Classic Cars

A Journey through Soviet Automotive History in Moscow

CarBuzz takes a look at the rich history of Soviet automotive tradition in Russia. Words by Phillip Harbor.

There is a little-known automotive museum on the outskirts of Moscow that houses a cache of old Soviet military and civilian cars produced throughout the decades of communist rule in the Eastern European country. The museum looks as old as the cars inside it, as there has been little regard to upkeep of the building adding to a truly...desperate look. Located at Ivanovskoye Village in the Moscow region of Russia, the exhibit features cars built by and for the military of the former USSR along with some civilian models.

Some of these civilian models had featured in the 2nd Moscow Retro Style Festival all the way back in 1936. At the far-end of the museum, past a Soviet-red banner adorned with a photo of Karl Marx, there is an un assuming old black taxi cab resting near a crumbling wall with dull green paint peeling off of it. The worn down cab is a piece of Soviet automotive history, although without its certificate and decades-old photo perched next to it, you would never know. It was the recipient of the "Most Original Car" award of the 19th Taxicab Park event.

If you continue towards the other end of the diminutive museum past several Volgas, armored Soviet vehicles from the Cold War Era and other odd-looking cars you have never heard of, you find yourself surrounded by several veteran racecars. Most have certainly seen better days and the ones on display here are cramped between support beams and rest on broken tile floors. They say that beauty comes in many forms. From the looks of the automotive museum in Ivanovskoye, it's hard to see where the Soviets took their inspiration from when designing their classic automobiles.

Produced and driven around Russia and all the Soviet territories, these vehicles wear mostly dull colors and the bodies were meant to stand up to the frigid and unforgiving winters. The tires are thick and tread rugged for crushing any dreams of freedom or self-expression. After perusing through the history of Soviet automobiles, one thing is for certain - Russia and the former Soviet Republics have come a very long way in a short amount of time, releasing a great deal of their pent-up creativity. Don't believe that? Just take a look at the guys from Latvian-based Dartz.

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