ZAZ 965A

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Keywords: ZAZ 965A

Description: This 1962 ZAZ 965A (chassis 965021671) has been restored to what’s described as a cost no object standard and is further speculated to be among the best remaining—quite possible when the fact that

This 1962 ZAZ 965A (chassis 965021671) has been restored to what’s described as a cost no object standard and is further speculated to be among the best remaining—quite possible when the fact that these cars were, and to some extent still are thought of as disposable. Designed along lines laid by Fiat with the 600, these cars featured 746CC air-cooled, rear-mounted V4s. By most accounts they’re slow, agricultural, and nearly indestructible in typical Soviet auto industry fashion. Restoring one will likely never be a sound decision, but we’re glad someone lacked the good sense to leave this one alone. Find it here on eBay in Tarzana, California for $14,975 OBO.

​Bodywork and paint look quite good, and though minimal, trim and brightwork shows equally well. Rear-hinged doors, Cyrillic scripts, and a pug dog face with swing axle positive camber rear stance endow the little car with a lot of character. The seller claims all chrome has been refinished, rubber seals are fresh throughout, and five refinished wheels wear new tires. We’ve never seen a brand new Zaporozhets before, but can’t imagine the factory turning out anything nearly this nicely finished.

​Arguably over-restored but pretty cool nonetheless, the cabin has been reupholstered in quality looking leather and fabrics in a period correct style. We dig the original, uncracked steering wheel, and the gauge cluster with its cream yellow Bakelite surround, interesting fonts and unusual speedometer design is one of the best we’ve ever seen on an old economy car—check out the shape of that needle!

​Aluminum blocked and good for about 26 HP, the little V4 in these cars makes a distinct noise and is known for durability. Often (incorrectly, of course) rumored to have plastic internals, the little fours are also said to have been used as starter motors on contemporary Russian tanks with slightly more credibility.

​We can’t verify this claim, but have read it before more than once—we like to imagine it’s true, if only for the delightful weirdness of such a layout. This one’s said to have been rebuilt, and based on the 911 spotted in the seller’s garage we gather they’ve got a thing for humpbacked, rear-engined, air-cooled cars.

​With restoration costs claimed to have run past $25k, the car is likely as good as described and is almost certainly better than it would have been fresh off the waiting list. We’re big fans of the little oddball, and would enjoy knowing beforehand that it’d be the only one at any car gathering we ever attended for the next 20 years or more.



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