Interesting facts about the Zaporozhets

As you probably already guessed, it will not be about the inhabitants of Zaporozhye, but about the car of the same name, which has gained popularity among motorists of the former USSR.

On November 22, 1960, the first industrial batch of Zaporozhets cars, ZAZ-965, rolled off the assembly line of the Zaporozhye Kommunar plant in Ukraine (which was later renamed the Zaporozhye Automobile Building Plant).

All variants of "Zaporozhtsev" were distinguished by the maximum degree of unification in units and assemblies with army (LuAZ-967) and civilian (LuAZ-969) all-terrain vehicles of the LuAZ brand. And this happened because the engine developed for the Zaporozhets was so successful that the military became interested in it at one time.

In the USSR, the Zaporozhets car was popular to a large extent due to its relative cheapness, it cost twice as cheap as a Zhiguli and three times as cheap as a Volga.

ZAZ was the only car in the Soviet Union that was also produced with modified control mechanisms for disabled people. Such versions in the common people were called "invalids" and they were disseminated through social security agencies among disabled people of various categories.

Despite the constant jokes about the rear-engine layout of the Zaporozhets, it should be noted that in the late 50s - the period during which both generations of Zaporozhets were developed - the rear-engine layout was at the peak of its popularity all over the world, including the USA and Europe.

Almost every generation of "Zaporozhtsev" people received their nickname: ZAZ-965 for its characteristic body shape was called "humped", and the next family of ZAZ-966 and ZAZ-968 for the air intakes protruding from the side were called "eared". When the air intakes on the ZAZ-968M were removed, the car was immediately named "a soap box"

Interestingly, the main prototype of the ZAZ-965 was the Fiat 600, at least in terms of the overall body design, partly the independent spring-loaded rear suspension, steering mechanism and transmission.

The Zaporozhets engine was a very rare type in the world automotive industry, a four-cylinder V-shaped, air-cooled and located at the rear. The car had two doors that opened back. The rear and windshields were interchangeable.

Their export versions were also produced (including with a steering wheel on the right, for third world countries where left-hand traffic) - ZAZ-965E, ZAZ-965AE, ZAZ-966E, ZAZ-968E and ZAZ-968AE. They had the trade designation Jalta ("Yalta") or "Eliette" and differed from the basic models in improved consumer qualities.

In total, from 1960 to 1994, more than 3 million Zaporozhtsev were produced at ZAZ.

After the collapse of the USSR, in the context of a general economic crisis, in 1994 ZAZ stopped producing Zaporozhtsev.

Recently, collectors of rare cars began to buy Cossacks, for example, the price of a "humpbacked" Cossack is about 3000 euros.