Is that a Laada Niva I see in the garage next to the 100?
In 1999 my bride and I took a trip to Ulan Ude in Siberia, we had two daughters and her OB told me if I got her pregnant again I would be in deep trouble with her (the doc, not my bride), though our family wasn't complete and our trip was to gain a third daughter. I could wax on for hours about our trip, Aeroflot planes, the Tupilov 154 that I thought I would die in, having a US passport when waiting in line at the US Embassy (that was a wonderful feeling), and making new friends on the other side of the world, but I'll stick to the Laada for this story.
Our facilitators in Ulan Ude were a couple, the wife from Minnesota and the husband from Ulan Ude, he drove a Niva. While I was there the Niva was acting up and being a car guy I was compelled to do something about it. I asked if there was and auto parts store and he took me to an open market, not tents, just vendors with their wares spread out on the grass. I secured a rebuild kit for the Solex carb (which I was surprised by though it was probably from those East German relationships) and a set of front brake pads. I asked my friend Andre if he had any tools and from the look on his face when he answered I decided to pick up a Russian Leatherman, two screwdrivers and a metric crescent wrench. Two evenings later we had it running like a song.
I've always wanted to buy a Niva and give it to our youngest daughter though I've not yet found one on this side of the pond. I did see one in Bavaria on a recent pre pandemic business trip, I left my card under the wiper though no one ever called me. Too bad, I know she'd love working on it. I've answered the whole nature nurture question, my third Daughter, Galina, is exactly like me, though in much better ways.
All in all it was a fantastic trip and our daughter has made our family complete. I made a new friend in Siberia, Sascha, he owned the only Chevy Suburban east of Moscow, for many years after our adoption trip I would have prospective parents mule Chevy parts to Siberia for my new friend.
If I had one wish for prospective adopting parents it would be for them to know that weather they come from the womb or from a trip to a far away place there is no difference at all. My bride says the look on my face was exactly the same when I held all my daughters for the first time, even though one was a year old at the first hold. Funny how cars seem to have a connection in everything we do.
“It’s some horrible car, isn’t it?” LMAO. Every trip in a car is still a treat, even at this late date. I have three examples of discontinued makes sitting in my driveway of shame and have been obsessing about Chevy Sparks for the past two weeks. It's a sickness. These articles are such a treat. All common sense blows right out the window when a car finds you.
You got it. The other week I had the motor apart to do the timing belt and found that my garage is too small to squeeze my bike (stashed in the back of the garage) by either side of the car. So I was walking a lot a few weeks ago.
Thanks. They are different plates on the same car. Here in Germany, the plate doesn't follow the car for life like in the UK or Australia. The first two letters represent the town the car is registered in. If the car migrates from one town to another or changes hands, the plate is supposed to be turned in and re-registered. In this case, the early plates were from Balingen (BL) in the Black Forest. I was allowed to drive on them for a few weeks before they had to be turned in. The later plates are LB for my town outside of Ludwigsburg.
Delicious! The drive-an-untested-car-for-cheap-home-on-the-highway gods were with you that night. And so were the blind-the-Autobahnpolizei-fairies, because running with one headlight on the A5 (or was it the A81 or A8?) for an hour was definitely tempting fate... On the other hand, I traded an old BMW motorcycle for a 1983 Continental Mark VI sedan an hour north of my home last fall, and drove it back over a mountain pass after running it slowly around town for five minutes to see if it was "ok". Maximum speed was only 80 km/h, however, which was probably a good thing given the state of the brake hoses, as I discovered soon thereafter. Keep the great stories of weird cars bought in dodgy circumstances coming -- at least until your luck runs out or your wife's patient blood curdles solid (ask me how I know)!
There is something weird and satisfying about driving home in a car that has not moved in years. I wish I could say I always made it home, but a tow chain has made the difference as often as not. I doff my hat to you sir!