Don’t Fear the Pint-Size Soviet Police CarS

At barely over 2,000 pounds, the Moskvitch 407 is definitely not the choice for connoisseurs of intimidating patrols. Other than that, it’s cute as a button.

Don’t Fear the Pint-Size Soviet Police CarS

Lacking memories from the early ‘60s, I can’t tell if the 407 ever served as an official police car, but there’s certainly one around Budapest in old-school Hungarian police livery.

The Moskvitch 407 was a small family car built between 1958 and 1963 with a very small (1.4-liter) and rather anemic (45 hp) engine based on a 1930s Opel design. It’s sort of like a cheap and shrunk version of a period American car. Given enough determination, it will probably take a small block. If you have the heart to rip out the rear seats, that is.

Don’t Fear the Pint-Size Soviet Police CarS

In any case, parked on a drizzly evening over a great sprawl of Soviet-style apartment blocks, it’s authentic enough to serve as a time travel device back into an age of planned economies, product shortages, and useless passports.

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All photos by the author