If you’ve had the itch for a Moskvich Izh, now’s your chance. These Soviet-era craft are apparently extremely rare in the U.S., though you couldn’t prove it by me since I’ve never heard of them; they were pretty much hidden behind the Iron Curtain during my formative years.
The Pick of the Day is a 1988 Moskvich Izh Kombi, a Cold War relic that has somehow survived unscathed with just 25,725 miles rather than perishing into a rusted heap from the rigors of Russian driving (we’ve all seen those videos).
The Boxborough, Massachusetts, car dealer said the Izh Kombi (or M-2125 in Soviet bureaucratese) has been preserved and remains in decent condition, and he provides quite a bit of information about the unusual car in the ClassicCars.com listing. It is best read out loud with a fake Russian accent.
“Izh Kombi … is a unique Soviet automobile that has been produced without any meaningful modifications from 1973 until 1997,” the dealer wrote. “By that time its internal and external appearance became really archaic and made one of the most desired family cars disappear ingloriously.
“However, Izh Kombi is indeed unique. It is the first Soviet hatchback (in USSR it has been called a lift back) and its peak popularity came in late 1970s-early 1980s. This car was an excellent substitute to hard-to-get and popular Lada and Moscow-built Moskvich. Unlike other Soviet cars, Izh Kombi was only offered for inner market. Another interesting thing about this car is that its engine is a version of M-115 BMW engine.
“In 1982, almost 10 years from the start of production, Izh Kombi was modified for the first and last time. It got front disc brakes, new wiring, and some external design changes (less chrome, round headlights instead of square ones, sunken door handles). Izh cars were produced at former military plants on French equipment. Oftentimes their quality outperformed the quality of Moscow-assembled Moskvich.
“This particular beige 1988 Izh Kombi was purchased brand new in a specialized automobile store called Avtomobilist in Vladimir city by a Vladimir State University professor and never changed owners since. Its original mileage is low, as the owner only used this car in the summertime and for short distances. In winter, the car has always been garaged.
“This type of usage is not uncommon for USSR where numerous drivers only bought one car in their lifetime and thus preserved a vehicle to the best of their abilities. This Izh Kombi has been well maintained all its life and is now ready to give its new owner a fantastic ride of any distance.”
So there you have it, the tale of the Izh Kombi, which like so many immigrants has come to the United States for a chance at a new and better life. You can tell by the pictures that the Moskvich designers were no slaves to fashion, or style, but the little Izh does have an undeniable funky charm. Definitely an attention grabber.
Despite the lengthy description, there’s no info about the car’s engine or performance, which might be a good thing. It’s probably difficult to find spare parts, though the Cubans might have some stashed away.
The dealer asks to be contacted for the asking price, but really, how much could it be? Oddly, there was no listing for the Moskvich Izh Kombi in the Hagerty price guide.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day