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VAZ-2101. The legendary "Penny"
VAZ-2101. The legendary "Penny"

"Zhiguli" VAZ-2101 - a small Soviet car, the first model created under the license of the Italian concern "Fiat" on the basis of the Fiat 124 model. The car was produced from 1971 to 1982, a total of 2 million 700 thousand units were assembled, and thus the automobile can rightly be considered a people's car. At the same time, the cost of the car was quite consistent with its status. The basic "Kopeyka" VAZ-2101, as motorists called it, laid the foundation for a whole family of VAZ models, this is the station wagon 2102, the improved VAZ-2103, the modernized 2106, models 2105 and 2107. All of them were assembled on the 2101 chassis using the parameters and characteristics of the proven " Pennies".

vaz 2101

Agreement with an Italian automobile concern

In August 1966, a license contract was signed with the Italian company "Fiat" in the Moscow Department of Foreign Trade on cooperation in the production of passenger cars. Under the terms of the agreement, a project was approved for the construction of a plant on the territory of the USSR for the production of three prototype models of the Fiat 124: VAZ-2101(sedan), VAZ-2102 (station wagon) and luxury car - VAZ-2103.

Fiat 124 and Russian roads

When the Italian Fiat 124 was taken to Russian roads for testing on a number of parameters, the results were disappointing. The car categorically could not be operated in off-road conditions of the USSR.

The main problems were the lack of strength of the box body, made of thin metal, the inefficiency of the rear disc brakes and low ground clearance. The body simply fell apart when driving over potholes and potholes, its design was designed for the widest window openings of the front and rear windows, thin pillars could not withstand "twisting" loads. The rear brakes simply did not work, and the low draft of the car caused the oil pan and protruding elements of the front suspension to hit the ground.

vaz 2101 photo

As a result of testing, the future model VAZ-2101, the characteristics of which needed to be improved, received drum-type rear brakes, the ground clearance was increased by 30 millimeters, and the body, instead of spot welding, was now completely welded through all joints. In addition, the engine camshaft was moved from bottom to top, this was done for the convenience of Soviet car owners, who were used to adjusting valve clearances on their own. The process was simple, the air filter was removed from the carburetor, and the camshaft cover became fully accessible. It was necessary to unscrew the eight nuts pressing it to the cylinder block. After removing the coverthe crankshaft was rotated according to a certain pattern, in the right order, so that the valves were released one by one. Each valve was checked for clearance between its shank and rocker arm. If necessary, the gap was reduced or increased. After the clearances on all valves were checked, the cover was closed, the air filter was installed back, and the machine was ready for further operation.

The first six copies of the VAZ-2101 model, the photo of which is presented in the article, were assembled in April 1970, the conveyor was tested in August, and the assembly shop reached the specified, but not full capacity, in the following year, 1971. Then 172,176 cars were produced. In 1972, 379,008 cars rolled off the assembly line, and the plant started operating at full capacity in 1974. In the course of production, the model was improved, painting technologies were perfected, the best materials were selected for complete sound insulation and an increase in the overall level of comfort.

vaz 2101 specifications


For the indexation of cars produced at the car plant in Tolyatti, it was decided to apply accounting standards in accordance with the sectoral document of the Ministry of the Automotive Industry - OH 025270-66, which contained the regulations for the classification of vehicles.

According to the prescription, each new model must be assigned a four-digit index, the first two digits of which are the designation of the class of the machine and its purpose. The next two digits are the model. Each modification of the car is assigned an additional, fifth digit, a serial number.The operation of the VAZ-2101 largely depended on the numbers of the index, since the cars were distributed according to climatic zones. The sixth digit of the index indicates the climate binding: 1 - for a cold climate, 6 - an export car for moderate conditions, 7 - an export version for the tropics, 8 and 9 - reserve positions for other export modifications. Individual machines are designated as transitional, with digital combinations - 01, 02, 03, 04 and so on. As a rule, the digital set is preceded by a letter designation that identifies the plant that permanently produces this car model.

