1974 Moskvitch 408 Survivor

Since the end of the Cold War, more and more former Soviet Bloc cars have made their way westward. One such car was the Moskvitch 408. This specific example, a 1974 sedan-version, was imported from the Czech Republic a few years ago. Now being sold, as its current owner has two other Moskvitch projects in the works, it is currently located in Lincolnshire in the U.K. and listed for sale here on eBay for just under 2,000 GBP (around $2,766.)

This appears to be one of the Russian-market models which were generally less well equipped than their Western European counterparts (fewer features, worse emissions, etc). Opposed to the exterior, the interior looks fairly well-kept, and with roughly 11,000 km (6,835 miles) on the odometer that seems to make sense.

This 408’s body style had changed little since its creation in 1964 with only a few updated features. It seems most of the improvements went to the 480E’s sold in Western Europe (such as different headlights, a diesel-engine option, and an improved top speed of 80 MPH!) In 1964, the original model had 60 HP, a weight of 2182 lbs. and a reported top speed of 75 MPH. By the end of its production run in 1973, power had decreased to about 50 HP, weight increased to 2227 lbs. and the reported top speed remained 75 MPH. So much for improving the product…

Not much is revealed about the Moskvitch’s mechanical situation, especially due to the lack of engine bay photo documentation. The seller does note the car starts and drives but still probably needs a new timing belt as well as new brakes. He mentions the parts are still available by mail from the Ukraine but, hopefully, there are more convenient options. Do not expect great performance even if fixed: The 408 is powered by a 1.3-liter inline-four which, again, sent 50 hp to the rear wheels when new. How much of that power remains, or in fact ever existed, remains a mystery.

Even with a 0-60 time of 27.4 seconds and a top speed of 75 MPH, the Moskvitch is still an amazing relic of an important period in world history. While it may never win any styling awards, hopefully, it can be preserved and improved to the point of either being a reliable daily driver retaining its period-correct condition or restored to museum-quality level. Still, it appears to have been maintained decently enough and could be a suitable project for the right buyer.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I think the cross hanging from the mirror gives us the best description of this vehicle. To own and drive one of these one must be close to God!

    Like 7
    • Steveo

      And closer still with every mile travelled.

      Like 9
  2. Mutt

    I can already hear my wife screaming at me,
    “What part of NYET don’t you understand?”

    Like 40
    • Beyfon

      What I can remember from when I was a kid was when the Moskvitch was tested in the main Swedish car magazine Teknikens Värld and the headline was “Cheaper than Lard Sausage” as they were comparing the price per kilo to that questionable food offering. The testers were also impressed by the very comprehensive tool kit that came with the car, as it assumed that the buyers were cheap enough to tackle all repairs themselves.
      As a complete side note, there’s an absolutely lovely documentary movie on YouTube called The Last Russian Limousine about the ZIL factory and their efforts to stay afloat after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s a great story.

      Like 6
  3. Alan Brase

    Be an incredible sleeper with a modern 16 or 20 valve turbo motor and driveline to match. (Not enough room or chassis for an LS conversion.)
    Be the only one in town!

    Like 2
    • Derek

      Aye, but the reason that imports of them were stopped here was because the brakes were rotten…

      One of them did win a race championship – one of the point multipliers was the low price, and it was the cheapest thing on the market at one point

  4. Kevin

    I wouldn’t want to risk my family’s safety riding in this car of questionable safety standards aka death trap

    Like 2
  5. Haig L Haleblian

    Gawd that thing is homely. Looks like it got beat with an ugly stick.

    Like 8
  6. Superdessucke

    LS swap?

  7. Howard A Member

    Velcome to Crazy Vaclaves Place of Automobiles,,It gets 300 hectares on a single liter of kerosene,,
    Hello, Autoplace, how may I help you? Um, hi, I need a cap and rotor for a 1974 Moskvitch 408 model? 1.3, you know,, Hello?

    Like 7
  8. Bill D

    “Put in in ‘H’!”

    Like 2
  9. Haig L Haleblian

    First we get moose than we get squirrel. Boris Badenough.

    Like 8
  10. David

    And the parts are plentiful from RockAuto. NOT!

  11. Larry McGaw

    Only time I saw one of these was in Cuba. Piled wife and sister-in-law into “independent” taxi because they didn’t like being on scooters. Thought we should grab a licence plate and vehicle make just in case, so we asked a local what kind of car it was. He replied, “Moskvich. Is Russian for sh1t”.

    The communists knew …

    Like 10
    • nlpnt

      This was the car they sent to places like Cuba and East Germany when they started selling Ladas in Western markets for hard currency.

      Like 1
      • unclemymy Member

        Brother-in-law in Izhevsk had a Lada. I think it’s Russian for “has no suspension of any kind”.

  12. DW17 fan forever

    “This Moskvitch was the first Soviet-built car to have deliberate safety equipment (since 1969): crumple zones, a safer steering column, a soft grip steering wheel cover, soft interior parts, seat belts, a padded dashboard, and a split circuit braking system.”

    Still looks like they would need a can opener to get you out in a wreck.

    Like 1
  13. Beel

    I remember the commercials for these on 3CP television.

  14. Charles Sawka

    We had Lada in Antigua for 2 years in83/84. Totally 100% unreliable.

  15. chrlsfu

    wolwo cross w/early falcon grill?
    I’ll take this 1 & 1 in green…

    “…tool kit that came with the car, as it assumed that the buyers were cheap enough to tackle all repairs themselves”
    I’d call it ‘smart enuff” not cheep.

  16. MitchRoss Member

    I love it, I don’t care what anyone else thinks, this is soooooo cool

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