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Worst Cars Ever Number 1: Lada Samara

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Worst Cars Ever Number 1: Lada Samara

Postby Member1100 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:19 pm

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The late 1980s saw the launch of two new brands on the Australian market. Both were offering small economical hatchbacks at an attractive price. One of these brands would evolve into a major force on the Australian market and indeed the world, the other would proove to the world why cheap is not always a good thing. The successful one was the Hyundai Excel, the other was the ill-fated Lada Samara.

The two brands launched themselves in Australia in 1988. Both were promising cheap but effective cars which at the time was appealing to many people as new car prices were getting higher and higher. Lada launched its small car, the Samara and marketed it as the car that had "taken Europe by storm" which to be entirely honest, was a vivid stretch of somebodys imagination. However the Lada had the backing of a very well known and successful Australian, who became the public face of Lada. That man was Peter Brock. It was Brocks involvement which could probably explain why so many people were sucked into buying one of these Russian built attrocities. Brock was a trusted and well respected identity, and is Brock said it was good, most people believed that it must have been good. However they would soon find that even Peter Perfect had bad judgement occasionally, and his decision to endorse the Lada brand would surely go down as possibly the biggest low in his illustrious motoring career.

If ever there was a sign that the Lada Samara was a less then impressive product, it was at the very start of the importing process. The Lada Samara had to be stripped down and rebuilt in Australia before being sent to showroom, to make them acceptable under Australian standards. Approximately $2000 per car had to be spent to bring them up to the required standard, with approximately 60 changes needed to bring about this result. And that was before Quality Control issues were even considered. At first glance the woeful nature of this car was blatantly obvious. Colour matching between panels was appalling, to a level which would leave any half decent panel beater red faced and shamed for life. The car squeaked and rattled from every concievable angle and the dashboard actually crumbled before the drivers very eyes. Mirrors fell off, the cheap plastics used for grilles and bumpers warped, cracked or fell off entirely. And soon Peter Brock was battling to save his reputation as the stories of the Ladas distasterous entry into Australia swept the nation. It was at the Brock Organization, once known as HDT, where the Ladas were being modified for Australian conditions, and then released to showrooms. HDT had for several years been Brocks successful business where Commodores were modified. HDT did its business under the slogan "We Build Excitement" and was responsible for the now classic Brock Commodores. Yet it didnt take long for Brock to become a laughing stock after the Lada troubles emerged, and the joke was the Brock should change the company slogan to "We Build Exrement" which surely would not have amused an already red faced Brock.

Only months after taking Lada on, Brock sold out his interest, and then went about trying to put this embarrasing phase in his life behind him. Ladas were still being sold for a little while after Brock parted ways, and an attempt to rename the Samara to the 1300 and then Volante failed to bring any buyers. It seemed that the damage had well and truly been done. Not long after that Lada died a very painful death in Australia and was never heard of again. One company that was certainly laughing all the way to the bank at this time was Hyundai from Korea. Although the newly launched Excel was no example of motoring brilliance, it did proove to be a reliable yet basic car. It was also sold at a shade over $11,000 at the time, and attracted many buyers who were looking for a basic runaround to use, often as a second car. It was the first step of many which would see Hyundai evolve into a major player on the Australian car market. Hyundai has also made many changes to its manufacturing processes and quality control, and new Hyundais now are generally regarded as very good quality vehicles, and is leading the Korean charge to be the next "Japan" in relation to its growing car industry.

