There are a nigh infinite number of automotive niches all across the world, with different cultures latching onto different aspects of vehicles both foreign and domestic, and remaking them in their own way. The American-born rat rod scene is just one example of a niche going international, inspiring enthusiasts thousands of miles from our borders to come up with their own take, but with local flavor.
You can find rat rods at car shows across the world, and Carscoops came across this Russian rat rod based on an old VAZ 2106 is one of the more interesting examples to come out of either Europe or Asia.
For those unfamiliar with the VAZ 2106, it is arguably the single most popular car to be produced and sold in the Soviet sphere of influence, beginning production in 1976 and continuing uninterrupted until 2011. It came standard with a 78 horsepower 1.6 liter motor backed by a 4-speed manual transmission, extracting about as much performance as you might expect a 1970s Soviet vehicle to have.
But while this rat rod may have started life as a boring VAZ, it’s now an entirely different beast that sports twin-turbochargers, a custom made frame, a chopped-and-sloped roofline, and diamond plating for a firewall. Wider rear tires help put the extra horsepower to the ground, and the end result looks like some kind of warped, Russian-made Ecto-1 on steroids. While it’s certainly not a rat rod in the traditional sense, it does pack a visual wallop that makes us want to see and know more.
In a world where even rat rods have been co-opted into high-dollar builds by the high rollers, seeing a genuine low-buck build from the other side of the world is a nice reminder of why this niche began in the first place.