It’s not every day you see a Russian off-roader light up the quarter mile, but this Lada Niva, recently brought to our attention by reader Max Smith, isn’t your typical Russian off-roader.
No, this Niva has been transformed by VTG, a tuning company that can take a truck whose name translates to “crop field” and make it torpedo the 1320 in 9.33 seconds. That was quick enough to outrun an Audi RS6, which needed another 1.2 seconds to cross the finish line. The video happens to be a little more than a year old, but I assure you, content like this doesn’t age.
Initially, the RS6 gets the drop from a standstill. Once the Niva squats down, though, it’s game over. In other runs, the Lada blitzed an E30 M3 and Audi RS3, standing as a testament to the advice that nobody has the right to tell you what you can’t do, as long as you dream big enough (like our little guy here).
In fairness, the Niva is also maybe slightly helped along by the Chevy V8 under the hood. VTG, based in Warsaw, Poland, stuffed a turbocharged LSX into this diminutive beast and stayed true to the truck’s all-wheel-drive roots. VTG, as it happens, has a history of delivering stupid-fast dragsters that send power to all four wheels, sometimes in the unlikeliest of guises. Case in point: a 7.7-second AWD C3 Corvette.
This Niva was built in six months for one Oleg Vorvul from Ukraine. In its initial configuration, it ran a 9.48 at 144 mph. Engine Swap Depot dives into the build here:
Under the hood sits a turbocharged 387 ci (6.34 L) Chevy V8 making around 850 horsepower. The engine features a Dart block with a 4.125-inch bore and 3.62-inch stroke, Trick Flow 245 heads, MSD Atomic intake manifold, 92 mm throttle body, Ecumaster EMU Black ECU, and Precision 7675 turbocharger. Power goes to all four wheels through a TH400 three-speed automatic transmission with a GMC Typhoon/Syclone transfer case, solid rear axle, and custom axles. The suspension consists of a Mitsubishi Evo front and custom 4-link rear. The team debuted the creation at Grand Prix Poland where it went 9.480 sec at 231.31 km/h (143.72 mph) in the quarter-mile on 0.6 bar (9 psi) of boost.
However, VTG wasn’t satisfied with 850 horsepower. Thus, with a bit more wrenching, they outdid themselves several months later. The details, again, from Engine Swap Depot:
For the 2020 season, VTG replaced the Precision 7675 turbocharger with a larger Precision PT91 turbocharger. Watch the Niva make 1080 horsepower and 1132 Nm (834 lb-ft) of torque on their dyno.
It’s a creation that takes the concept of “sleeper” to a whole new territory, and we’re blessed to have seen it in action — even if only in a YouTube video.