The Cars Of Mother Russia Make A Strong Case For Capitalism

Welcome to Sunday Matinee, where we highlight classic car reviews or other longer videos I find on YouTube. Kick back and enjoy this blast from the past.


You know what's really swell, you guys? Communism. It gave the world lots of neat and interesting things, like the first manned space flight, decades of great movie villains, and brutal oppression. But one thing the commies didn't really excel at was making cars.

Call it a side effect of the lack of competition and innovation when the government owns an industry; call it inadequate technology. For whatever reason you cite, cars that came out of the Soviet Union and its European satellite states aren't exactly inclined to take up space in your imaginary dream garage.


At least, that's the perception. But is it really true? To find out, our friends over at Top Gear in 2008 took at stab at finding out of the communists ever made a decent car.

First up is the Lada Riva, with its aluminum rear brakes (!!!) and loads of hat room. Next up are some cars from GAZ, VAZ, and Moskvitch, Zappo and of course, the infamous Trabant.

And the hosts even count the abysmal Morris Marina as a commie car, since it was built by British Leyland under government ownership. And sadly, it isn't much better than the cars from Russia.

Then there's the GAZ Chaika, the closest you can get to a luxury car in communist Russia without importing a Mercedes. Even if the gearchange tends to disappear, it's got roominess going for it. "You could chop up 30 dissidents back here!" Jeremy Clarkson tells us.


Take a look at the video to see some of the world's more interesting cars, ones that I'm sure many people have forgotten about with the passage of time — or never knew about at all because they were hidden behind the Iron Curtain.

As always, check out this video before the BBC pulls it down, then straps me to a Reliant Robin and sends me flying off a cliff as punishment for posting it.


What's your favorite car from a communist country?

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I can't take Top Gear seriously anymore now that I know its all scripted...