Watch Doug DeMuro Get Schooled in Soviet Cars By a 1988 GAZ 24-10
If you are a motoring enthusiast and spend some time on YouTube binging on automotive content, there’s a good chance you’ve come across Doug DeMuro. For years, the YouTuber has been showcasing the quirks and features of some of the most interesting cars, ever made, as well as some pretty obscure stuff.
10 Russian Cars You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Russia is one of the largest and most powerful countries in the world alongside the United States, Germany, France, or China. But unlike its economic and strategic rivals, Russia isn’t a big player on the automobile market. That’s mostly because it was part of the Soviet Union until 30 years ago and most of its vehicles were either very spartan or of questionable quality.
Many nameplates were only offered locally, while those that made it into Western Europe didn’t receive favorable reviews. But despite all of this, Russia’s auto industry spawned quite a few interesting cars, some of which might be considered collectibles. Let’s have a look at 10 vehicles you probably never heard of before.
2019 Lada Vesta Sport
It was in 2016 that I saw the Lada Vesta Sport Concept. It was unveiled at the MIMS show (MIMS Automechanika Moscow). Lada promised us we will see the production version of the car and now, here it is. You are looking at the Lada Vesta Sport - a cheap sedan smartly (and simply) improved to justify the word Sport in its name. Based on top of the compact, cheap sedan that is really popular in Russia, the Vesta Sport features a number of improvements differentiating it from the lesser, more civilized versions of the car.
To paint you the right picture about the Vesta, just imagine it as a “Nissan Versa Sedan of Russia.” In short, a really cheap compact sedan for A to B. The Vesta Sport shouldn’t be only for A to B, though. Here’s why.
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Offroad
Volkswagen has revealed the new Tiguan Offroad. It is a new version of the super popular compact crossover now drizzled with features and solutions that make it far more suitable for off-roading tasks than before. Revealed at the Moscow Auto Show, the Tiguan Offroad brought numerous improvements over the standard Tiguan which grant the small Volkswagen with some capabilities that I would only expect from SUVs and vehicles that actually intend to go where the road ends in the first place.
2018 Kalashnikov CV-1 (Russian EV)
Kalashnikov made a car called the CV-1. Yes, that Kalashnikov - the producer of the AK-47 - a rifle that helped a lot in shaping the world. Or obliterating it. It depends how you look at it. Now, when the company is doing all it can to reinvent its business by launching a fashion brand, selling phone cases and what not, one part of Kalashnikov actually made a concept car. It’s electric, it looks like a 1970s Russian wagon, and it should fight Tesla. I am not joking.
Presenting the car at the International Army-2018 forum, Sofia Ivanova, Kalashnikov Spokeswoman said “We’re speaking about competing namely with Tesla because it is currently a very successful project in the field of electric vehicles. We expect that, at minimum, we won’t fall behind them.”
Well, some bold words are coming from Ivanova, so I was wondering if there’s any real truth to this. Should Elon Musk and Tesla be afraid? Should the car world as a whole be afraid of the Kalashnikov CV-1?
Russian Postal Drone Fails Miserably as it Crashes into a Wall
Someday, maybe in the not-too-distant future, drones will become the go-to mode of transportation for postal delivery services. But, like everything else that’s trying to get off the ground — literally, in this case — a few hiccups are to be expected. Take what happened to this drone in Russia, for example. It’s a Russian postal drone that’s making its maiden voyage as part of a test run organized by the Russian Post. Everything goes smoothly in the beginning, but it only takes a few seconds before the drone malfunctions and crashes full speed into a three-story brick building. Welp.
Only in Russia: Drunk Man Crashes Stolen Tank into Store; Proceeds to Steal a Bottle of Wine
Stealing cars is a pretty common occurrence all over the world. But stealing a tank? That rarely happens, that is unless you live in Russia where bizarre crimes happen more often than you think. That was the case in Russia where a man stole an armored personnel carrier and rammed it into a grocery store, all because he wanted to steal a bottle of wine.
