Tuning in the USSR: How Soviet drivers improved their cars
Soviet auto tuning: severe and merciless. | Photo: kolesa.ru.
The issue of improving the car today worries many car owners. But even in the USSR, when everything seemed to be the same, drivers made cars special. Sometimes it turned out pretty interesting projects.
1. PPC steering knob
The rosette is the most popular motif for the gear knob in Soviet times. | Photo: vimka.ru.
One of the most popular car interior improvements in the USSR is the replacement of the gear lever knob. The native knob was screwed up, and instead a new, highly artistic version was wound up, artificially made of plastic or epoxy.
Pens with flowers (especially roses), insects, spiders, scorpions were most popular.
Gearshift knob with spider. | Photo: yandex.ru.
The VAZ “classic” is able to surprise, if not with an outdated design, then with artistic hand-made solutions. | Photo: pikabu.ru.
2. Braid on the steering wheel
VAZ "classic" with a fashionable steering wheel. | Photo: doski.ru.
Most Soviet cars could not boast of a comfortable steering wheel. The standard “steering wheel” was made of black plastic and slipped unpleasantly in the hands, especially for a novice driver. That is why the steering wheel braid made of wires, droppers or kapron threads from a clothesline was considered not only beautiful, but also a useful improvement. Such a steering wheel was thicker and lay better in the hands.
Colorful steering wheel braid. | Photo: pikabu.ru.
Drivers who could not afford such an improvement were content with a more budget option. They wrapped the rim with plain tape.
VAZ-2105 steering wheel wrapped in scarce red tape in the USSR. | Photo: drive2.ru.
The steering wheel of Moskvich-2140 is covered in fur. | Photo: drive2.ru.
24th Volga with regular trapezoidal reflectors. | Photo: drive2.ru.
The reflectors were one of the main types of jewelry on Soviet bicycles. They were also often mounted on ordinary cars. What for? Red, orange, yellow and white glass glittered very beautifully in the sun.
4. Wheels and tires
Volga with flippers. | Photo: drive2.ru.
Many executive cars, as well as military equipment that drove out to parades, were often decorated with white stripes on wheels (flippers). Drivers used this method of tuning on ordinary cars. The chrome caps on the wheels of automobiles of the 1950-60s also looked quite impressive.
Moskvich-2140 on chrome caps. | Photo: drive2.ru.
5. Seat Covers and Massage Cape
The seats of this "Lada" are made of real Soviet carpet. | Photo: feldgrau.info.
Until the 1980s, the automotive industry of the USSR did not produce covers for car seats. Therefore, many drivers made them with their own hands. The most popular options were made of thick fabric, the back sofa was made of solid carpet.
Wooden massage seat cover. | Photo: avtowithyou.ru.
The driver's seat was often equipped with a massage cloak. Made of wooden rollers, she was supposed to make a long stay behind the wheel more comfortable.
The salon of this "GAZelle" has become much more comfortable. | Photo: gazelleclub.ru.
And the carpet lays well on the floor. | Photo: yandex.ru.
6. Coins under glass
Pennies under the glass. | Photo: drive2.ru.
Many motorists stuck a penny under the windshield, but most of all bus drivers "sinned" this.
"Elite" curtains on a simple Soviet car. | Photo: feldgrau.info.
In the years of the USSR, tinting of glasses was not common due to the lack of film. Only in the most prestigious cars, such as Seagull and ZIL, passengers hid from the outside world behind the blinds. In attempts to copy them, home-made curtains appeared on the "Lada", "Volga" and "Muscovites".
Such lattices on the rear window were produced by various cooperatives in the 80s and 90s. | Photo: drive2.ru.
8. The fan
Compact cabin fans are still relevant today. | Photo: drive2.ru.
Soviet cars were deprived of climate control and air conditioning, but the problem of summer heat was very relevant. Therefore, a small fan was considered a very useful device in the cabin.
"Penny", who visited abroad. | Photo: drive2.ru.
As now, during the Soviet era, cars traveling abroad were marked with special stickers on the rear window. These were black letters SU in a white oval. Obviously, the motorist who visited "over the hill" had a special reason for pride.
Decals with portraits of famous women. | Photo: drive2.ru.
Honorary places on the torpedoes "Lada" and "Muscovites" often occupied decals with overseas and domestic beauties.
10. Towbar toys
The most common option is the head of a baby girl. | Photo: drive2.ru.
The towbar, a special hook for attaching the trailer, is now not as common as several decades ago. But the driving habit of decorating it with children's toys remained. The head of a bobblehead with rolled eyes and tangled dirty hair looks especially creepy.
Creepy-head looks at other drivers. | Photo: forum.gorod.dp.ua.
Here, another GAZ icon is surely someone to notice. | Photo: drive2.ru.
It is difficult to explain the reason for the popularity of mudguards as an element of auto tuning. However, it was this part of the car that was constantly adorned by Soviet drivers. Badges and reflectors clung here.
12. Things on the rear shelf
Cap police officer on the rear shelf of the car. | Photo: price-altai.ru.
While car music had not yet appeared in every car, the rear shelf was indeed used to store things. A pillow and a soccer ball could come in handy on a long journey, and the red cap of the Interior Ministry officer allegedly saved from fines.
13. Fluid in headlights
Brake fluid in the headlights "penny". | Photo: drive2.ru.
The headlights on Soviet cars were not airtight, so they misted and rusted. To remove water vapor, brake fluid was poured into the headlight. She absorbed water, and the headlight remained clean and dry.
14. Car emblems
On a cargo lawn, the Zaporozhets emblem looks like a real decoration. | Photo: kolesa.ru.
The emblems of Soviet cars have also become an element of external tuning. The chrome element from the front of the “eared” “Zaporozhets” has become a universal decoration for both passenger cars, trucks and buses. A "seagull" from the hood of the trunk of the GAZ-21 or the UAZ emblem is ideal for any passenger car.
In the years of the USSR, drivers often did not have the opportunity to tune the car "in full." Modern drivers need to know about 7 improvements in the car for which you can get a ticket to the parking lot.