You may have seen my random posts about Lada's or foreign car registration, and wondered WTF? Well we finally got our blog up. I'll give the primer below, but if you want the full story head over to RestoRoadtrip.com and read all about it.
The basic premise: Buy a Lada 2103, modify it 'Resto' style, and do a European road trip with it.
The idea came about when my girlfriend Corinne found videos of the Russian stance scene, and Resto style Ladas on the internet. Before that we really didn't know anything about them. The 2103 immediately caught our eye, and the search was on for anything we could find out about Ladas and the Eastern European scene surrounding them. The first thing you need to know about Resto is where it comes from. If you're not familiar, Resto-Cal came out of the Volkswagen scene. The typical Resto-Cal style is a basically stock restored vehicle, lowered (usually on the extreme side), and adorned with lots of 'period' accessories. The 'period' part I find kind of funny, because 'period' really means 50's-60's style accessories, whether used on a car from that period or a later 70's car. In recent years Resto-Cal has made the move to many other models besides just volkswagens.
After a lot of searching for various terms, BA3, VAZ, 2101, 2103, Lada, etc., we decided we liked the 2103 the best. At this point I made the joke, 'There's none for sale here, so if we want one, we'll have to go get it.' After a lot of talking about how cool it would be if we could do something like buy it and take a road trip, we started asking ourselves why we couldn't. I feel like most people would never think they could do something this crazy. We felt that way, but we realized the only obstacles are really time and money. We all make time for lots of different things in our lives, so that's easy, we just do a little restructuring. The big problem is time away from work (lost $$$). It's somewhat easier for us since we're both freelance, but the downside is no paid vacation. It actually might be easier if we were in a position to take 'paid vacation'. As it is now, we just have to say no to any work that comes our way when we plan to be gone and be prepared for the lack of income for that time. The money part seems daunting, but we worked out that between the two of us we could save the money needed in 12-18 months. It takes choices, you have to choose not to spend that money on other things, but it's possible. We're average earners living in an expensive city, and we're going to be able to do it. We hope that other people will read about our trip and realize they can do something just as crazy.
We came up with the plan to buy the car in Ukraine, and then drive from East to West. It seems Resto style Ladas are popular from St. Petersburg, to Moscow, to Odessa, but we couldn't start in Russia due to possible issues buying and registering the car as foreigners. It didn't quite work out that way though, we ended up buying a car in Estonia(more pics here). Now we're in the process of re-planning, with a route taking us through Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland to get to Kiev, Ukraine. It seems re-planning is going to be a constant during this trip. We picked Ukraine so we could try to attend Lowville, in Odessa. After that we meander our way to Amsterdam! We also intend to stop at several other shows, museums, etc. along the route. We're open to suggestions about anything going on in summer 2014.
This is really just a basic primer. I plan to post a lot of stuff on Oppo, as we'd love to have the Jalopnik community join us on our trip so to speak. One of our goals is to share the experience with as many people as possible, and hopefully make it seem a little less daunting to do something like this. If you want to follow along and read about all the gory details, again check out the blog at RestoRoadtrip.com. We're also on Facebook and Twitter, and we intend to post updates as the car is modified as well as all the details about what it takes to plan something like this. There will be lots of posts about routes, and budgets, and everything travel related too.
I don't intend to copy blog posts verbatim, so the most comprehensive info will always be on the blog, but Opponauts will probably get tidbits of insider info as I ask questions and post here. Like for example, Russia may be back on the list. Since we bought the car in Estonia, we now have a car registered in the EU. We're trying to work out if it's going to be possible to drive across the border in Estonia, stop in St Petersburg, then head to Moscow, and Kiev after that. Anybody ever driven to Russia before?