The crazy caper was caught on video by witnesses to the crime, a lot of whom, according to Reuters, described the criminal as being inebriated when he crates the combat vehicle into the unsuspecting store. Apparently, the man got his hands on the APC while it was parked in a “motorsport training ground.” From there, he drove the military vehicle through a forest and into the town before setting his sights on the convenience store. Along the way, he crushed and damaged a few cars, including a Daewoo that was completely flattened.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported from the man’s reckless behavior. The building itself received relatively little damage considering that a tank drove into it. Videos taken during the act also show onlookers not looking particularly concerned that a military vehicle was laying waste to its town. Some people walked nonchalantly by, sometimes getting within arm’s reach of the vehicle without even acting surprised about what they’re seeing. The man ended up getting arrested while he was still holding on to his stolen wine, putting a cork to this bizarre episode.
A Russian Car That Can Fly? One Russian Company Is Working On One
History has had a long love affair with the flying car. We’re no closer to realizing that dream, but that hasn’t stopped some people from shooting for the stars. Companies like Terrafugia and AeroMobil have ventured into developing one to varying degrees of success. Now you can add Yagalёt to the list. If you don’t know who or what this company is, you’re not alone. Yagalёt is a Russian company that has grand visions of being one of the first companies in the world to develop a flying car. We literally have no details on how it plans to go about doing it, but we do have a single rendering of a sports car that features hovercraft technology, or so that’s what Yagalёt claims. It’s a nice dream to see flying cars roam the friendly skies. But, until there are concrete advancements in technology that will push the concept of a flying car closer to reality, it’d be best to take this news with a grain of salt.
2017 BMW 7 Series Individual Black Ice Edition
BMW has released another special edition model, but again, it’s not headed to the U.S. Such a reality has become the norm for us even though it doesn’t get any easier to come to grips with. This time, the German automaker is rolling out a special edition 7 Series exclusively for the Russian market. The model goes by the name BMW 7 Series Individual Black Ice Edition, and as its name suggests, it’s dressed up in all layers and manners of black.
From a distance, the special edition 7 Series looks exactly like the kind of car that a Russian oligarch would own. The all-black look gives it business-like swag and the fact that it’s based on a 7 Series is another indication that Bimmer Russia is keen on rolling this out for the upper-echelon of Russia’s social class. In keeping with its identity, the 7er Black Ice carries plenty of exclusive features, not the least of which is the paint finish that was used in it. Apart from that, the luxury sedan also boasts of an aerodynamic kit from BMW M Sport, interior upgrades courtesy of BMW Individual, a new set of wheels, and enough of the automaker’s newest and most advanced tech features. And for vanity’s sake, there are also badges throughout the car denoting its “Black Ice” name. I suppose that at some point in the future, we’re going to get our turn and have more of these special edition models head to our soil. But now’s not our time yet, so the only thing we can do at this point is admire what other market is getting from Bimmer. And, in this case, it looks like the Russian market got itself a good one from the German automaker.
Continue after the jump to read more about the BMW 7 Series Individual Black Ice Edition.
An Easter Egg Feature On The GAZelle Next Allows You To Play an Iconic Game
If you haven’t heard of the GAZelle Next, then don’t feel too bad because I’ve never heard of it either. At least not until today when it was brought to my attention about a certain easter egg found on the Russian-made light commercial vehicle that allows you to play Tetris. Yes... Tetris.
Falling in the “to-see-is-to-believe” segment of TopSpeed is this video of a man demonstrating how to unlock the game in the most unlikely of places. The video is in Russian, so it’s hard to decipher the exact steps that were done to unearth the game. Good thing, then, that our friends from Motor1 managed to unlock it with the help of Google Translate. Apparently, the first thing that needs to be done is to turn the ignition on and start the vehicle. Once the engine is running, the next step involves pulling down the right turn signal three times and turning the high beam on two times. Then you push the clutch five times, rev the engine up to 3,000 rpm, and then rotate the left knob of the instrument cluster for a few seconds. Then it appears, small enough to be indistinct, yet still cool enough to actually play around with.
