It is a long way from Latvia to Gloucestershire via Hungary but that is the route this Lada has taken. Russian car manufacturers were involved in rallying during the 1960s with Moskvitches and Volgas but in the 1970s it was the turn of Lada. The Volzhsky Automobile Factory had bought the design and tooling for the old Fiat 124 series, extended their factory in Samara with two 1.8 km production lines and started making the Lada 2101 in 1970. By the end of the 1970s, uprated models were being used in Iron Curtain rallies and a driver called Stasys Brundza had been doing well on events like 1000 Lakes, Swedish and Acropolis Rallies. Thus when he suggested to Lada that he be allowed to manage the construction of a limited edition of the latest 2105, they gave him the green light.
As he was a Lithuanian living in its capital, Vilnius, the cars were built by Vilnius Fabrik Tuning Sport – hence the VFTS – and run in rallies by Brundza Tuning. The specification was not dramatic. The engine was a 4-cylinder, 8-valve, 1.6 litre engine breathing through twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors giving some 165 bhp driving through a five speed gearbox to a live rear axle. Quite a lot of weight was saved by the use of fibreglass panels so that the original car weighed in around 920 kilograms on its first evolution while a second later evolution saw aluminium components added which brought the weight down to 820 kilograms. Thus it was no sluggard. The gearbox is unusual in that fifth gear is on the “wrong” side of the “H” next to reverse. Thus first to second is “down, all the way across, and up”.
Was one of the original factory team cars. It eventually wound up rallying in Hungary where it most recently won its class in 2006 driven by the Hungarian champion, Laszlo Szabo. The current owner has restored the car to the works livery in which it competed with Brundza on the 1985 New Zealand Rally and regularly takes part in Slowly Sideways demonstrations.
Engine : four-cylinder, in-line, longitudinally mounted in front, twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, 165 bhp, 1,569cc
Induction : two Weber 40 DCOE carburettors
Body : unitary steel construction two-door sports coupé
Suspension front : McPherson struts with a lower track control arm and anti-roll bar.
Suspension rear : live axle with twin radius arms and a panhard rod, coil springs and telescopic dampers.
Transmission : five speed (modified Lada four-speed) gearbox mounted behind engine and driving rear wheels via a propeller shaft.
Weight : 920 kg (Evo 1), 820 kg (Evo 2)