February 1, 2012 2:19 PM | By Mark Toljagic for MSN Autos
The world's toughest cars

Lada Signet

Lada Signet (© Photo: Lada)
  • Volvo 245 Wagon (© Photo: Volvo)
  • Ford Crown Victoria (© Photo: Ford)
  • Ford Crown Victoria (© Photo: David Min/Flickr/Getty Images)
  • Peugeot 404 (© Photo: Peugeot)
  • Peugeot 404 (© Photo: Peugeot)
  • Lada Signet (© Photo: Lada)
  • Lada Signet (© Photo: Lada)
  • Toyota Corolla (© Photo: Toyota)
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Eager to earn some hard currency, the Soviets prepped the Lada for export in 1974 when Fiat finally retired its 124, allowing its slab-sided Commie cousin to compete with a very low sticker price. It was surprisingly popular in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, where its simple, do-it-yourself maintenance regimen and decent reliability resonated with unsophisticated car buyers. More than 18.5 million Fiat-based Ladas were produced in total, some of which were built under licence elsewhere. Ladas were commonly used as police cars and taxis all over the world — some even racking up half-a-million kilometres — thanks to their uncomplicated design and ease of repair.

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