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And the “new” Redusernab 24 Hours of Lemons racer is…

Kamil Kaluski February 25, 2016 24 Hours of Lemons, Featured, PBR Lada Signet 44 Comments

hooniverse lada lemons racer rear

That.

And that is a Canadian-market Lada Signet, also known as the VAZ/Lada 2107 in other parts of the world. And it’s a Lada you may have seen before, as it is a past winner. The car has long history which I will dab into at another time.

Right now this magnificent racecar is being shipped to me from Detroit. It’s previous owner/caretaker/racer is . He graciously donated it to me under two conditions: that I race it and that if I ever choose to part with it, he would have the right of first refusal. That’s more than fair. In return I offered him to be a part of the team on the first race.

hooniverse lada lemons racer front

The car can best be described as a little rough. With two races under its belt, and one solid wreck, it ran when it was parked a few years ago. It needs a few minor things: wheels, tires, brakes, engine mount, roll-cage update. OK, let’s be honest, it probably needs a lot more than that, but I am fine with that.

I am fine with that because is still running strong. I am not putting any deadlines on myself with this Lada but I do want fix it up properly. I really don’t know what to expect as I have not seen the car in person yet, but I think it would be super cool if I could make it street-legal. I have s for parts in Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. I spoke to a few people who rally these things. I feel confident that I can bring this back to proper crapcan racing life.

hooniverse lada lemons racer rear on truck

For me, personally, this car completes a circle of automotive life. I was born in Poland where I lived until the age of ten, when my family moved to United States. In my early childhood I was surrounded by various Eastern Bloc cars, such as Ladas. After twenty-five years, my first trip back to Poland, about five years ago, sparked my interest in those crappy cars, as you may have seen on these Redusernab pages. So much so, that I have actually contemplated having something shipped here.

All this was happening while I was getting addicted to crapcan racing in the Buick. And now those two passions of mine are coming together in one best/worst automotive idea that I have ever had. Thankfully my friends at and have already involuntarily promised to help me, along with various friends of Redusernab.

Hold my beer and watch this, it will be fun!

hooniverse lada lemons racer side

  • dukeisduke

    Needs a more colorful paint job. Also, don’t let Glucker drive it. 🙂

    • Jeff Glucker

      whoa whoa whoa… my stint in the Ranchero was clean as hell, and not terribly slow considering the car either.

    • I’d actually love if Jeff was part of the team…

      • Jeff Glucker

        me too – keep me posted when you’re running next… I’ll see what I can do

    • jeepjeff

      Yeah, wrong Jeff. I’m the one that spun the Ranchero. Glucker put down fast lap times on an unfamiliar track in an unfamiliar car.

      • Yes, we know, there’s no need for you to keep bragging like this about being a more suitable LeMons driver than Glucker.

      • dukeisduke

        Oh crap, sorry.

        (slams head on desk)

    • Manic_King

      Less colorful if the plan is to be eastern bloc ‘period correct’. Some God awful mustardy-green-brown dog sht hue.
      Wheels are 4×98 pattern, so junkyard Alfas, Fiats, Lancias, i.e. tough. If one finds junkyard Italian car then DOHC Lancia motor should be good fit, if whole motor is a no go then head can be fitted to Lada engine, In the ussr in some relatively free rally classes people fitted 2x Webers + Lancia head and got >200 hp out of Lada bloc in the Lada VFTS (no idea what pistons etc.).

      • The current new Fiat 500 wheel bolt patter is… 4×98. 🙂

      • Gimme links…

        • Manic_King

          They have this quite poor temp. page…prices in euros, here I guess, I could send them, but cost to NA is not that small, needs to be checked.

      • Sjalabais

        I understand there’s no point in going fast?

      • crank_case

        Can’t see any reason a Fiat/Lancia Twink wouldn’t fit, it’s a fairly common swap, usually with a box from an 124/131/Argenta though

  • This is looking promising. How’s the wiper motor?

    • Rory Carroll

      Extremely stout.

