Lada Riva

Riva rare, mountain low

I once worked with someone who bought a brand new one of these every year.

It is, of course, a Lada Riva, a car that was so awful it became something of a legend in the 80s.

Just driving a Lada Riva was a challenge … unless you had muscles of steel.

Actually being seen in one was, quite frankly, embarrassing.

You could almost hear people thinking: “Who’s the idiot driving that? as you went past them (provided they were walking) in the street.

The Riva was just as slow and rusty as people imagined. But it was reliable.

That’s why there were, literally, mountains of them around because they were also cheap. In the 90s you could pick up a used Riva for £200.

Now they’re so rare they’re a classic that fetches up to £20,000 at auctions.

The Lada Riva spawned the joke: What’s the difference between a Lada and a golf ball?

You can drive a golf ball 200 yards.

Well you’d be lucky to drive a Lada Riva at all now.

And that because the magazine Retro Cars, dedicated to accessible modern classics from the 1980s, 90s and 2000s, has revealed that it’s in: “almost terminal decline.”

According to Retro, the Riva is now rarer than a Pagani Zonda, with just 49 left in the UK.

Retro joke: “If you want exclusivity and prestige, perhaps now’s the time to hunt down a Riva 1500 SLX?”

alfa 146

Slightly more upmarket but no less at risk, the Alfa Romeo 146, above, is also on the danger list.

Once described by Jeremy Clarkson as “the only small hatchback I’d be seen dead in”, the stylish five-door may have sold thousands in the Nineties, but a mere 89 are left on the road in the UK.

Retro editor Craig Cheetham said: “Cars of the Eighties and Nineties are becoming increasingly popular with younger drivers who are embracing this era, but the supply of cars is a lot worse than it is or was for classics of an earlier vintage thanks to a generational shift in society, which has seen a car become as much of a disposable asset as a washing machine.”

The data will be revealed in the March-April 2020 issue of Retro Cars, which goes on sale this Friday (Feb 21st).

A year’s subscription to Retro Cars is just £15 for a limited period.

For more, click here:

Here are the top 10 at risk cars according to the DVLA.

 CarNumber left
Lada Riva49
2Alfa Romeo 146           
3Fiat Uno218
4Renault 21221
5Vauxhall Carlton270
6Citroen BX286
7Nissan Bluebird324
8Volvo 440407
9Peugeot 309409
10Rover 800, below468
Rover 800