Rally Round Russia's Retro Auto

If you're going to be hanging around Lviv this month keep your eyes peeled for the sight of dozens of Zaporozhets snaking their way through the city centre as die-hard fans celebrate the much-maligned auto that was once billed as the 'people's' car'.

In Soviet days the Zaporozhet symbolized Communism's technological backwardness and crassness but since the 90s, like the Lada, it has taken on an iconic retro status and can count among those that still have a special affection for it, one Mr Vladmir Putin. Now Ukrainan and Germany fans are getting together at a Zaporozhet rally in the city, before embarking on an European tour that will see the car, that was named after a band of Cossacks, cantor through 21 countries including Germany, Turkmenistan, Iran, Serbia and - the daddy of them all - Russia. The troops will be heading for some distinctly Soviet era sites, such as the mausoleum of Roksolana in Istanbul.

The Zaporozhet was the cheapest car to manufacture in Soviet days and is a sturdy little number, well-equipped to deal with the perilous state of the nation's 'highways'. Perhaps, the very fact that so many of the vehicles are still in use, goes some way to prove that actually it's quite a durable little number.

The organisers of the tour hope that the Zaporozhet's expedition will help promote peace and international understanding and they are aiming to do another run next year - possibly with more fanfare as it will be the little car's 50th anniversary. Check them out at Click here and catch them while you can.


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