  • smalleyxb122

    Wasn’t this car’s first race Nelson Ledges in ’09?

    • Yes, I think so. Full history to come.

      • 0A5599

        You paid for a Carfax?

    • Rory Carroll

      Yeah

      • smalleyxb122

        I was at that race as a spectator. By the following spring, I had a car and a team.

    • Matt Lewis

      Yes it was. As part of the original build team, and Chief sticker producer/applier, I can say it’s good to see the Lada back in action.

      • Rory Carroll

        Hey Matt

  • Rory Carroll

    I miss it already.

  • PowerTryp

    That should make for an exciting race. What’s the theme going to be?

    • Wayne Moyer

      How about something to do with Russian dashcams? Since we see so many of these get wiped out weekly.

    • Not sure, there are Lada options.

      • Whatever you do, be sure to claim sponsorship by the New Zealand Dairy Board.

      • Sjalabais

        It should be something Nova.

  • Siemion

    I’ve seen one in a local rally, here in Poland a few months ago. I must admit it’s a fun driver’s car. It performed better than some BMW E30’s and E36’s (obviously it was somewhat tweaked). Also it was a spectacular view for the audience when it slided through most of the course. Rear end is very light – I’ve heard stories of owners putting concrete blocks in the trunk during winter

    • Do you know of any Polish part store that has performance parts for these cars?

      • I’m not really sure there’s any point polishing it….

        • It VAZ a turd and it will be a turd.

        • Improved high-speed aerodynamics.

          • Fuhrman16

            Is that were the term “turtle wax” comes from?

      • Siemion

        Hm… I’ve never had a need for performance parts, but I’ve heard of a company that makes camshafts:


        They also make other custom parts.

        Lada is based on a Fiat 124. Maybe a wrecked or rusted 124 Spider could be a good motor & drivetrain donor?

      • DAN

        What kind of parts are you thinking about? for example

  • nanoop

    One of the first cars I got to drive after I got my license, after the driving school’s Golf 3 and my parents’ Audi 100 2.6 V6. The clutch pedal return spring snapped at some point, but the cabin heater was actually gorgeous!

  • WinstonSmith84

    I recalled that they had Ladas stacked up like chords of firewood when I was in Jamaica twenty years ago. I figured I would search the internet for information on whether or not Jamaica could be a useful parts source for you. A less productive ten minutes I have rarely spent. Apparently they still have a few Ladas, but that’s all I could conclude.

    • crank_case

      Maybe like Irelands Ladas, they all went back to Russia on fishing boats, no kidding. Russian Trawlers would rock up to a fishing port, find a Riva for sale and bring it home to be sold at a tidy profit. Probably made more out of it than actually catching fish. Cars sold here and in the UK had a higher spec than the Russian market cars with nicer seats and luxuries like a tape deck so were in demand back home for people who wanted western decadent luxury but in a car that could be fixed with a hammer (and sickle)

      • WinstonSmith84

        Most of the Jamaican ones were taxis, and the normal practice in 1996-1997 seemed to be to buy three parts cars for every one actually in service. I’m not sure they’d have been worth the space they’d take up on a ship back to Mother Russia, since the ones that ran were about as nice as the inside of an elk carcass. No reflection on the cars, but they had rough existences.

      • Manic_King

        Yea, that back-to-home theme was main thing with soviet cars, one relative had RHD Moskwich, which had waited for buyer for a couple of years in the UK and was then sent back to then ussr as no one wanted it. You can read more about soviet car biz here and in the comments too: http://redusernab.info/2011/12/28/buying-a-brand-new-car-in-the-communist-ussr/

  • Ghomer

    the next project should be a morris marina with a piano on the roof (top gear fans will get it)

  • Turbobrick

    Now hold on just a minute! There’s plenty of tuning you can do to this! You should reach out to the fellows at the Finnish Lada Club for some tips. I’m sure they have tried just about everything imaginable and then some with these.

    • I never said I couldn’t or wouldn’t. Just the opposite, in fact.

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