Saturday 7 September 2013
ZAZ Zaporozhets (Ukrainian: Запоро́жець; Russian: Запоро́жец About this sound pronunciation) was a series of subcompact cars designed and built from 1958 at the ZAZ factory in Soviet Ukraine (Ukrainian: Запорізький автомобільний завод Zaporizkyi Avtomobilnyi Zavod, or Zaporizhian Automobile Factory). Different types of Zaporozhets were produced until 1994.
The name Zaporozhets can mean a Cossack of the Zaporizhian Sich or а man from Zaporizhia or the Zaporizhia Oblast.
Zaporozhets is still warmly remembered in many ex-USSR countries. Like the Volkswagen Beetle or East Germany's Trabant, Soviet Zaporozhets was destined to become a "people's car". It was the cheapest Soviet car and so the most affordable to common people. At the same time, it was rather sturdy and well suited to Soviet roads. They were known for good crossing performance on poor roads, better than bigger Soviet passenger cars. Their advantage was also ease of repairs. The very looks of this car gave birth to several nicknames that stuck with it forever: horbatyi ("hunchback", due to ZAZ-965 insect-like form; ZAZ factory workers never used this nickname), malysh (English: Kiddy), ushastyi ("big-eared", due to air intakes on each side to cool the rear-mounted engine of the ZAZ-966/968), mylnitsa ("soap-box", for ZAZ-968M, lacking "ears").
All Zaporozhets cars featured rear wheel drive (with engine in the rear) and aircooled engines.
Numerous special versions of Zaporozhets were equipped with additional sets of controls that allowed operating the car with a limited set of limbs or completely by hands, and were given for free or with big discounts to the disabled people, especially war veterans, as an alternative to SMZ-series microcars (such variants reached at times up to 20% of ZAZ output).
ZAZ-968M Zaporozhets had the ears removed and was made from 1979 to 1994. Some of the special models include the ZAZ-968B2, for drivers who have only one foot, the ZAZ-968B for drivers who have no feet, and the ZAZ-968A which had the smaller 0.7 Litre engine.
ZAZ-968 was replaced by the heavily updated ZAZ-1102 Tavria hatchback, which was radically different from the Zaporožec, featuring front wheel drive and a watercooled engine.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1197 cc
- horsepower: 41 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 118 km/h