You hear the name Ayrton Senna and your mind goes to a few places. It might be Monaco. It could be an image of that iconic helmet and its colors. Perhaps you think of a rainy circuit and Senna putting on a driving clinic for his colleagues. What you don’t think about is the VAZ-2101. A Soviet-modified Fiat 124 not typically considered the sort of machine to be wielded by one of the greatest drivers of all time. But that’s what you’re looking at in the picture above.
says that the photo was snapped ahead of the 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix. The year was 1986 and Senna wanted a car to take around the Hungaroring to absorb the circuit. He requested a car that the locals would use and he was presented with the VAZ-2101. And that’s how we have a photo of Ayrton Senna driving this hunk of Russian (and Italian) metal around a race track.
It’s a fantastic shot of a legendary man driving an …interesting car.
[East Coast Editor and self-proclaimed Eastern European car expert’s note – VAZ was the abbreviated name of the auto manufacturer, Volzhsky Avtomobilny Zavod. It was used for the Soviet Union market cars. All cars exported out of Soviet Union had the name Lada. Mr. Executive Editor would know that if he bothered to read my review of a on TTAC -KK]