Sunday, November 28, 2010

1985 Lada Signet 1.3 - A JaCG Reader's Newest Acquisition

Remember Todd? He was the onetime owner of the Mitsubishi Debonair I wrote about back in September. In his e-mail to me about that car, he mentioned that he also had owned a 78 Austin Allegro Estate, 80 Austin Princess, 79 Ford Granada Coleman Milne Cardinal Hearse, 82 MG Metro, 83 Austin Maestro Vanden Plas and a "few Peugeots"; a 504 Diesel Wagon, 505 Gas Wagon and a 604 Turbo Diesel. Oh yeah, he also had "bunch" of Renault R-16s, including a Canadian built Euro spec R-16TS, couple of Le Cars, a Renault Medallion, an Opel Manta, an Audi 100LS, a Citroen GS Wagon, and a BMW 1600 with a 2002 engine and dual DCOE Webers. I published his e-mail and Todd instantly became a hero to the vast majority of JaCG readers.

Todd e-mailed me last week to share his latest acquisition, a 1985 Lada Signet 1.3 Automatic with 48,000KM. I asked him for some photos and a little history and he obliged.

From his e-mail:
"I gotta admit I'm not new to Ladas even though yes, I live in the States and no, Ladas were never imported here. My current Canadian spec Signet is actually my Fourth Lada. Seriously! I've had not one but THREE Samaras prior to owning my current car. I'm not one to be told "no you're not allowed to own one of those" and I'll do what I gotta do to make it happen.

My Current car is 100% legal! It's a 1985 Signet 1.3 Automatic! I found this car via Craigslist. I put a "Wanted Lada" ad on Craigslist in Vancouver BC and got an e-mail from a guy who said he knew of a car available on Vancouver Island. This is the car I have now. I paid $2,600 for it and it even comes with a 1986 running parts car, but I can't bring that in until January...the 25 year old rule again.

This car has 48,000 kilometers from new and is a very well preserved example. The guy I bought it from said it was bought new in Victoria BC and was garage kept and rarely driven. He said when he got the car it still had the plastic on the seats. His wife drove it occasionally and he was good at preventive maintenance and it came with a hand written paper of every little thing he ever did to the car.

I made the Long 16 hour trek to Vancouver Island and back to pick up the car with a car dolly on the back of my Dodge Ram Diesel pickup. I'm not near brave enough to drive an unfamiliar car that rare in one day! Customs was dead easy other than they couldn't find the brand Lada anywhere in their computer, but that only delayed things slightly and soon I had the important Customs clearance paperwork in my hand and was able to register the car.

My plans for the car are just to drive it on nice days and to take it to car shows where I know for sure I'll have the Only Lada there."
I'd bet he's right about that.

This is a great looking Lada and Todd deserves to be congratulated for hunting it down and bringing it to the US.

Don't get me wrong, I love traditional classic cars and I have nothing but respect for someone who restores or buys an old Ferrari, Healey, Alfa, Jaguar, Triumph, etc., etc. But I have a special kind of respect for someone who restores, owns and loves a car that is not considered a traditional classic. Todd gets that kind of respect from me.

A big thanks goes out to Todd for sharing his car and the story!

If you have a cool old classic you think would be of interest to JaCG readers, send me an e-mail with some history (how long you've owned the car, the condition it was in when you bought it, where you found it, etc.) and some pictures and you may see it posted here.

5 comments:

m4ff3w said...

I want a Lada. My buddy is currently working for Boeing in Papa, Hungary and bought a Riva 2105. He plans on bringing it back with him when he moves back.

Anonymous said...

My dad bought a Lada when they first came to Canada because they were so cheap. I'll have to ask him about his Lada experience. I kind of like the 4x4.

rrshadow2 said...

The more Ladas that can be brought to the States the Better! I have a friend here locally that has two Not so legal Niva 4X4s...not that either of us have ever once cared about the legal or not part :-)

Turbobrick said...

Holy smokes! I have probably seen more Ladas than the total # ever imported into Canada, but I have never seen one with an automatic! What is it, and was it a dealer installed option?

Mike Harrell said...

Just to tie up a loose end, the MG Metro mentioned by Todd is one covered here earlier:

JaCG 16 May 2009

I bought it from him a few days after that post, though I didn't find out about this blog until today-- small world!

Todd: Congratulations again on the Lada. Looking forward to seeing it in person.