The CarAdvice team reveals what's hidden away in their sheds and backyards awaiting some TLC.
Will you separate? Can you post? Do you have the 10mm washer that goes on the back side of the second-to-left bolt on the inside of the glovebox?
A big component of the allure, and downright thrill, of owning a project car can be summed up in one simple word. Parts.
Finding. Obtaining. Hoarding… well, in correct parlance it is just ‘having’. As you never know when middle gasket for a Weber 32/36 DGV carburettor will suddenly be useful. Nothing is too small, everything is kept. These are the rules and you all know them.
In the case of my 1988 Lada Niva, parts are a curious commodity.
I have a box of bits, including hoses, gaskets, a set of reduction bevel gears, a spare differential gear, new distributor cap and rotor button, assorted filters, bolts and even the original manuals and warranty booklet.
But that’s not even the best part. Since buying it, I’ve also managed to source an original Russian two-spoke steering wheel and a spare centre console with the original Pioneer tape deck. But I’m not done. Oh no.
There are a few key things the Niva is missing, so I’ve been gradually building a shopping cart on both the LadaPower and Lada.Shop websites of little odds and ends I feel it needs to be a bit more complete. You know the drill, switches, trim, missing bolts, plus the all-important headlamp wiper kit.
I’ll need to ship to my sister in the UK to manage costs (I’ve already sent her some goodies for the 190E), but while I wait to make sure these transactions all go smoothly, I’ve found myself stuck in the traditional project-car trap of looking for more parts. More crucially, more ‘original’ parts.
These are the most precious of the precious and are usually categorised using one of the following three-word descriptions; New old-stock. Mint in box. Or simply, whole-car wrecking.
Any ad I see for a Niva, and let’s face it there aren’t many, I’ll pop a note to the seller to see if I can pick any juicy morsels before someone else snaps up the whole box and dice. I incidentally missed out on scavenging the red car in the photos, as someone purchased it as a whole.
But just this morning, I found the original jack and crank handle advertised in Queensland. Naturally, I have send a message through – I’ll let you know how I get on!
Worth noting too, that in the last update I promised details about backdating the wheels and getting the green-machine on the road, but I've barely driven it since we shot the comparison with the Suzuki Jimny, so hopefully I can get around to a more interesting update within the next few weeks.
Current Status – Waiting for a sunny day
Odometer – 101,500km
Next up – Backdating to original