Based on a recommendation from the Lead Adventure Forum, I've been keeping an eye out for die cast cars from the Pixar Cars films, as the models are pretty close to 1/55 in scale, and are thus well-suited to my 28mm figures. Many of the vehicles are race cars, or obviously American (so unlikely to be encountered in Central or South Asia!), or are otherwise unsuitable. However, I just scored a great one here with Vladimir Trunkov.
My first impression of Vladimir was that he had the smooth lines and elegant styling of a Lada, but a quick visit to the Cars wiki revealed that he is actually based on a Zhaporozhets. I'd never heard of Zaporozhets before, but my wife assured me that these vehicles are renowned throughout Russia for their fine looks and mechanical reliability.
The Cars cars come with a sort of mouth moulded on to the front of the vehicle, so I used some modelling putty to fashion a radiator grill over top. The rest of the conversion is just the painting.