How Did Peter Brock Come To Be Involved In Such A Disaster???
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Peter Brock of course is an Australian Motor Racing Legend. His achievements on the track and his committment to road safety and charity off the track are all outstanding attributes which have cemented Brocks name as a hero. However there was a time when things werent so glossy in the world of Peter Brock, and this started with his involvement with a product known as an Energy Polarizer. Brock claimed that the Polarizer "would cause all molecules in its sphere of influence to be aligned or polarized" which would result in cars being quieter. It would also apparently result in enhanced performance of the powertrain, power steering and suspension set ups. Brock wanted one fitted to each and every Brock modified Commodore. However Holden was not so sure about this new product. It was alledged that Holden was barred from seeing the product or even testing it, a situation which led to Holden refusing to back the product. This in turn led to a very public and very bitter stoush between Brock and Holden which eventually led to the two parting ways. Brock fans followed the belief that Holden had set out to destroy Brocks reputation which simply wasnt true. Any damage to Brocks reputation unfortunatly had been done by the man himself. The Polarizer soon disappeared, mainly because it didnt work, and with his very public divorce with Holden now settled Brock had a bit of spare time on his hands. It was here that Peter Brock and his HDT company, now known as The Brock Organization was on the look out for a new product to market to Australian car buyers. Unfortunatly they found Lada. And the result was another disaster for Brock, as the Lada vehicles soon prooved to be anything but impressive. During this period, many believed that Brock was in bad shape not only professionally, but also mentally. Some had even dismissed Peter Brock as having gone nuts. On the race track Peter Brock had been flirting with Ford, racing a Sierra in the Touring Car Championships, and then BMWs. At one point he even drove a Volvo on the track. However much to the delight of Brocks legion of fans, Holden and Brock had kissed and made up during the 1990s, and Brock once again became a dominating force in motor racing. Yet the Polarizer and Lada days were times Brock was more than happy to leave right where they belonged......in the past.
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Postby kitkat271 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:42 pm

Yet another great write-up and a great no. 1 ... Has anyone seen a Lada Samara in the past decade, or ever? I don't think I have. I've seen those Niva 4WDs but never a Samara ...

With regards to Brocky, those post-HDT years weren't that bad on the track - the Sierra was a bit of an inspired choice given that those were the Group A cars at the time - a time when Dick Johnson Racing were dominating the world with one (Australian and British titles, plus Bathurst were won with DJR-built Sierras).
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Postby gravesend_king » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:36 pm

My sister in-law sold her samara (which had a blown head gasket) about 5 years ago to a local fellow who also had one.

He did an engine swap as his samara was full of rust, it is still on the road and yes it rattles like nobodys business
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Postby boronia » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:43 pm

I believe that Alan Bond introduced the Hyundai to Australia, with an import licence for WA.
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Postby Stoney! » Thu Dec 14, 2006 6:40 pm

Joke time:

Bloke walks into a petrol station and he asks the attendant. "do you have a petrol cap for my lada Niva"

Attendant replies "yeah that sounds like a fair swap"

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Postby BroadGauge » Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:04 pm

Dear Eratik,

Many people live just to read your guides, and for some it is the only amusement for them all week :lol:. Could we have an indication of what the subject of the next Eratik Series will be about? :D
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Postby Stoney! » Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:09 pm

Read his Caption under all his posts...

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Postby Bostik » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:53 pm

WOOHOO! i was right!!! Number 1 was a LADA!!!!!!!! YAY!!! what do i win?
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Postby John » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:56 pm

kitkat271 wrote:Yet another great write-up and a great no. 1 ... Has anyone seen a Lada Samara in the past decade, or ever? I don't think I have. I've seen those Niva 4WDs but never a Samara ...


My Grandparents' next door neighbour owned three Samara's for a number of years and you would often see him outside working on them late at night. Two of them were operational.

He eventually ended up taking all the good bits (if any exist in the Samara) from all three and then "restored" one of them and sold it.

He now owns three Lasers from the late 1980s.

