What the hell is a Lada VFTS, and why should you care that there's one for sale in Florida? Well, because going sideways is great, and because it's quite a machine, despite being a Lada. Or maybe, because it's a Lada. Here's a quick rundown.
There's a 69-years-old Lithuanian man out there called Stasys Brundza. He became an engineer in the 1970s while racing a Soviet-built Moskvitch, quite successfully. However, that car wasn't good enough for Brundza, so for the 1976 Acropolis Rally, he built a Lada 2103 with a 1600cc engine. He finished sixth overall, beating a BMW 2002, a Porsche 911, an Alfa Romeo Alfetta and a bunch of Lancia Stratoses in the process.
The Russians realized how important racing is for the export markets, and so they offered Stasys every resource they had to entice him to come up with something even better. By 1977, his team was ready with the surprisingly cutting-edge 1600R. It had titanium bits, Weber carburetors and the requisite huge fender flares. In 1980, AutoVAZ launched a new Lada model, the 2105, so Lithuania's Vilnyusskaya Fabrika Transportnykh Sredstv (save yourself the headache and just call it VFTS) had a new donor to turn into a Group B race car.
Unfortunately, no matter how well equipped their lab was, VFTS couldn't get more than 160 horsepower out of a naturally-aspirated Lada 1.6-liter engine. By 1982, that made the $20,000 car described on this rather uncompetitive outside the Soviet Union, although Lada marketed the car it was based on in all the Scandinavian countries, Great Britain, Germany and Greece, Panama and Columbia. They also built a turbocharged prototype, but that never got homologated.
The naturally-aspirated car was tweaked further all the way until the early 1990s. Of course, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Lada had bigger things to worry about, while Stasys moved on, opening a VW-Audi dealership.
That's when the VFTS started an unexpected second life as the most popular rally car in Hungary. Using an empty 2105 body, those who couldn't afford an original could easily build a replica, using engines, components and tires the Lithuanians never had access to. While staying (mostly) within the FIA rules, a "built" Lada became the standard tool for any Hungarian gearhead who wanted to go rallying on a budget. Mind you, racing a VFTS at a professional level was anything but cheap, but for amateur racing, they were tops.
That brings us to . On the one hand, at $40,000, it's vastly overpriced to be sure. On the other hand, it's also one of the most advanced VFTS Evolutions on the planet, and it's almost assuredly the only one in North America.
Built in Hungary , this 1987 body is packed with a stroked 2.0 engine with double 48 Weber carburetors producing around 200hp, a category-correct 5-speed dogleg gearbox, a new limited-slip differential, a beefy stainless-steel exhaust, a certified cage, magnesium wheels and pretty much every bell and whistle you could want on a VFTS. Lesser race cars go for half the money in Hungary, but then again, this is brand new and available on Craigslist. You can't say that about most Group B rally cars.
Hat tip to for all the info and Bill Caswell for finding it on Craigslist!