The beach car is a debatable but still quite popular segment. Take the Škoda Felicia Fun, which was originally intended to be sold only in the south of Europe, but ended up being a success here as well. By the standards of the segment, the Austin Mini Moke can also be considered successful, and then there is the classic Dunovka, a beach buggy (ideally red, with a yellow roof), which has a cult status. A similar leisure car was also created in Germany, on the rather surprising basis of the Russian Lady.
The German manufacturer Bohse Automobilbau from the city of Dörpen really got into the production of a leisure car at the end of the eighties and in 1987 launched the Eurostar model. First with the Volkswagen Golf technology of the first generation, of which he produced 30 units. Then, due to price reasons, he switched to the Lady 2105 technique and produced another 200 cars with the same body. Only the headlights are different. The laminate body of the Eurostar is also 70 millimeters longer than the sedan 2105.
The open car received a simply shaped laminate body without doors (again, thanks to this, it is easy to get into the car, but it also makes the car drafty and my passenger is afraid that she will fall out while driving, even if she is buckled in), with only a windshield and removable roof panels. They hold something like a rubber band, which doesn’t inspire much confidence. In addition, it is a raw, unpainted laminate, which is only supplemented with stickers. I can honestly tell you here, although there may be someone who will not agree with me, that I really do not like and am put off by the tragic workshop workmanship. After all, even the owner of the Retroautomuze in Strnady, who loaned the Eurostar to us for a while, speaks of it with some tenderness in his voice as a beast.
Lada will not hide under the laminate
The original lights are rather crudely installed in the front, and in the back you will find something that at first glance is supposed to resemble a very shallow pick-up body. The body is even mounted over the original Lada fenders (they are load-bearing), so the Eurostar is wider than the standard sedan and the wheels are drowned in the wheel arches. I still can’t shake the impression that the car was designed by a five-year-old boy. Perhaps the son of the founder Johann Bohse, because why else would the owner approve such a “magnificence” for production?
Access to the four-seater interior is relatively simple as the Eurostar has no doors. He could have had cloth ones for an extra charge, but it’s better without them anyway. It is said that it leaked through them anyway, which is what contemporary reviews claim. But the Eurostar surprisingly has a trunk lid. Behind the rear seats is what looks like a pick-up truck bed, but it’s not deep enough to carry things without a hitch. But when you unlock the lock, you can flip it up and underneath it there is a classic luggage compartment, as if the Eurostar wanted to be a bit of a sedan too. Of course, the interior is also completely taken from the Lady 2105, there is only a sports steering wheel. Only the two front seats have a fire extinguisher, which does not exactly inspire confidence.
Russian technology means easier servicing
The default Lada 2105 means that the Eurostar also inherited the front-engine, rear-wheel drive concept. It is an in-line four-cylinder 1200 OHC with a carburetor and an output of 44 kW at 5,600 rpm and a torque of 89 Nm at 3,400 rpm. While the normal Lada doesn’t feel completely lazy, the Eurostar feels heavier and slower to me. Maybe it’s because I expected absolutely the opposite feelings.
A four-speed gearbox is connected to the engine. You might hope the laminate build would go faster than the stock Lada, but what the car saves on bodywork it makes up for in bracing. The Bohse weighs 980 kilograms, i.e. only 15 kilograms less than the Lada 2105 sedan. The maximum speed of the Eurostar is 136 km/h and it accelerates to 100 km/h in 20 seconds. And feelings? Well, the museum’s Libor Kucharski described it as a fast tractor, and that’s pretty accurate. There are double wishbones, coil springs and disc brakes at the front, and a solid axle with drums at the rear. There is no change from Lady here either, so the driving characteristics are practically identical. This makes the car at least very comfortable and soft.
Production ended in the early nineties (some sources even state the year 1989, but this car should be from 1992) and Bohs managed to produce a total of 230 of these cars. Maybe you haven’t heard of him until today, and in that case I’m not surprised. It’s not a very well-known conversion, and in a way the whole thing feels a bit like drive-by nonsense to me.
The following Bohse Safari, an open version of the Lady Samara, which was also sold under the name Lada Samara Fun through the official German dealers of the Russian brand, succeeded in doing so. Two thousand copies of these cars were produced and they were sold at the time for 7,000 marks.
But it doesn’t matter, I’m still happy for the opportunity to ride such a unique car on Czech roads. And the amazed looks of anyone who happened to be driving by were worth it. And while I’m at it, the last Eurostar sold in our territory cost 200,000 crowns. And given its uniqueness, it probably won’t be cheaper.