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.