Moskvitch 427 Estate Review

1972 Moskvitch 427 Estate 1.5 from UK and Ireland

Model year1969
Year of manufacture1972
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired70000 miles
Most recent distance87000 miles
Previous carLada Riva

Summary:

So bad, it's good!

Faults:

After recommissioning the car:

Fuel pump failed.

Ignition distributor worn out.

Windscreen wiper motor failed.

Carburettor problems.

General Comments:

I really do like this car. I renovated it after it had stood in a garden in London for many years. After a few early failures (see above) it has been 100% reliable. Reliably awful, sometimes, but always reliable.

Best mods were to rebuild the distributor using Volkswagen electronic ignition and to rebuild the carburettor.

It is important to stress that a special driving licence is required for the Moskvich. Will the brakes pull left or right, or stop in a straight line? It is important to keep a grip of the wheel when braking...

The carburettor requires special nursing through a huge flat spot until the engine has warmed up, but the straight line acceleration was enough to burn off a Ford XR2 one night - to the considerable surprise of its occupants...

The engine is pretty good, as the Russians took a BMW slant 4 and directly copied it, more or less. They did convert it to all-alloy construction along the way, however, so that the finished car weighs in at marginally less than a T34 tank.

There's no rust in the car and I treated it to a two-tone paint job with chrome trim, so that it actually looks quite elegant. Sad examples in Moscow tend to look like rusty rabbit hutches on wheels...

It is a good load lugger and the seats are comfortable. The heater, meanwhile, is hot enough to power a small crematorium. The only downside of the interior is the plastics; these are largely celluloid based and progressively collapse when exposed to British damp weather. I have taken to driving in gloves after getting splinters off the steering wheel last week...

Safety was not an issue when the Mosky was designed - in those days, it was your fault if you crashed - and short of installing a large spike in the centre of the steering wheel it is hard to imagine how the fittings and fixtures could be made more dangerous. My particular favourite is a cast aluminium handbrake pull with a sharp end which lives in close proximity to the driver's kneecap.

However, the bodyshell is strong, so after the police have scraped you off the dashboard and put you in a bag, the car can go on to many happy years with a new owner...

In summary, a smart, reliable car with many "character features". It attracts attention, is much admired (mainly by those who have never driven it) and whilst on the road, there is never a dull moment. Just try not to crash...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th March, 2006

15th Aug 2009, 10:25

You have to have driven one of these to understand them. I owned one in the early 1980's (L reg) and have to say that it was a nightmare to stop in a straight line, especially with crossply tyres (540/13 I think).

Mine also had a reluctance to accelerate when cold - I thought it was just a problem with my car!

The worst failure was the main bearing in the gearbox - I nearly passed out from surprise when I went into a bearing dealer with the bits and measurements, and they handed me a replacement off the shelf for £3!

The most bizarre fault was that it seemed to leak brake fluid into the server under heavy braking - this resulted in a massive cloud of dense white smoke everywhere. The first time it happened I ran away from the car in fear of it exploding! It didn't.

The starter solenoid was tempremental - requiring a regular clout with a hammer to get it to engage. I once had to do this at the line on a roundabout on the A1 in rush hour - terrifying.

Wish I still had it - best £30 I ever spent.

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 1 review