The legendary “Rafik” was the most mass-produced minibus made in Riga in what is now independent Latvia, from late-1975 until 1998.
Originally built on the basis of the GAZ-21 Volga car, the RAF-2203 later employed the engine, gearbox and other elements of the newer GAZ-24 sedan. The “Rafik” went down in history as the official carrier of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Nowadays, preowned RAF-2203s are available on the used-car market at between $500 and $8,000 depending on the condition and production year.
Fans often compared it to a Porsche because of the rear-placed engine and the characteristic round air intakes on each side to cool the engine.
In 1992 several ZAZ-968 were acquired by the Lithuanian Army. In all, nearly 3 million units were built. Used ones are currently available between $80 and $8,000 apiece.
Production of KAZ-606 Kolkhida prime movers began in Kutaisi, Georgia, in 1967. Belying their title of a prime mover, these vehicles were relatively “weak” with a maximum speed of just under 65 km/h.
Drivers complained about the trucks’ poor assembly quality and high fuel consumption.
Still, the Kolkhidas were the first Soviet prime movers with a cab-over-engine construction and were fairly advanced for their day and age, boasting a bunk and a fan to keep the driver cool.
The Volyn was powered by a 30 hp engine, which was later boosted to 40 hp ensuring a maximum speed of 85 km/h. The engine was ultimately ramped up to 53 hp.
The Volyns were popular in Italy and some other European countries where they were converted for use as dump trucks and aircraft tugs.
Vintage Volyn SUVs are now available at between $250 and $10,000 apiece.