- Just two owners from new
- Campaigned by its first owner in the 1981 Paris-Dakar Rally
During the Cold War, Russian-built cars held little attraction to those west of the Iron Curtain. However, some saw potential in the cars of the Soviet Union, like the Lada Niva, manufactured with durability in mind to tackle arduous Russian roads.
This durability must have caught the attention of François Jeanson and his son, who entered this little Lada in the 1981 Paris-Dakar rally, the rally’s third running. The Niva was specially prepared with a plastic bonnet, doors and boot, larger capacity fuel tank, additional protection for the front and rear bumpers, additional lights and a beefier suspension.
Wearing #167, it was one of a dozen Nivas entered. The race started from the Place du Tracadéro in Paris. With 170 other cars, 15 trucks and 106 motorcycles entered, this would be a race of attrition, and of those 170 cars, only 59 finished. Unfortunately, the Jeansons’ Lada was amongst those that dropped out. However, the Ladas proved their worth in the race, with one finishing third.
Retained by the Jeansons until 2009, the Lada was purchased from them by the consignor and remains preserved in highly original condition in his collection. It is accompanied by paperwork chronicling its Paris-Dakar entry, as well as associated articles and photographs.
If the Paris-Dakar rally was a Goliath of an event, this Lada was its David, facing seemingly impossible odds in one of motorsport’s most gruelling events, where one of its brethren finished 3rd. This would be a compelling addition to any collection.