The last one rolls off the line:
The AvtoVAZ manufacturer announced that the last VAZ-2104 from the Classic series – usually known as the Riva abroad – rolled out of its factory in Izhevsk in the Urals on Monday.
The series had been produced since the early 1980s but varied little from a 1970 predecessor, which was conceived as an affordable workhorse as a result of collaboration between Italian automobile giant Fiat and the Soviet government.
In the West, the Riva became a figure of fun for its boxy looks and atrocious build quality,
Build quality was indeed the thing. For if you had one that was actually built right (a rarity, you wanted one built in the middle of the week in the middle of the month such was the effect of state planning. At the beginning of the month there were no parts to build one from, at the end they were being slammed together to make quota as the parts had arrived. Mid-week for the obvious reason that sobriety was most likely among the workforce at that time) they were very solid little beasts.
But oh dear God, the build quality. We never did have one over there, but we had to vans made in Moscow. Based on the old Renault 4 design. Bought them new out of the factory. First thing the drivers did was take them apart. Right down to disassembling the gearboxes. To check that all parts were there, that screws were screwed in, not hammered, etc, etc.
This is one of the things that so grossly over-estimated Soviet productivity and wealth. Sure, they made cars, trucks, steel, cement, in vast quantities. But most of what they made was just crap. Not worth the value that the national accounts put on them at all.