Hail Stallin': Ten Creative Automobile Ads Of The USSR

It may be hard Tupolev but Russian automakers actually advertised their mainly unattractive offerings during the Soviet Union's heyday. Did it work? Probably better than the uninspired machines themselves.

10) Olga Meets Volga

Somehow we don't think this is the “waves of invaders” the Space Age generation was warned about; in fact this charming commie-miss appears positively inviting. Perhaps she's inviting you to help push her car to the nearest State Service Station... and you can bet the Red Star isn't a Texaco.   

9) Multitusking

Stand apart from the thundering herd with this mustard-yellow machine... and hey, is that a herd of woolly mammoths thundering past in the background?

8) Are We There Nyet?

Just look at those polite, respectful and nattily-dressed children off to visit their babushka at her country dacha. Will they seem so adorable after 18 hours jouncing over rutted Russian “roads” in Papa's Fiat-based tin can, without a roof-mounted DVD player or even a radio to help pass the time? Nyet indeed.

7) Tractor Bimmer

Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out and, in Soviet times, Ukraine girls and cars like the ZAZ 968 above both belonged to the Evil Empire. Apparently channeling a little early BMW 2002 styling, the ZAZ 968 was produced from 1971 through 1978 and as for the ear-like “jet” air intakes on its flanks, they were exactly that: scoops to cool the car's rear-mounted engine.

6) A Lada Car For The Money

Smirk all you like but the Lada Niva was one of the first crossover SUVs... and that doesn't stand for Soviet Ultimate Victory. Introduced in late 1977, the Lada Niva is still in production today.  

5) Black In The USSR

You know you've hit the Soviet big time when hotel valet parking employees fight over which one gets to park your automobile. Or maybe they just do a dance-off, either way the entertainment value was top notch.  

4) Moscow Mule

Imagine making the scene in your two-tone Moskvich-412, which is twice as colorful as an ordinary two-ton Moskvich-412. To avoid critical scrutiny from the security services, the driver of this flamboyant sedan would likely have to be Khrushchev's cousin or a budding oligarch... better yet, both.       

3) De Fender Of The Motherland

Easy there, Soviet sheet metal wasn't designed to stand up to such punishment... even such delightfully irresistible punishment. Then again, young Tanya here is just making an effort to keep the battery warm as the much-feared Russian Winter will commence in 3... 2... 1... 

2) Eastern Block

While North Americans struggled through the so-called Malaise Decade, back in the USSR things couldn't be better! OK, not having to deal with Disco was a boon for sure and if you were young and Russian (“in your furry cap” - thanks, Korgis), having a shiny new Lada with a blond babe by your side was the cherry on life's sundae. Or so Lada's marketers would like you to think.   

1) In Soviet Russia, Car Drive You... NUTS!

Welcome to the USSR, where the mountains are rugged and so are the women... like the pant-suited honey above, sporting a “come at me bro-ski” pose and some serious KGB-approved shades. Baby you can drive my car... tank, tractor, whatever.

They may have been mediocre mechanically and painfully dated stylistically but we have to give the USSR's automakers their due – who else could make and market a 1966 Fiat for decades, and have customers wait years for delivery? These cheezy ads must have knocked carbuyers for a loop, locked away as they were behind the Iron Curtain. (all Soviet auto ad art images via English Russia 1, 2, and 3)