vaz 2101 specifications

Power plant

The VAZ-2101 model was equipped with a high-speed gasoline engine with a capacity of 64 liters. with., with a cylinder capacity of 1300 cubic meters. see. The design repeated the main parameters of the widely used in-line, four-cylinder engines. The timing consisted of a drive gear, a tensioner, a camshaft and cams that drive the valves. Lubrication was provided by a pump that drove oil under pressure throughout the entire engine system. Cooling was carried out with the help of an antifreeze liquid of the "Tosol" type, circulating in a closed circuit with passing through a radiator. The combustible mixture was supplied by a single-chamber diffuser carburetor "Weber". Ignition was provided by a rotary-type contact interrupter connected to the oil pump drive. Overall, the engine was a reliable power unit that was economical and inexpensive to maintain.


A mechanical4-speed gearbox with the following gear ratios:

  • 3, 75 - first gear;
  • 2, 30 - second gear;
  • 1, 49 - third gear;
  • 1, 00 - fourth (direct) gear;
  • 3, 87 - reverse gear;
  • forward gears - helical profile, constant engagement;
  • reverse gears - straight;
  • synchronizers - in all gears except reverse;
  • shift control - floor lever;
penny vaz 2101

Transmission of rotation to the rear wheels

The VAZ-2101 car was produced only in a rear-wheel drive version. Torque was transmitted through a cardan shaft with an integrated support. A cross with needle bearings was an intermediate link between the universal joint and the flange of the planetary mechanism. Through the differential, the rotation was transmitted to the two axle shafts of the rear axle, connected to the brake drums, on which the wheels were attached with four bolts.

Brake system

Central hydraulics, steel piping, front disc calipers and rear drums. Such is the brake system VAZ-2101, effective and structurally reliable. The front disc brakes are non-ventilated, the cast-iron structure, combined with the hub, provided mileage without replacement with a resource of 60 thousand kilometers. The front brake caliper consisted of two cylinders, with self-returning pistons, which, under the action of hydraulics, pressed on the brake pads, pressing them against the disc from both sides.

Rear brakesVAZ-2101, drum, self-adjusting, consisted of two shoes, brake cylinders and the drum itself, on which the wheels are mounted. The parking brake eccentric was connected to the brake mechanisms of the rear wheels, which was connected by means of a flexible cable to the tensioner lever installed in the passenger compartment between the front seats.

operation vaz 2101


The VAZ-2101 front suspension, independent, consists of two stamped arms mounted on the front beam using silent blocks. The upper and lower arms are connected to the stub axle by ball joints. The left and right lever pair is united by a special profiled anti-roll bar threaded into rubber bushings. The purpose of this device is to absorb the vibrations of the front suspension.

The rear suspension of the VAZ-2101 car, pendulum, consists of levers connecting the body and the rear axle brackets according to the principle of articulated interaction. Also, the rear axle and the body are connected by a transverse stability beam, which does not allow the wheels to move in a horizontal plane relative to the body.

Both front and rear suspension are reinforced with coiled steel coils combined with hydraulic shock absorbers.

cost vaz 2101

VAZ-2101 cost

Most of the cars that left the assembly line in Togliatti have already been overhauled several times. The weak point of the VAZ-2101, the photos confirm this, the front fenders, which are subject to through corrosion in places above the wheelarch, as well as thresholds that are poorly protected from water and dirt getting inside. And yet, in general, a reliable car is still being sold and bought. VAZ-2101, the price of which fluctuates within certain limits, can be purchased from hand or at a car dealership selling used cars. Some well-maintained specimens, with rare features, can be quite expensive, they are bought mainly for the collection, and not for traveling. An old VAZ-2101 car that needs repair costs about 20 thousand rubles. Cars on the move, in good condition, are valued more expensive, in the range of 30-80 thousand rubles, and rare ones, with an impeccable interior, a silent engine and a sparkling exterior, go up in price to 150,000 rubles, and sometimes even higher.

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