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ZAZ Zaporozhets (Ukrainian: Запоро́жець) was a series of rear-wheel-drive superminis (city cars in their first generation) designed and built from 1958 at the ZAZ factory in Soviet Ukraine. Different models of the Zaporozhets, all of which had an air-cooled engine in the rear, were produced until 1994. Since the late 1980s, the final series, 968M, was replaced by the cardinally different ZAZ-1102 Tavria hatchback, which featured a front-wheel drive and a more powerful water-cooled engine.

The name Zaporozhets translates into a Cossack of the Zaporizhian Sich or а man from Zaporizhzhia or the Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Zaporozhets is still well known in many former Soviet states. Like the Volkswagen Beetle or East Germany's Trabant, the Zaporozhets was destined to become a "people's car" of the Soviet Union, and as such it was the most affordable vehicle of its era. At the same time, it was rather sturdy and known for its excellent crossing performance on poor roads.[1] Another important advantage of the Zaporozhets was its ease of repairs. The car's appearance gave birth to several nicknames that became well known across the Soviet Union: horbatyi ("hunchback", owing to ZAZ-965's insect-like form; although ZAZ factory workers never used this nickname[2]), malysh (English: Kiddy),[2] ushastyi ("big-eared", due to 966 and 968's round air intakes on each side of the car to cool the rear-mounted engine), zapor ("constipation")[3], mylnitsa ("soap-box", for ZAZ-968M, lacking "ears" and producing a more box-like appearance).[1]

Numerous special versions of the Zaporozhets were produced, equipped with additional sets of controls that allowed operating the car with a limited set of limbs, and were given for free or with considerable discounts to disabled people, especially war veterans, side-by-side with SMZ-series microcars. These mobility cars would at times consume up to 25% of ZAZ factory output.[1]

Export versions

Among the export variants produced by ZAZ were ZAZ-965E, ZAZ-965AE, ZAZ-966E, ZAZ-968E, and ZAZ-968AE, which had improved consumer qualities. Depending on target markets, commercial names Jalta or Eliette were used for these models.

In total, 3,422,444 Zaporozhets vehicles were manufactured and powered by air-cooled engines from the Melitopol factory from 1960 to 1994.[18]

In popular culture

In the 2011 animated feature film, Cars 2, Vladimir TrunkovThe 968M is the most contemporary Zaporozhets model and also spent the most time in production, spanning a career from 1979 to 1 June 1994.[13] Some of its special variants include the ZAZ-968MB2, for drivers who have only one foot, the ZAZ-968MB for drivers who have no feet.

Planned 968s with 1,300 cc (79 cu in) or 1,400 cc (85 cu in) engines were never realized.[13]

Among the export variants produced by ZAZ were ZAZ-965E, ZAZ-965AE, ZAZ-966E, ZAZ-968E, and ZAZ-968AE, which had improved consumer qualities. Depending on target markets, commercial names Jalta or Eliette were used for these models.

In total, 3,422,444 Zaporozhets vehicles were manufactured and powered by air-cooled engines from the Melitopol factory from 1960 to 1994.[18]

In popular culture[18]

In the 2011 animated feature film, Cars 2, Vladimir Trunkov, Petrov Trunkov, Lubewig, and Tolga Trunkov are based on the ZAZ-968 Zaporozhets.

See also

Similar air-cooled and rea

Similar air-cooled and rear-engined vehicles: