Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
Illustration for article titled Soviet Saturday: ZAZ 968 (Zaporozhets)

Hello Comrades!

ZAZ or Zaporozhets is a car factory in the (formerly Soviet) Ukraine that produced small cars with air-cooled rear engines from 1960 to 1994. Their first model was the 965, which bore a striking resemblance to the Fiat 600.

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This is the second generation ZAZ, produced in various versions from 1966 to 1994. Introduced as the 966, this one looked very similar to the German NSU Prinz 4 (which in turn took more than a few cues from the Chevy Corvair).

The first version was called the 966, then as of 1972 it received a few upgrades and was called the 968. Later on, it lost its distinctive side air intakes and became the 968M.

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Power output stayed at 40hp. Up to 20% of the production was devoted to making special versions for war veterans with missing limbs - however, these received only a 30hp engine. Not fair really.

In the former Soviet Union, these cars were known for being robust, being able to navigate very poor roads, ease of repair, and very dubious handling. Several hundred thousand were produced, being Exported all over the Eastern Bloc and to the odd Western European country as well. And - Valdimir Putin still has one, which he apparently cherishes.

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Today, ZAZ makes a (relatively) modern FF hatchback.

One more thing - if you wonder like me how to pronounce "Zaporozhets", click on the link, and all will be revealed.

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The model is in 1/64 and was marketed by Grell in Germany a few years ago.

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