Not sure if people are aware but it was Alan Bond's car dealer network that originally distributed Hyundai in Australia.
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Postby tone167 » Fri Dec 15, 2006 7:31 am

SomeRobot wrote:Many people live just to read your guides, and for some it is the only amusement for them all week :lol:. Could we have an indication of what the subject of the next Eratik Series will be about? :D


If you like what you read in 'Eratik's Top 10 Worst Cars' threads, get your hands on a couple of books by Tony Davis: "Lemon!" and "Extra Lemon!". Each of these books commemorates approximately 60 or so bad cars each, and it's very easy to read ... as much of it seems to have more than just a passing resemblance to some of Eratik's Top 10 ... ;)
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Postby Ray » Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:18 pm

Oooh - are you saying Eratik could find himself on Media Watch in 2007?
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Postby Alex on the Bus » Fri Dec 15, 2006 8:47 pm

Ray wrote:Oooh - are you saying Eratik could find himself on Media Watch in 2007?

Yup, methinks he'll be getting a pasting from Monica Attard any day now!

As for the Samara, my family came within a couple of days of actually buying one - and a convertible Samara at that (meaning that it would have been a dead-set deathtrap). And, as I have possibly mentioned before, the plan was to drive it from Melbourne to Adelaide the day after it was delivered. While the test drive wasn't all that bad, my parents probably realised that as mediocre a car our Ford Telstar was, it had to be far better than that piece of Russian junk.
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Postby Member1100 » Fri Dec 15, 2006 8:52 pm

Ray wrote:Oooh - are you saying Eratik could find himself on Media Watch in 2007?


Now theres a program thats not afraid to bend the truth to suit its own agenda. :roll:
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Postby scott » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:12 am

Not exactly related, but this site has some brochures and info on some of the Brock Falcon's, Fairlanes and Mavericks.
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Postby 2MSJ » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:40 am

scott wrote:Not exactly related, but this site has some brochures and info on some of the Brock Falcon's, Fairlanes and Mavericks.


Which site?
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Postby scott » Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:19 pm

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Postby Drain Jockey » Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:12 pm

Let's dig up all the old Lada Jokes.........
........How do you double the value of your Lada ?.. Fill up the petrol tank !
..Why does the Lada rear window demister work so well ? ..So you can keep your hands warm when push starting it !
..What do you call a Lada with three wheels ? .. A wheelbarrow !
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Postby Ray » Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:04 am

So Eratik, did you plagiarise it or not?? Come on, I want blood dammit!
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Postby gravesend_king » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:26 pm

The military now use the lada like this

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Postby boronia » Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:15 pm

Wrecked "exotics" ??:?:

The truck still seems to be in pretty condition to me. :P
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Postby ben73 » Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:13 pm

I know this topic is Olddd but
There is a big competition at my local pub
the first prize is a Lada
the second prize is two Ladas.

What do you call a Lada at the top of a hill?
A miracle.

How do you overtake a Lada?
Walk

How do two Lada drivers recognize each other?
It's easy... they already met at the garage this morning.

What do you call a Lada driver who says he has a speeding ticket?
A liar.

What is the similarity between a Lada and a bathtub?
You cannot step out of either one in a public place.

What's the difference between a Lada and a sheep?
It's less embarrassing being caught getting out the back of a sheep.


I had to part with my Lada as it was costing too much,
I was only doing 10 kms to every pair of running shoes.

What happens if you apply rust remover to a Lada ?
It disappears.
Can a Lada accelerate to 120 km/h?
Yes, but only once.

What occupies the last 6 pages of the Lada User's Manual?
The bus and train timetables.
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Postby mubd » Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:37 pm

Jeremy Clarkson destroys a lada
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooUsS08LxeQ
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Postby scott » Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:35 pm

Lada quality at it's finest. Does anyone know when they sold their last piece of junk in Australia?
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Re:

Postby gravesend_king » Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:18 pm

scott wrote:Lada quality at it's finest.


Clarkson may have tried to destroy one but the Russians think they are better than a Toyota Hilux see these



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAkC9E8I ... re=related



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZgY15xr ... re=related

dierct links added in case you can't see the clips from here
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Re: Worst Cars Ever Number 1: Lada Samara

Postby Wally Otto » Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:34 pm

Tis a shame that the Daewoo Matiz wasn't in the top 10. Now that was a lemon, with a 800cc engine :D
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