Dan’s Online Diary 

# 2.5.03 by Dan
I shall transcribe this article from the March issue of 'Classic & Sports Car' magazine:
C&SC reader Ian Hills is a partner in a Russian-based business that carries out such intriguing projects as fitting Rover V8 engines to Volga saloons. Its workshops are in the old NAMI Automotive Research Institute building in Moscow, where several of the confiscated Auto-Union and Mercedes GP cars were allegedly taken at the end of WW2 (News, December). There was talk of a 2900C Alfa, too.
There have always been lots of rumours, says Ian, but nobody is quite sure what, if anything, still remains: "In the NAMI's basement saunas, walking through the labyrinth of passages and rooms of unknown purpose and content, I've often thought how I'd love to be allowed to search the place!"
Classics are an unfamiliar concept to most Russians. Cars are just kept working, like old donkeys, until they disintegrate. But umong the local specialists working within the NAMI is Edward Roytman, who rebuilds worn-out saloons into high-performance machines. His tiny Zaporozhets hatchback is now powered by twin 1000cc Yamaha fours producing 300bhp, and the workmanship is superb.
He's also responsible for a dramatic reworking of an ancient Moskvitch, of the type which was a copy of the pre-war Opel Kadett. Following US hot-rod practice, the car is chopped, channelled and widened, and the original 26bhp sidevalve has been swapped for a 2.5-litre BMW 'six'. Now he's got hold of an early Range Rover, which he's turning into a nitrous oxide-injected sports hatch.
(there are a couple of pictures of both the Zaprozhets and the Moskvitch - if I don't get round to scanning them and blogging them, please just take my word - they are frickin' awesome!!)
Well, well, well. Have you seen 'XXX' - the movie? It has crazy Russians hotting up cars - just like real life, as shown above!
And whats more - read my post from April 16th and you will see that I was already thinking of a small lightweight car powered by a couple of motorcycle engines. (ie: just like the Zaprozhets above)
Man oh man - I wanna be over there - that sounds like my dream job - making fast cars, driving the fast cars, wearing big fur hats, and speaking Russian - oh wow!!!

Oh well - must be time to get out of here - talk to you all later.