Soviet people's car reborn as modern Beetle conversion
It's not the most loved classic car in the world, yet the ZAZ Zaporozhets has now inspired a retro revival, with a custom car built on a modern-day VW Beetle
Almost every iconic car of the past is being revived for today’s car-loving public in an attempt to capitalise on nostalgia. The Mini, Fiat 500, and Volkswagen Beetle all have modern-day interpretations, but what of the Soviet Ukraine's people’s car? At last,the ZAZ Zaporozhets gets its moment of rebirth in 2018!
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While this isn’t an officially sanctioned model, a Russian enthusiast has created a new ZAZ-965 that we wish would go into production. Based on the easy to modify underpinnings of a Volkswagen Beetle, a new fibreglass body reimagines the classic ZAZ shape.
Though the A5-generation Beetle upon which this recreation is built is front-engined, there's a connection between the ZAZ Zaporozhets and the original Beetle – both featured rear-mounted, air-cooled engines, making the builder's choice a smart nod to history.
The roofline remains the same at the donor car, but the blunt nose and domed rear end echos that of the 965. Chromed bumpers, rounded headlights, and manually operated door mirrors are also great throwbacks.
The interior hasn’t been modified at all, we presume that’s still on a to-do list as it even retains Volkswagen badging at this point in time, but it certainly affords more luxuries than the original Soviet era car.
The Zaz 965 of the 1960s was a popular car in Russia for two reasons, it offered plenty of space also because 695 was one of few cars on the Soviet market. While it looked very similar to the Fiat 600, this was another example of the nation’s copycat approach to engineering — much like the Tupolev Tu-144’s attempt at Concorde. More original was its engine, a 23hp V4 made from a magnesium alloy. In total ZAZ built 322,106 examples of the 965 over two generations.
ZAZ still exits today in Ukraine, but focuses its attention on non-consumer vehicles like buses and trucks these days. Shame, we’d rather like to see a reboot of this Soviet classic.
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