The flash of optimism: test drive ZAZ-968A

How many means properly chosen appearance: creatively painted “eared” Zaporozhets can be suddenly cute toy.

As for me, “eared” in the version ZAZ-968A in 1974 was the right Zaporozhets. With a more or less powerful motor 40 liters. sec., the normal double-circuit brake, even with the charismatic “ears” in the canonical style Chevrolet Corvair, which served as an example for imitation designer of several countries.

Before him were too primitive “Ushastik” models 966 and 968, in the same body, but not such perfect for stuffing, and after ZAZ-968A appeared “soap box” 968M – the fruit of a successful restyling, already in 1980 clearly falls out of his time constructively.

Inexpensive and non-poor

That does not take away from the Soviet automobile industry of the last century – as this is the quality factor in any design. Even the Cossacks – the cheapest model of the country – were not the last “bullshit”, which tried to save. Small, yes – but to primitive surrogate – not.

Photo by Alexander Zelinsky

No subtly, as in the European schoolmates 1960-70-ies, no ersatz designs, any savings on materials. The ZAZ-968A metal everywhere, but if plastic, or the reliable, solid, or expensive and soft, and detail – neat, impressive. The cheapness – it is small (compared to Moscow and the Volga) sizes, rear-arrangement, in the absence of the rear doors and a small trunk. Something rough, something is rustic, but no disposability is not in sight.

Suspension of all wheels – an independent, and a few of Entre Level offers now. Engine – a full “four”, not shameful, almost motorcycle “kopeck piece” or “three rubles”, which is slowly becoming mainstream in today’s Europe. Also, “in the database” – serious heater, two-speed wiper and all-synchromesh gearbox. On the dashboard – “emergency gang” (it and “penny” was not!), Under the dashboard – socket for 12 of free gadgets in the door – full sliding window plus swivel vents (not pathetic sliding windows, as some hits European car market ).

Our test sample is perceived as the most shining toy – primarily because of its upbeat colors. No wonder: its owner – a nice girl Katerina. A dedicated fan of cars from the banks of the Dnieper River, a few years ago, she was looking for a “hunchback” ZAZ-965, but came across an advertisement for the sale of the “eared” in 1978. The machine is in excellent condition, but it is not a museum piece. For four years, frail lady dashed off to the rarity Zaporozhets five thousand kilometers – on exhibitions, meetings retrofanov, as well as – as the exotic, rented for trips interested citizens. Hire and us.

beginners Comfort

Nice chill already familiar with supple handle button, confident movement of massive doors, warm-looking nice leatherette seats … I sit down, pull the legs far forward. Before me particularly pleasant soft torpedo shape with a soft glove compartment under the lid and ashtray, to the place where you can mount the radio. All succinctly, but nothing has been overlooked – buttons, pens, fine wheel.

Wow earned spoils the impression the engine. The fact that it is running, everyone knows – a tough, even sonorous vibration fills the air in and around the car. It seems to me recently officially (it was my article, it would seem, 03/05/2016) tested me “Emka” – ZAZ-968M – roared not so expressive.

four-cylinder, V-type, 1.2 l., 43 l. from.

However, the engine is the same – 40-strong, relatively rare scheme with a V-shaped arrangement of four cylinders and air cooled. However, as time cooling is organized somewhat differently, to be exact – the old fashioned way, through the “ears”, and not through the grille in the bonnet. In the engine, among other things, housing made of light and durable magnesium alloy – could afford the Soviet Union such expensive materials of construction machines in the budget! Housing four-gearbox, which also placed the main transmission and differential, also cast from magnesium.

Interestingly, the unit “zapika” hanging under the car bottom on two solid planks. Accordingly, it is necessary to dismantle the engine, unscrew the bolts and “drop” it together with a box on the ground. Then – to lift the stern of the machine and pull it out from under the machine. About these maloromantichnyh detail I tell because many had to “capital” motor independently.

First, the extra money for professional services from “zazovodov”, as a rule, was not found, and secondly, and professionals were not so hot – branded service station network ZAZ was symbolic and garage craftsmen preferred to make a more affluent customer.

Happinnes exists!

But the newly minted owners Zaporozhets not worried about future repairs: they were happy. Over the years, he nurtured the dream of your own car embodied in the most accessible of them – a brand new, shining – here is happiness! And the problems with repairs and spare parts doomed himself any person buys a car in the country, able to make fighters and magnesium engines, but are unable to fine-tune the service sector.

If the driver had not taxied Lada, Zaporozhets, it will appeal.

Why not? That steering wheel – not heavy, not nervous and not a “thoughtful”. Pedals – specific, tight, coherent. Salon cozy place fully, the engine behind the sound is alive and threatening, so it seems – the asphalt will tear. Forward!

Highway, bumps, pits – all at all, suspension swallows everything and at any speed. Regarding speed. Yes, the book manual promises 120 km / h. Yes, Zaporozhets reaches the promised, but it is better to keep the cruising 90 – 100 km / h, for our roads and its short base so relaxed. And it is not true that the noise from the knees have to close your ears, actually the sound of the motor at speeds above 60 km / h starts to lag. And again, there is a smooth bottom, ground clearance of 190 mm and always loaded drive axle – but he is not afraid of no dirt!

In the trunk, though there is strong opposition to anthropogenic component and practicality – but it is still there! And in the space between the “spare wheel” and the battery on one side and a stove with a fluid reservoir can be placed on the other, if not a couple of suitcases, then few bags accurately.

However, the second trunk, like a 966-th, for the seat back is no longer, but the sofa has become easier and increased tank – now at a gas station can be from Leningrad to Riga to get! Or from Tashkent – in Kyzyl-Orda! Or from Kiev – Chisinau! But you never know where you could go on vacation for one sixth of the land, where there were no boundaries, where gasoline cost 9 cents and sold not only at the gas station, but each truck driver!

Zaporozhets ZAZ-968A
Brief specifications
Dimensions, mm
3 730/1 570/1 400
Clearance, mm
Curb weight, kg
Maximum speed km / h
Control fuel consumption, L / 100 km
Fuel capacity, l

Nothing is eternal

Nothing lasts forever, yes – but, oddly enough, with the exception of iron … Living example – Zaporozhets. How to change the attitude towards him for some forty years: first, he was a modern vehicle for poor people, then he became the hero of anecdotes and a symbol of the problems, and now people are paying money to the output drive on it with the wind.

And only the Zaporozhets remained what it was in the year of its release. It should be in front of us – a stylish and durable handsome, always ready to serve the owner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.