It seems like an unlikely rally car, but in the hands of Dutchman Jan Scholten a Lada proved hard to beat in the 1970s rally scene. “There certainly were no technical highlights,” said Scholten. “Starter switches, balljoints and brake cylinders were all poorly made. I put them together properly and that built up my reputation.” Words: Jeroen Booij.
Scholten’s rally car was a 1972 Lada 2101 with the 1200 engine. He balanced the pistons and the conrods, and found a special crankshaft while visiting the factory in Togliattigrad, Russia. Power output rose from 62bhp to 120bhp at 9500rpm, resulting in 0-62mph in 9.6 secs. Scholten recalled how on one special stage a fellow entrant asked to start in front of the Lada, thinking it would be slow. He proceeded to beat him by 40 secs. After the 1978 season, Scholten retired and the car went into storage, where it remained for 36 years before his old mechanics took it out of hiding and secretly restored it for his 75th birthday: “It was the best present I ever received.”
LOST & FOUND “Most of the parts were really very poorly made. I put them together properly”