2023 Author: Natalie MacDonald | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-03 15:38
In 1960, the first commercial copies of the ZAZ-965 left an automobile plant in Zaporozhye, which was destined to become the first more or less "people's" car in the USSR. On Zaporozhets they went on trips across the country, made their way through the mud to summer cottages, and later they were repeatedly recalled in jokes. In short, the car is iconic and has just turned 60 years old. On this occasion, we decided to recall the special and rare "Cossacks".
It is no secret that initially "Zaporozhets" was supposed to become "Moskvich": the project of a compact rear-engined car was developed by MZMA together with US. And the first prototype of the future ZAZ-965, presented in 1957, was called "Moskvich" -444. However, later the project documentation was transferred to Zaporozhye, where the serial production of the model began.
However, the Automotive Research Institute did not abandon the project, even when it changed its registration. Therefore, NAMI periodically offered options for modernizing the Soviet bestseller. One of the first such options is NAMI-059, which appeared even before the ZAZ-965 became serial.
It was a fiberglass "shooting break" based on the ZAZ-965, more precisely, on the basis of the 444th "Moskvich". The project was directed by Boris Fitterman, and the design was developed by Yuri Dolmatovsky. With all the outward resemblance to the "Zhuzhik" NAMI-059 can hardly be called a copy of the ZAZ-965. He even had a different engine - a two-cylinder M-72, which was installed on the motorcycle of the same name and the 444th "Moskvich". The car was first shown in 1958, but the serial version never happened.
The famous "humpback" was produced from 1960 to 1969. In addition to the basic versions 965 and 965A, the model was available in versions for disabled people (965AB / 965B / 965AR), and for export - 965AE, also known as Yalta. But for special purposes, there were special modifications that were not offered to the ordinary Soviet proletarian.
One of them is ZAZ-965S, where "C" is "connection". The modification was produced from 1960 to 1962 by order of the USSR Ministry of Communications and had a number of features that made it convenient for collecting letters from mailboxes in cities. The main one is the right-hand placement of the controls. Thanks to the right-hand drive, the postman-driver immediately went out onto the sidewalk and got the fastest and safest access to the mail in the boxes.
The letters themselves were kept on the back platform of the Zaporozhets - the one where, as a rule, the rear seats were located. It withstood up to 150 kilograms of payload and, thanks to blank walls instead of side rear windows, was almost completely cut off from sunlight, which is, of course, a plus for paper.
Externally, the "connected" 965 was distinguished by its characteristic side air intakes, which drove air to the V4 from the Melitopol Motor Plant, as well as the inscriptions "communication" in place of the former side windows. Not a single copy of the 965C has survived to this day - all of them were mercilessly cut into metal after the end of their service life. Rumor has it that just over 600 of these machines were built.
Almost every automobile enterprise in the USSR had pickups for in-plant needs. Such machines helped deliver oversized parts to assembly lines, remove production waste, and so on. VAZ had a similar car on the basis of a "kopeck", GAZ made it from the 24th "Volga". The Zaporozhye Automobile Plant also did not lag behind.
The first, of course, was a pickup truck based on the ZAZ-965, which was assigned the index 965P. The car was made as simple as possible: the roof was cut off above the rear part of the passenger compartment, a bulkhead with a window was installed between the front row and the resulting trunk - and that's it, let's go! True, due to the small carrying capacity of the Zaporozhets itself, as well as the peculiarities of its layout (the engine was still in the rear overhang), the pickup still did not differ in practicality.
The production of the 965P was carried out on the basis of the rejected bodies of the usual 965s. And although this version has never been serial, several copies still fell outside the gates of the plant. And in the period from 1990 to 1992, the production of pickups at ZAZ became more or less massive. True, they were already based on the more modern model 968M.
Actually, the same concept as the ZAZ-965P, but based on the pre-styled version of the ZAZ-968. The recipe for creation is identical: a defective body with a partially cut roof, a vertical wall and a U-shaped reinforcement. However, unlike the serial 968MP, the 968AP was not intended for sale. Several of these machines were manufactured in the late 1970s, but there are very few details about this modification.
Although the release of the 965th model was only established in 1960, the development of a successor was already underway. For example, this is how the future ZAZ-966 was seen in 1961: embossed panels of side air intakes, a complex front end with clearly marked "eyebrows", side windows smoothly flowing down. But the serial 966, as we all know, has lost all these delights. It's a pity!
In 1961, at the Kommunar plant, under the leadership of Yuri Sorochkin, an experienced truck ZAZ-970 was created, which received the nickname "Sharpener". The car was based on the very promising ZAZ-966 - although the design of the body opaquely hints at a relationship with the 965th model.
The carrying capacity of the ZAZ-970 was only 350 kilograms, but the direction seemed promising. Moreover, in West Germany, similar cars were also and enjoyed success - we are talking about the original Volkswagen Transporter. True, the German model was more practical due to the "lower" boxer engine.
It even got to the point that Soviet newspapers wrote with enthusiasm that soon the ZAZ-970 would become widespread. But it didn't work out.
