ZAZ 965

Thursday 26 March 2014
ZAZ 965 was a city car produced from 1960 to 1963. Work on its design was started in 1956 in the AZLK car plant, and the first prototypes were designated as Moskvitch-444. The car was patterned on the Fiat 600, featuring a similar general composition, body, transmission, steering mechanism and rear suspension. One of the primary differences was that the engine, which featured a V4 layout in place of the Fiat's line-4, was air-cooled. The Zaporozhets also featured bigger wheels and front suspension on torsion bars. Its doors opened backwards, partly to make it more accessible to the disabled. In 1958, the government ordered production of the car in the reformed ZAZ factory, under its final designation ZAZ-965. All further production of the car was carried out there.
The Zaporozhets' engine was designed in Moscow's NAMI institute and produced by the MeMZ factory. The initial 965 was powered by a rear-mounted, aircooled 746 cc V4 engine, producing 26 PS (19 kW).
The 965A was an improvement on the 965 and was produced from November 1962 to May 1969. In total, 322,106 units of the 965 were produced.
It was powered by a MeMZ-965 rear-mounted, aircooled OHV 887 cc V4 engine, partially of aluminium design, producing 27 PS (20 kW). From November 1966 some cars were fitted with the slightly more powerful 30 PS (22 kW) MeMZ-965A engine. The 965's modest engine output has given ground to an urban joke that it was used as a starter motor in Soviet tanks.
As Soviet drivers were expected to do much of the servicing themselves, and auto workshops were in short supply anyway, the engine's 90° angle V4 layout proved more practical, especially in harsh winter conditions. The higher centre of gravity of the engine also provided superior traction on steep slopes, though this advantage, which was also continued in later models, came at the expense of the car's infamous cornering stability.
The 965-A also had its versions for the disabled (ZAZ-965B, AB, AR), as well as a more luxurious export variant ZAZ-965AE Yalta.

Technical data:
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 887 cc
- horsepower: 27 HP
- gearbox: 3+1
- top speed: 90 km/h

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