Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to us at the above email.
Today’s featured vehicle is a LuAZ 969, a Soviet-era 4×4 produced from 1966 to 1992 by two different Ukrainian manufacturers: ZAZ (1966–70) and LuAZ (1971–92). Despite the popularity of off-roading, a LuAZ is most likely not a common sight in your neighborhood. These strangely-proportioned off-roaders were produced for civilians and based off the military-spec, amphibious 967. All-wheel drive was standard under LuAZ’s supervision, and power came from an air-cooled V-4, delivered to the wheels by way of a four-speed transmission.
This particular 969 is an exceptionally well-traveled example, brought from Russia to the U.S. via Matt Rogers, a gearhead with a proud taste for the more eccentric automotive set. Thanks to a Lada U.S.A forum and a particularly knowledgeable Canadian fellow named Igor who had some experience importing Russian cars, Rogers ended up with not one obscure Russian vehicle crammed in a shipping container, but two: the LuAZ and a Lada 2103. After almost a year of purchasing and shipping logistics, Rogers is the happy owner of two “Soviet ex-pats,” as he affectionately terms them. Off-roaders of the Soviet era, unite!