ZAZ-970B / 970V
The ZAZ-970 truck became the starting point for the creation of a whole family of Celina vehicles, which included a 970B cargo van, a 970V cargo-passenger van and a 970G pickup. The lead designer of the project was Lev Murashov, a native of MZMA.
Since the cars were planned to be operated in off-road conditions, sufficient rigidity of the supporting structure was needed. Through trial and error, the engineers settled on steel 0.7 mm thick, produced almost across the road - at Zaporizhstal. Later, all research results were sent to VAZ, where they were used to create the body of the "Niva".
Like ZAZ-970, 970B and 970V were built on ZAZ-966 units. The carrying capacity of both machines was 350 kilograms, while the cargo-passenger 970V could take these very kilograms either in the form of cargo or in the form of five passengers. The 970B's seats were removable so it could easily be converted into a truck. Both versions appeared in 1962. Like …
Like the 970G, it is the third member of this family. It differed from closed vans only in carrying capacity, which reached 400 kilograms! The 970B / 970V and 970G had excellent maneuverability, but the high landing and loading height (half a meter) and the weak reliability revealed during the tests forced them to put a cross on the project, which once seemed very promising.
But the ZAZ-971D was a little more fortunate. The modification is the development of the ideas of the 970th family in their version for the armed forces of the Soviet Union. Here and unpretentious panels, and body type "phaeton" with a canvas cape, and four-wheel drive.
Five prototypes of the 971D were made (three in the long wheelbase version, two in the short wheelbase version), which were refined and tested in the territory of the Ukrainian SSR for three years. The conclusions of the tests were disappointing: the list of breakdowns and comments took eight album pages.
Nevertheless, the project did not go unnoticed in history: the design documentation came in handy in the development of ZAZ-969 (which later turned into LuAZ-969), as well as TPK (LuAZ-967).
When NAMI was working on the Moskvich -444, the institute was provided with several foreign analogue cars for preparation: Iso Isetta, Bond Minicar, Lloyd 600 and other toddlers. But foreign cars turned out to be interesting not only in terms of technology, but also design. Therefore, they became a source of inspiration for the potential "restyling" of the ZAZ-965.
The photo shows one of the options for modernizing the ZAZ-965, created in the first half of the 1960s. As you can see in the image, the "humpback" was supposed to get a more monumental front end, typical of Scandinavian and British cars of that period, as well as a false radiator grille with a sweeping inscription "Zaporozhets". But this option was rejected: the generous use of chrome elements would lead to an increase in the price of a people's car, and therefore to a drop in its popularity.
Despite the planned economy and dependence on government orders, no one prevented NAMI employees from taking the initiative and designing something interesting in their free time. This is how the Sport-900 appeared - perhaps one of the most beautiful Soviet cars of that period.
It was created by an initiative group consisting of design artists Eduard Molchanov and Felix Khaidukov, engineers Igor and Lev Durnovs, artist Vladimir Eltyshev and chemist Anatoly Syvorotkin. The car was based on units from the ZAZ-965, however, thanks to the fiberglass body, the Sport-900 weighed 125 kilograms less than the original - only 500 kilograms. And this is with the landing formula 2 + 2!
In the period from 1963 to 1969, only six of these machines were manufactured, which differed slightly in terms of design. All of them were distributed among six members of the same initiative group. The coupe, alas, did not receive mass distribution.
NAMI-0100 has become one of the latest options for modernizing ZAZ-965. It appeared in the late 1960s and, by and large, was useless: by that time, the development of the ZAZ-966 had already been completed, with which it was planned to replace the outdated Humpbacked. Although the sharp little face on the 965th looks funny.
The Zaporozhets is hardly a comfortable car, but it has two fundamental problems that have nothing to do with its budget. The first is a whimsical air-cooled engine that loves to overheat in warm weather. The second is the tendency to oversteer, which is explained by the peculiarities of the layout.
Both problems were theoretically solved by the prototype NAMI-0137. Firstly, it was equipped with an upgraded version of the MeMZ engine with an increased displacement and liquid cooling. Secondly, the car had front-wheel drive, which made its behavior more predictable.
It was planned that such a Zaporozhets would become the main taxi car in small towns. However, the project, which proved to be excellent in tests, was never given the "green light". Because at that time ZAZ-966 was already being produced, and it turned out to be too difficult and expensive to modernize both ZAZ and MeMZ for the new concept.
El Motors GoRRbaty
Probably, this is exactly what the ZAZ-965 would like to see at the Zaporozhye Automobile Plant. Alas, the "clockwork orange" Gorrbaty exists in a single copy and is now in the Retro Union Museum (St. Petersburg).
With all the outward resemblance to the Humpbacked, the car has nothing to do with the Zaporozhian Cossacks. It is based on a steel monocoque covered with fiberglass panels. Suspensions on wishbones and two synchronized engines from YamahYZF R1 are attached to the power structure of the body. The latter develop a total of 300 horsepower. SuperZAZ also has two gearboxes, both of them are sequential and transmit traction to the rear axle.
Due to the fact that the mass of the car is only 800 kilograms, its dynamics are respectful even by today's standards: acceleration to 100 kilometers per hour takes 4 seconds. And only one that was recently crossed with Lotus Exige can compete with such a Zaporozhets.
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