Published on: Jan 18, 2016 @ 23:44 Originally Published in: 2015 (old website) (C) Jay Auger - website owner & author Notice: Any form of duplication methods (including but not limited to copy/paste of text and screen capture) of the website's content is strictly forbidden.
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LADA SAMARA EVA
Originally code-named the “Lada Turbo”, this mid-engine and rear-wheel drive prototype was built to loosely resemble the VAZ-2108 “Sputnik” (Samara) model, with high hopes to compete in the Group B international rally scene. While it bears the Lada name, the original prototype is said to have been privately built entirely from scratch by a group of dedicated people in a recluse section of a truck and bus factory in Tallinn Estonia circa-1984.
The Lada Turbo features full spaceframe (tubular) construction draped with a “silhouette” body. The engine, based on the “Zhiguli” 2106 unit, was completely re-engineered to DOHC and turbocharger specifications, and could produce a healthy 300 BHP.
The exterior featured front and rear opening clamshells made out of lightweight composites. Striking design features were the use of air extractors moulded in all four fenders of the car, and the use of twin spoilers – all to help with high speed aerodynamics.
This project was at a high engineering level very uncommon for a private endeavour in the Soviet communist block. As it was the norm in Russia, official funding was very difficult to obtain especially for motorsport applications, but the private project was so well made that they managed to get government approval.
Funds were initially released for the production of the 200 homologation units and for a racing programme within the “Lada Rally” team. All further development of the car went under the wing of VFTS (Vilniusskaja Fabrika Transportnyh Sredstv), which was founded and then managed by famous Lithuanian rally driver Stasys Brundza. The car was hence renamed the EVA (Experimental Vilnius Auto-plant).
Between 20 and 30 units are rumoured to have been built, including some basic homologation cars that featured a 160 BHP naturally aspirated engine to lower costs, especially since turbochargers were very scarce in the waning communist block, while also possibly fooling FISA inspectors. However, shortly after the official project approval in 1986 the FISA cancelled Group B – thus aborting production of the EVA.
The Lada EVA might have been very successful on the national level if it had the opportunity to compete. However, on the international scene, it is highly doubtful that it could have competed against the fierce four-wheel drive opposition. Yet, besides maybe the Moskvich-Aleko 2141KR, the Lada EVA was the best effort seen in the communist block to produce something worthy of Group B.
In 1985, the FISA (former ruling committee of the FIA) announced a possible replacement class to Group B that was referred to as “Group S”. The new regulations would require only ten cars for homologation and was essentially a “prototype” class for rallying. The class was originally scheduled to make its debut on January 1st 1988, then as a heavily revised replacement to Group B for 1987, but both were ultimately cancelled. To learn much more about the history of Group S, please CLICK HERE!
Lada, as with other manufacturers who saw their Group B aspirations go down the drain with the ban, decided to recycle their effort into the planned Group S replacement formula. As such, since production costs would now be substantially lower, an even more evolved version of the EVA was considered. Referred to as the “S-Proto”, it featured 50 more horsepower output and some minor revisions. Only one prototype is known to have been built. However, Group S ultimately suffered the same fate as Group B and the project was cancelled. As is the EVA, the S-Proto would most likely have been a decent contender in national events of the communist block where conventional rally cars still abounded.
Theoretically, if Lada’s bid in Group S would have been successful, future plans to improve the car were rumoured to have included the use of the Porsche 959’s engine and drivetrain. This idea was in fact made a reality in the 1991 Lada Samara T3 Paris-Dakar special. The car would finish fifth in the capable hands of Jacky Ickx. The Grand Raid Samaras of the time are said to be a direct evolution of the Lada EVA / S-Proto’s technical design, hence making the project not totally going to waste.
|Conception / Production||1984~86||# built:
|Type||I-4, DOHC 16v, gas||mid mounted, longitudinal|
|Displacement||1860 cc||WRC = 2604 cc|
|Output power – torque||
||boost: 8~12 psi|
|Type||rear wheel drive||N/A|
|Type||full spaceframe with roll cage, composite panels, windows, and clamshells|
|Steering system||N/A||ratio: N/A|
|length: N/A||width: N/A||height: N/A|
|wheelbase: N/A||front track: N/A||rear track: N/A|
|Rims – tires||
|Dry/Unladen Weight||960 kg (2115 lb) *estimated|
(C) Article by Jay Auger – website owner & author
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