If the Fiat 124 is too mainstream for you, then step right this way, comrades, for some underground Cold War memorabilia.
Based on the 1967 European Car of the Year-winning Fiat, this model was licensed and re-engineered by Russian car giant VAZ (now AvtoVAZ) under the VAZ-2101 nameplate domestically and exported as the Lada 1200 from 1974.
It was the first Lada to reach the UK and, while it had Italian-inspired styling, there was more than a hint of Soviet influence, too. Among the changes to suit Russian tastes (and climate) were increased ground clearance and a softer suspension set-up, as well as a reinforced chassis and the ability to hand crank the engine (in case the battery succumbed to Siberian winters).
But with cars like this, it’s definitely the romantic allure of owning such an old, unusual machine that draws you in, rather than the engineering accomplishments associated with it.
The 1198cc eight-valve inline four sends 59bhp to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual ’box for an optimistic-sounding top speed of 87mph and 0-60mph covered in, um, a more realistic-sounding 20 seconds. But when you’re travelling in such style, you’d want the journey to last longer anyway, right?
The first of these 1200s arrived in the UK in May 1974 and were priced from £979. This model was registered on these shores in October the following year and today has an asking price of £2995.
It appears to have sailed through an MOT in October last year, but is that a period-style sepia effect on the photos or is it actually a few specs of rust? We’d investigate further with a view to knocking down the price a bit. But otherwise, it looks in good nick for its 65,000 miles and has a wonderfully bourgeois interior. And we’d very much hope the flags are included in the price.
Audi A6 Avant 2.7 T Sport, £1850: Plush, big, quick and dirt cheap. This wagon as standard gets a detuned version of Audi’s 2.7-litre B5 engine, but its owner has remapped it to 289bhp. It looks as tidy as you could hope for with 120,000 miles on the clock and a very nice leather interior.