As car and bike lovers we couldn’t ask for anything better than being based in California – the epicenter of car culture with year-round great weather and events.
We’ve been to a lot of car and bike shows over the years and while fresh ideas and new builders always seem to appear out of thin air, we always kind of know what to expect. This has led us to wonder what’s happening elsewhere in the world and this year we’re broadening our horizons and covering more events outside of the US.
This past weekend we were in Kiev, Ukraine for the annual Old Car Land show at the Ukraine State Aviation Museum. Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, a country still fighting it’s way out from behind the old iron curtain. Much of the population is torn between embracing modern Western culture and clinging to the old ways but Kiev is the most modern city here and there is a strong interest in American culture and all things once forbidden.
It is hard to even imagine living in a country where car culture was once considered decadent and bourgeois and officially denounced, but if you can it makes experiences like this quite incredible.
Once a year local car and bike lovers assemble for ‘Old Car Land’, a celebration of all things that go. Here that includes everything from Russian scooters to all manner of military vehicles.
Every vehicle here is an incredible display of love and passion as their restoration and maintenance is not easily accomplished.
Some of the most interesting cars were the Soviet copy-cat cars like the Gaz-13 “Chaika” seen below. Russia had been “borrowing” American designs since 1932 when they developed a car identical to the Ford Model A. This one is clearly a copy of the mid-50s Packard. Apparently Stalin was fond of Packards. These were used by the elite party members.
The Moskvich-402 with styling cues from Opel and Ford.
On the streets of Kiev you will still see lots of Ladas. The VAZ-2101 “Lada” was the original, built under a deal with Fiat to reproduce the 1966 Car of the Year Fiat 124 in Russia. These were built for 18 years.
After WWII Stalin tore down and moved the Opel factory to Russia to build the 1939 Opel Kadett as the “Moskvich 400”.
We are certainly not any kind of authority on Soviet or military vehicles so if you recognize any of these please leave comments below. Everything we saw was fascinating and we were only scratching the surface of this wild scene.