MOSKVITCH 2141

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

1 IT WAS BASED ON THE CHRYSLER ALPINE

There’s a su­per­fi­cial sim­i­lar­ity be­tween the Moskvitch 2141 and the An­glo-French five-door hatch­back launched in 1975. But they are dif­fer­ent beasts, al­though that was not the orig­i­nal plan. The Krem­lin was so im­pressed with the Alpine when it won the 1975 Euro­pean Car of The Year award that it or­dered Moskvitch de­sign­ers to cre­ate a car­bon copy. They were none too happy at this diktat, and dragged their feet to such an ex­tent that the new Moskvitch fam­ily hatch didn’t ap­pear for an­other 11 years.

2 THEY SHARE THE SAME LAY­OUT

They don’t, and this is where the Moskvitch and Alpine re­ally do dif­fer – and why a straight­for­ward Rus­sian rip-off was im­pos­si­ble. Moskvitch’s four-cylin­der en­gine was too long to fit trans­versely in an Alpine dop­pel­gänger, which led to a lon­gi­tu­di­nal po­si­tion. The fac­tory didn’t have the re­sources to come up with a dif­fer­ent driv­e­train, and from this point on­wards the car be­gan to di­verge slightly from the Alpine. In the end, the only things that were di­rect Alpine copies were some el­e­ments of the roof struc­ture and some of the win­dow seals.

3 IT WAS NEVER SOLD OUT­SIDE RUS­SIA

This fa­mil­iar-look­ing Moskvitch cer­tainly never made it to the UK. The clos­est it got to Bri­tain was be­ing sold on the French mar­ket, where it of­fered roomy fam­ily trans­port at rock-bot­tom prices. The Aleko brand name was cre­ated es­pe­cially for Euro­pean sales. As the de­sign was now generic, rather than in­fring­ing the copyright of any ex­ist­ing prod­ucts, there was no ob­jec­tion from Peu­geot-Tal­bot, which was still mak­ing Alpines in small num­bers. The last of th­ese cars was made in 2003.

Moskvitch 2141 Aleko – its en­gine bay was noth­ing like the Alpine’s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.