the bodies is MUCH thicker than what the Italians used, and the engine is not quite as powerful/sophisticated.
      • 8 Years Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yeah pretty cool, Jeremy Clarkson mentioned after the clip (2002 programme 8) that it would cost around 100.000 pound (200.000 dollar) if you'd have it done for yourself...
      • 8 Years Ago
      i want to get my 1990 camry onto overhaulin' to get the same treatment
      • 8 Years Ago
      haha that was hilarious, the soviet logos and the Lotus plaque...classic.

      Man I kinda want my own eastern bloc Lotus!

      In Soviet Russia, Car Pimp You!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, I thought Autoblog was a news site, not a history channel. I think I saw this video a year ago and it was not a first run then!
      • 8 Years Ago
      All those old Fiat-based things were a Lada crap.
      • 8 Years Ago
      My first car was a '78 Lada 1.2L 4-cyl. 60 bhp with a 4-speed stick-shift. The car in this video is a '87-'90 Lada 1.5L which I used to dream about because it had a 5-speed. The 1.5L had 75-80 bhp. The 35 bhp figure stated in the Top Gear video is a mistake unless the car was running on 3 cyl.

      I was born in Prague and needless to say, I hated all russian things but Ladas were actually great cars in their time. Lots of RWD fun, easy to work on, strong and reliable OHC engine, 100+ mph car. The biggest problem was body rust.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What about my 1985 Jetta diesel with 52 hp?

      I'm thinking they could swap in a 1.9L PD150 TDI engine, then install the for-Germany-only RME retrofit kit so that B100 biodiesel is OK in it, then chip the thing, upgrade the turbo, etc., etc. (Such an engine swap should be OK in the US, after all, there were approximately zero diesel emissions standards for 1985...)

      Then, move on to the suspension... it's a Mk2 VW, there's tons of aftermarket suspension upgrades...

      Brakes... umm, something tells me the rear drums would get replaced. :D

      Seats... upgrades straight out of a Mk2 Golf GTI?
      • 8 Years Ago
      That is probably the funniest thing ever. Pretty sweet though. Lada's rule!
      • 8 Years Ago
      genius but for one minor detail - they should have handed it over to the stig after they were finished.
      • 8 Years Ago