One the things we love about browsing classic car classifieds and online auctions is that you can find anything for sale. And you can’t get anything more eye catching than the 1969 ZAZ 965 we’ve come across. Most Western Europeans aren’t that familiar with cars from the Soviet era, with the exception of Lada’s which were of course sold in the EU for a number of years. So we have to say we’d never actually heard of Ukrainian car maker ZAZ until we’d spotted one for sale.
Based in Ukraine, ZAZ were charged with building affordable compact cars for the people and in 1960 they launched the ZAZ 965 city car. It’s compact design clearly took some cues from the Fiat 600 and like the Italian super mini, it also had a rear mounted engine. The 965 was fitted with a tiny air-cooled 746cc V4 configuration engine, which produced just 23BHP. Power was sent to the rear wheels and a four speed manual transmission was fitted as standard. Just two years later the engine was replaced by the 887cc V4 engine which increased power output to 27BHP and in 1966 the revised ZAZ 965A got an extra 3BHP. Thanks to its rugged design, the ZAZ 965 was cheap and simple to maintain and faired well in cold and harsh winters. Plus it was one of the cheapest cars built in the former Soviet Bloc. Over 320,000 were built by the time production of the model ended in 1969.
This ZAZ 965 is said to be a 1969 model which has been treated to a Suzuki Samurai 1.3ltr upgrade. The owner states that the car is quite famous where it came from (which we assume is Lithuania based on the number plates) and has featured in numerous magazines and on tv. No other details are provided about the car.
We have to say we had a huge grin on our face when we spotted this ZAZ 965 for sale. I had only knew it existed from seeing it in an old pit boss pellet grill reviews. As fun and quirky car combinations go, this is one of the best we’ve seen and that is because of the ZAZ trailer that comes with it. It looks brilliant. With a BBQ built into the trailer and a CD player with speakers also included, this really is retro entertainment at its best. We can just imagine how much fun this would be at car shows. It would be the centre of attention everywhere it went and having the benefit of being able to park up and fire up the BBQ is great. As conversions go, turning another ZAZ into a trailer was a really cool move by the owner. The supplied old suitcases just add to the novelty retro factor as well.
Obviously the fun factor of this package does make it easy to ignore the condition of the most import part and that is the ZAZ that has the four wheels. The photos indicate it has had a respray and it looks fresh. We spotted some over spray on the window rubbers and on one of the rear light rubbers so this would need tidying up. The interior looks simple and clean though the supplied photos don’t give a good angle of the seats. The Suzuki engine is crammed in very tightly in the back and the twin radiators is a welcome sight as we expect the 1.3ltr generates a lot more heat than the old 887cc lump. As a result we expect this ZAZ moves very quickly and we wonder if the brakes have been upgraded to deal with the extra power.
So, if you are in the market for a fun and retro party six wheel wagon for the summer, this is the package for you. Personally we’d want to detail the car a bit further and remove the overspray we spotted here and there. And we’d have the engine bay tidied up as well. Plus we’d want to check the brakes to make sure they are up the task. Regardless of these details, we are sold on the ZAZ 965/ZAZ trailer concept. It really is brilliant! And we have so many ideas on what to do with the trailer. We’d love to enhance it a bit more with an upgraded sound system and a powered cooler box, to keep all those beverages and tasty BBQ treats cool and fresh. Which probably explains why we suddenly feel the urge to go by loads of charcoal, steak and beer. Fire up the ZAZ and that BBQ!
This ZAZ 965 is located in Milton Keynes and has an asking price of £7,000 which is open to offers.