I'd always known about Ladas and in the mid 80s tried to figure out a way to "accidentially" make a Signet 1500 appear on this side of the border. It just never happened. Then I met a guy who belonged to the Vancouver Mini club. Him and I hit it off pretty well and after talking I find out his ex wife has a Samara that she's trying to get rid of. He's telling me about what a piece of crap it is and how he just can't understand why anyone would want one. So I'm like...Dude I'll Buy it!!! He looks at me like I'm nuts but we agree on a time I can make the 2 1/2 hour drive to Vancouver to look at it. The paint is a little faded, but mechanically it seems ok, so $700 US later...delivered, the car is mine.
One day I'm driving my Samara in the northern part of the city and I see another Samara parked at a brake and clutch repair shop and it looked like it had been sitting there a Looooong time. I stop in and ask what's up with it and I'm told it belonged to a young girl who was down from BC, the clutch went out, they had to have the old disk relined and after they finished she couldn't afford to pay for it so the car kinda just sat there. I asked him if he was interested in making it go away and he says...Hell Yeah I am! So I asked him how much he wanted for it and he says give me $300 and I'll hand you the keys and I've never seen you before! So the deal was done. I drove it home, shoved it in the back of my yard and there it sat. I looked at it as a running driving parts car with a new clutch.
Then came Samara number 3. This one I spotted 3 times over a two week period just down the hill from me so I figured it wasn't someone just visiting from BC. I finally found it parked one day and left a note on it. Wanna Sell it?? The next day I get a call from a woman who says it was her car and she had been married to a Canadian guy and just got divorced and she had tried to import the car but was told by customs, not a chance in hell, So Yes she'd love to sell it! Another $300 later and I now had my THIRD Samara. This car had a lot of issues, so it ended up being my parts car.
Eventually the "new clutch" car got cut up because I found out when I was going to get it on the road that a good 1/2 of the electrical system had melted and almost nothing worked. So no longer did I feel the slightest bit guilty about buying a car from someone without them knowing about it. She was smart to have abandoned it. So now at this point I'm back to being a One Samara man but the First car is still a Very nice car, body and mechanically even if the interior is a little hammered.
Todd Fitch, Seattle, Washington, USA