Here's the LuAZ 1302, an updated version of the older LuAZ 969. It is a sturdy, lovable little trucklet and I want one.
As I am sure you re dying to know, LuAZ stands for Lutskiy Automobilny Zavod, as AutoSoviet explains. Why is that interesting? Because Lutsk is in Ukraine and shit is going down over there in a major way. LuAZ got its start building the 969 back in 1966. Actually, the LuAZ started life a year earlier as an also-Ukrainian ZAZ, but production was shifted over to Lutsk and the LuAZ legend was born.
The 969's got a front-mounted air-cooled V4 driving the front wheels, which is interesting because it's a development of the rear-mounted air-cooled V4 that drove the rear wheels in the ZAZ 965. I somehow doubt that the LuAZ is just a backwards ZAZ, but you certainly get that kind of impression, don't you?
What's extra cool is that LuAZ is still making the 969 in a revised form as the 1302. For instance, the 1302 has a water-cooled inline four! We're talking rise from 34 horsepower up to a startling 53! Whoa! Tone that shit down, am I right?
I mean, performance is never going to be shocking at 2,100 pounds, but with super-sturdy Ukrainian construction, four-wheel drive, and a compact 11-foot-long body, you've got a perfect offroader. I mean, it's got 11 inches (28 cm) of ground clearance, which is just a smidge more than a new Jeep Wrangler.
As for the car on the road, well, it's known for being bad even among other Soviet designs, particularly in its fondness for launching occupants out of the vehicle in crashes and also killing people with carbon monoxide leaks, as Wikipedia explains.
Wonder if I could import one. Random peasant ladies sure seem to like 'em.
I wonder how much this thing costs nowadays. Let me check their website.
Oh, it's down. Nevermind.
Whatever. I'm sure the price is reasonable and I bet I could get my hands on an old one for sure. I'm certainly not the only one to lust after a LuAZ.