1987 Lada Samara 1300 1.3 petrol carb from Croatia


Plenty of rattles, but indestructible!


Old rubber parts were a mess, especially those exposed to elements:

-Rubber gas inlet hose leaked.

-Rubber hose from the cooler leaked intermittently.

-Rubber membranes in the reed valves have disintegrated, rendering windscreen washer pump defunct.

Handbrake grew difficult to operate due to rust.

Rear brake pads have worn out at 134000 km, and were promptly replaced.

Undefined grunting noise from the trunk while cornering, which mysteriously cleared after my car was rear-ended by a drunk driver!

Telescopic suspension of the tailgate failed. Promptly replaced by a state of the art Broomstick (tm).

Previous owner didn't take good care of the dashboard, and it became all crispy from exposure to the sun.

Plastic fittings on the doors had a tendency to rattle at certain speeds.

General Comments:

My car has had a hard life - its left side was struck by a speeding streetcar, I ploughed head-on into a snowdrift, and the car was ultimately rear-ended by a drunk Ford Escort driver. As a result, my poor car looked like it has been to hell and back - several times. Mind you, I'm surprised at how well it survived all those collisions - Ladas are indeed built like tanks and they just keep on ticking even when other cars would give up altogether.

The car always started immediately on the first crank, even in the coldest mornings. Also, Samara never left me stranded by the roadside.

Mechanically, the car was nothing short of seamless. Previous owner had replaced parts of ignition and a battery, but no real work was otherwise evident in the engine compartment.

Rust was not a major issue; there were rusty spots on the tailgate and around the rear wheels, but nothing out of the ordinary for a car of that vintage.

Interior was in a pretty good shape, apart from the dashboard plastic which crackled in a happy random pattern. Seats were reasonably comfortable and in a surprisingly good condition.

Electrics and ignition weren't an issue, but some plugs and connections had a tendency to work themselves loose. In most cases, the only thing required to "repair" a failed part was a hearty punch using an Annoyed Driver's Fist (tm).

The only real problems I had were caused by aging rubber parts; leaky rubber hoses. Then again, you can't expect a rubber hose to last more than 15 years, can you?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th November, 2004

18th Aug 2006, 05:06

Don't know the car, but sure enjoyed the review, particularly the trademarked bits. Thank you.

1987 Lada Samara 1300 from Norway


Inexpensive, but far from 'cheap'..


Rusted quickly underneath, mainly due to heavily salted roads during the winter in Norway.

Otherwise, absolutely nothing.

General Comments:

The car was excellent in cold weather, and started without any problems whatsoever, even after being parked outdoors in temperatures below -20 centigrades for over a week with no motor heater or anything.

On wet, slippery winter roads, and on snow and ice, it stuck to the road like glue - as long as you had good tires.

If you're lucky, an old Samara will be a total bargain. The Russians have no choice; their cars must be reliable in winter, and a good Samara never quits.

I lost mine due to an accident, in which I was luckily not hurt, and I'll get another again anytime, even though I now drive a Renault.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2003

15th Jan 2006, 12:53

My Loyal friend (Lada car) Sir the car is still going strong passed the m.o.t. with flying colours.

Still think that for the money I payed for it about 16 years ago its the best car I ever had, And I had quite a few, of defferend makes.

Louis henwood


16th Jan 2006, 01:42

I agree with you, Louis. The Samara is a good, honest and reliable car- which is easy to maintain and very economical on fuel. The people who criticise the car, in a biased and destructive fashion, generally don`t know anything about cars, and just delight in being nasty, for their own weird reasons.

I`ve owned a Samara for 15 years, and besides normal maintenance, have enjoyed trouble-free motoring. If one looks after a car properly, it will serve and reward him (her) doubly, in return.

However, if one abuses and neglects it- like some dim-wits do, of-course the car will have problems. Pleased to hear that you are a responsible and conscientious owner.

Enjoy your Samara, and Happy Motoring!

23rd Aug 2008, 06:07

Yes I agree.

23rd Aug 2008, 06:13

I bought my Lada a year ago and it was mad in 1987. Considering its age, it is a very reliable car. My only problem is the shortage of the spare parts here in Egypt, but is a very good car. It's mechanism is very simple. It's not a complicated car at all. And its very cheap car compared to its features.