The demonstration continues as the right knob appears to have the ability to move the bricks horizontally while the left knob is used to drop them down. It’s unclear how exactly the bricks can be rotated, but we can make do without knowing that crucial information. The mere fact that Tetris cane played from a car’s instrument cluster is cool enough itself. Just make sure not to do it when you’re on the road. Oh, and try finding an actual GAZelle Next here in the U.S. You’ll probably have an easier time finding a needle in a haystack.
Remember what happened in the Terminator timeline? Well, let me sum it up for you right quick: Humans built AI and Robots, robots and AI became self-aware, Robots and AI determined that humans were a threat. Next thing you know, robots are exterminating humans in the future and humans are hacking said robots to send them into the past to fight other robots that are there to change the past. It’s an all-out, robot-on-human temporal warfare. In the 1980s and 1990s, this all seemed like fun science fiction, but the future is here folks, and Russia is well on its way to building a full-fledged terminator minus the organic, human-like skin, of course.
I mean, seriously, this thing can shoot guns, drive a car, workout, and at one point in the video, you see it using a syringe and a drill to do other somewhat complex tasks. As you can see, it’s not exactly perfect when it comes to using the tools, but it’s pretty damn accurate with a gun and apparently drives pretty well too. According to the video, the robot is being designed as part of a peaceful space mission, but if that’s the case, why has it been programmed to shoot guns? If history has taught us anything, when it comes to war, humans will use whatever technology they have to get an advantage over the enemy. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t put it past Russia to use something like this as a weapon. But, for now, take a look at the video and let us know what you think in the comments section below…
Mechanic Dies After Crashing Russian MMA fighter’s Lamborghini
It’s one thing to own or drive a vehicle like the Lamborghini Murcielago, and it’s another to push yourself and the car beyond the limit. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened recently when two men were transporting Russian MMA fighter Adam Yandiev’s Murcielago to a repair shop.
The driver, who was a Mechanic at a workshop in Moscow, was killed instantly. The passenger, who was found to be breathing but unconscious at the scene was transported to a hospital where, as of the time of this writing, he was alive but still in a coma. As you can see from the image, the car had to have been travelling at a high rate of speed at the time of impact, as the car was almost cut in half by the lamp pole.
We were able to find a video from the scene that was recorded from a GoPro camera on a motorcycle rider’s helmet. In the video description, the poster claims that an iron base column was bounced more than 90 feet away from the vehicle in the event of the collision. When the rider arrives at the scene, debris is seen pretty far away from the car itself.
Note: If you’re going to watch the video, be aware that it is quite graphic, as both passengers are still in the vehicle during the recording, and emergency personnel had yet to arrive. If you have a weak stomach or have children around, you might want to skip watching this one.
Proving that just about anything can be copied these days, a counterfeit ring dealing in the production of fake engine oil was running rampant in Moscow until it was busted by Russian police. Numerous reports say that two young entrepreneurs were the brains behind the large-scale counterfeit scheme. The modus of the ring entered on producing counterfeit engine oil and packaging it in plastic containers used by popular brands like Shell, Total, Mobil, Elf, and Castrol, among others. The extent of the operation even involved the production of OEM engine oil from automakers like Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Volkswagen and BMW.
According to the same reports, the shadiness of the entire operation stretched all the way to Belarus where the people running the illegal outfit would acquire oil canisters that would then be processed in abandoned factories in Moscow. Once the fake oil is created, gallons upon gallons of it would be poured into plastic cans that resemble those of a specific brand. These cans would then be labelled according to the brand. Photos taken after a raid of one of the abandoned warehouses revealed products like Total Quartz 7000, Ford Formula F, and Shell Helix HX7. All these products came in their traditional packaging and the crooks behind the ring even went as far as creating caps and cases that also resembled the real things, making it difficult for like-minded folks like you and me to tell the difference.
