My enduring image of the Lada Riva from the late 1980s is an old-fashioned car that people bought because it was cheap. With it being the butt of many jokes, it was about as exciting as Steve Davis. But this is like judging a film you’ve missed the start of, that’s in a foreign language. The Riva was the first car for many Soviets, and over a 40-year history sold more than Ford’s Model T. So just where did this car come from? And why was the USSR hawking it for all it was worth in the UK in the 1980s?

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