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Dangerous steering, minivan body and foreign design: myths and facts about Lada Kalina

Outwardly, the Lada Kalina was so different from the angular “chisels” and the “pregnant-swollen” VAZ-2110 that they immediately tried to catch her in “tarnishing connections with foreign cars.” Moreover, the Opel Corsa B (or rather, the Brazilian sedan Chevrolet Corsa) outwardly really had a lot in common with the new VAZ model.

However, work on the new compact model at the VAZ began in the late eighties, and it was not so much about the new car for the Volga plant itself, but about developing the “second” model for Elabugi – first the promising car wore 1124, then 1125.

A little later, it was decided to attract Fiat to work on a new car – more precisely, Soviet designers and designers were given the opportunity to work on this car in Italy, at the ItalDesign studio.

About the joint development of the Italians and the USSR under the code code “A-93” magazine “Driving” told back in March 1990

The project received the code designation A-93, and work on it was suspended only in connection with the August 1991 coup, after which it was not so much the prospect that the Elabuga car factory itself hung.

At the same difficult time, GM was trying to gain a foothold in Russia by launching the production of its new model in Elabuga – just the Opel Corsa, after having “replayed” its decision in favor of the Blazer SUV, whose “screwdriver assembly” lasted only a couple of years.

And that’s not all “introductory” for the birth of Kalina: in 1991, Boris Berezovsky takes the stage with his “people’s car” project and the All-Russian AVVA Alliance.

By 1993, the A-93 turned into a VAZ-1116, also never became a car.
And only after both promising projects (A-93 and VAZ-1116) finally lost their relevance, did they decide to take advantage of past achievements and make a new car on the old platform – that is, develop a compact and aerodynamic compact car in the style of “biodesign” , based on the time-tested units and layout of the Lada Samara.


The interior of Punto (in the first photo) bears some resemblance to the A-93 model.
At the same time, the majority of stylistic techniques for several years of forced “idleness” have already been worked out – it remains only to bring them to the level of a production car, simultaneously updating the exterior. Opel Corsa and Fiat Punto really were certain benchmarks in fine-tuning the design, but no more.

Serial Lada Kalina is still significantly different in design from its intended prototype – Corsa sedan
Moreover, over the course of several years, the trends changed, and even the pre-production samples of the Kalina Series 100 by the beginning of the two thousandths had obviously become outdated, which made the VAZ employees to “modernize” the car at the stage of putting it on the conveyor. Therefore, the final product Kalina with Italian or German subcompact proved even less common than the prototypes.

In the previous section, we have already mentioned the project 1116, which was developed at the VAZ by order of Boris Berezovsky. However, the lack of financial resources (including alliances) put an end to this business idea. In the mid-nineties at the VAZ they decided to return to this development, but at the same time they switched to the G8 units, which forced them to increase the gauge and the width of the body. A prototype of the body for the AVVA project was taken and simply cut along, after which they welded an 80-mm insert.

VAZ-1116 served as a “blank” for the body of the future Kalina
So the failed child for Boris Abramovich began to turn into the future Kalina. And in the process of refinement, a new car appeared, which, although based on the old (and only) front-wheel-drive platform, received units that went from the “source code” much more than in the case of the “ten”.

Work on 1116 was used for a simple reason – it was a pity to abandon the almost finished body, under which never appeared “his” aggregate base. After all, it was planned to do it in conjunction with the company Opel, but the project of the All-Russian Automobile Alliance turned out to be a “project”, and only its own ideas remained in the asset of the VAZ.

To speed up the process of developing a new car, they decided to return to them, relying on the available technologies. No wonder that the model 1116 at the same time turned into Kalina on the time-tested platform “Gamma”, developed in the early eighties. Moreover, by the year 2000 and the 200 series, designers abandoned the “bio-design” look in favor of a more practical and timeless option, which was embodied in the series.

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