In the eastern bloc, getting a car was an ordeal and a half. If you got permission to buy a car in East-Germany, it was likely to be one of these - a Tayga (or TAZ, at the time) 3109. It was a model destined for the German market specifically, and was manufactured locally. While it saw limited export to the rest of the USSR and Europe, most remained in East-Germany. This one is a B model, meaning it's an estate.
A family car of modest size - available in many configurations. The estate model became very popular, as it was seen by many as the most versatile version. Additionally, there was a coupe, a sedan, a convertible, and even a rally car variant. While lower to the ground than a lot of other Tayga vehicles, the 3109 still features the iconic locking rear differential in case of rough terrain.
Featuring a 1499cc I4 engine, the 3109 isn't very powerful. However, it also weighs just 890kg, giving it a top speed of around 150 km/h (90 mph). It additionally gives it rather good economy, something highly valued in the USSR and its proxies. It's mated to a 4-speed manual transmission.
The 3109 was produced between 1960-1991, first as the TAZ-660 and later as the Tayga 3109 "Reisender" you see here. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and subsequently the USSR in 1991, it has become somewhat of a cult symbol of a time long since past, a remnant of a time that once was. They are both a loved and hated symbol of a time when communism laid over European soil.
I hope you enjoy this car. Please let me know what you think.
Thank you for driving it!