We’ve followed the Niva Red Legend Team’s Dakar Classic journey all the way through as official media partners. From the reveal of their awesome Dakar-prepped Lada Niva T1, to their pre-Dakar shakedown, right up until their triumphant finish, where they met the chequered flag in 115th place out of 148 participants. Throughout, we’ve been drooling over their red and white Niva T1, so we were both excited and saddened to hear that they’re now putting it up for sale.
If there’s one thing we learned from following Mario and Sladjan’s adventures, it’s that testing and preparation for the Dakar Classic is key, so if you wanted to enter into the 2023 Dakar Classic, you couldn’t hope for a better chariot than their tried-and-tested Niva T1. In fact, the car was so bulletproof that all the Niva Red Legend Team needed to replace during the two weeks of brutal rallying was a single damper.
While the team tried to keep the car as standard as possible for reliability reasons, they still reinforced the chassis around the suspension and overhauled the engine, adding an electric fan and electric fuel pump to ensure smooth running. Most of their race prep went into making the car as light as possible, so the hood, doors, and boot lid are fibreglass, while the interior has been totally stripped and fitted with a spec roll cage. Finishing off this endurance machine is a custom 110 litre fuel tank, giving this Niva T1 a mighty range of between 800 and 1,000km. Today, the car remains in almost exactly the same spec as during the 2022 Dakar Classic, except for the addition of new “Vitaloni” mirrors that they added for better visibility.
The new owner can expect the car in Dakar Classic-ready condition, along with all the team’s spare parts, plus an introductory training course when the car is picked up in Switzerland. If this isn’t the perfect way to start your Dakar Classic career, we don’t know what is.