The products were then sold all over Moscow, including in auto parts shows and events. It got so profitable for the masterminds that, according to Russia’s Ministry Department for Economic Crimes and Corruption, the business was raking in excess of $164 million a year.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
For a lot of folks out there, it’s the same old story. You get up in the morning, shuffle over to the window, and groan as you pull the curtains back to reveal foot upon foot of powder, stretching as far as the eye can see. It lasts for months, and as sure as the Earth keeps spinning, it’ll happen again next year.
But maybe we’re just looking at it the wrong way. Maybe instead of seeing the snow as a hindrance, we should look at it as an opportunity.
That’s what Porsche did recently at Moscow Raceway. The German automaker brought a variety of AWD machinery to play in the low-grip conditions. Attendees enjoyed ice sculpting, dogsledding, ice-skating, inner-tubing, and of course, plenty of test-drives to hone those car-control skills. On loan were a few 911s, Panameras, Macans, and Cayennes.
Even if your ride doesn’t hail from Stuttgart, you can throw your own Winter Festival at home. Just find an empty parking lot devoid of anything terribly solid, set up some orange traffic cones, and have at it. When the cops ask what you’re doing, kindly explain to them “Ich übe mein Russisch. Ist das nicht großartig Winter?”
Click past the jump to read about the Porsche Cayenne GTS.
In most civilized countries, keeping the sidewalks free of cars needs no special enforcing from a higher authority, but when it comes to Russia some things are almost backward. For example, a youth movement called "Stop a douchebag" in a not-so-literal translation had to be invented in order to show certain Russian drivers a thing or two about law and order. The footage in the video is just one example of the kind of work the group does.
In short, a few vigilantes walk around sidewalks carrying large round stickers and blocking any vehicle that tries to circumvent car traffic on pedestrian pathways. Most drivers back off, especially when they realize that their stunts are also being filmed, but some are more belligerent, to say the least. This usually results in verbal and even physical confruntations that make for some pretty good examples of how not to behave in public.
The funny bit is that, at least in this video edit, the jumpiest Russian drivers are women. Further escalating the conflicts, the "Stop a Douchebag" folks plaster large round stickers right on the windshields of the aggressive drivers who won’t back off. As the stickers obviously obscure view and seem pretty hard to remove, some confrontations escalate into downright brawls in other videos posted by the vigilante group.
Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive officer of French oil company Total, died in a plane crash in Moscow when his private jet collided with a snow plow at the Vnukovo International Airport on Monday night. He was the only passenger on the plane, although the plane also carried three crew members. All four died when the plane caught fire after the collision.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation on the incident and has confirmed that the driver of the snow plow, identified as Vladimir Martynenko, was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Martynenko, through his lawyer, has denied the accusations.
De Margerie was reportedly in Moscow to attend a Russian government meeting on foreign investment in Gorki, near Moscow, on Monday. The Total CEO even met Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, at the latter’s country residence outside Moscow to discuss foreign investment in Russia.
The loss of de Margerie is a big blow to the French oil company. He was widely regarded as the driving force that turned Total into a heavyweight in the oil industry, steering the company to levels of success it had never reached before he took over as CEO.
Understandably, his untimely death came as a shock to a lot of people, including French prime minister Manuel Valls, who hailed de Margerie as an “extraordinary business leader who turned Total into a world giant.”
Even the company’s competitors voiced their shock over his unexpected passing. Lord John Browne, the former CEO of British Petroleum (BP), sent a tweet to express his sadness over de Margerie’s death, calling the Total chief a “creative, inspiring, breath of fresh air” that will be missed by the entire oil industry.
Our sincerest condolences go out to the families of Christophe de Margerie and the three crew members that lost their lives over this horrific accident.
Click past the jump to read more about Christophe de Margerie