ZAZ 956 Zaporozhets. Green version

ZAZ 965 Zaporozhets. Moscow transport museum

ZAZ Zaporozhets was a series of rear-wheel-drive superminis (city cars in their first generation) designed and built from 1958 at the ZAZ factory in the USSR.

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.

First generation (1960-1969)

The ZAZ 965 was a city car produced from 1960 to 1963. Design of a car accessible to the public, and one in part taking the place of the soon to be discontinued Moskvitch 401, began in 1956.

Following the growing trend of city cars (then accounting for between 25% and 40% of all European car sales), the minister in charge of Minavtroprom (the Soviet automotive ministry) Nikolay Strokin selected the new Fiat 600 as the model to follow.

However, despite being visually similar to the Fiat, the ZAZ was in fact a completely different car.

The first prototype, the Moskvich-444, was designed by MZMA in October 1957; it used the same glass for front and rear windows.

Its ground clearance, on 13 in (330 mm) wheels, was 200 mm (7.9 in).

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