At least, this is what the Garage 54 creed of automobility appears to be: leave no rules unbent, no laws unchallenged, no quirkiness untried! A two-seat Lada coupe is the latest wrench-slinging bravado from the band of imaginative Russian vloggers.
This might come as a shock for the very few gearheads that are unfamiliar with the legendary automotive masterpiece from the Soviet Union. The Lada was ‘invented’ (read ‘copied after a FIAT’) as a four-door, five-passenger sedan for the workers, peasants, and other low-key members of the undiscriminating proletariat. No capitalist, decadent variant was ever built with 'motoring fun' in mind - the superior communist society was above such consumeristic ideologies.
Of course, there is a but! It’s Russia we’re talking about, and things happen. Things things. Usually, when we think of a coupe, we imagine a car with two doors (possibly two seats) rooted in a larger version of the same model. Alternatively, the coupe moniker is used to segregate between automobiles with and without a B-pillar.
However, the Russians came up with an alternative approach – a longitudinal coupe. I know this isn’t even a thing: the most common type of two-seater car has its pair of seats placed adjacent, one on each side of the vehicle. This layout has a double advantage: you can enjoy motoring without being pestered by in-laws or blasted children (yours, not the in-laws’) and enjoy the company of your partner during a ride.
The solution is pretty straight-sideways: cut the unnecessary out of it. Since the driver’s position is the point of reference, the front left seat is left in its place, and the second seat deemed usable is the one right behind the driver. Everything else can be thrown away.
Including the bodywork, yes. This leaves us with a most unusual – we’ll say nothing about safety – concept of a ‘half-body on full-chassis’ Soviet Lada that is the spitting image of communism: blatantly stupid, thoroughly useless, and catastrophically amusing. And yet it works (for a while, and then it dies).
Let’s clarify a few things about this glorious Russian achievement of motoring: the body (what’s left of it, anyway) is connected to the chassis via crude welded girders, lest it flies away with the breeze when underway. The glass was eliminated in total – probably for ease of execution and to reduce the weight of the bouncy half-body.
Being a Lada, the automobile poses some undeniable threats to the driver’s health and safety: I’m not referring to the absence of the sheet metal around him, but the clouds of asphyxiating exhaust essence. And the dirt and debris from the road and the elements. And let’s not wholly exclude malice and ill intent – a villain might attempt to steal something from the car.