Pripyat Avtomobilnyi Zavod (PAZ) (Not going to be updated)

Pripyat Avtomobilnyi Zavod (PAZ) Forum thread

Pripyat Avtomobilnyi Zavod, or PAZ for short is a Soviet car factory based in the region of ukraine in Soviet Union.
PAZ makes mostly affordable cars for the working class, but the factory also produces military-grade off-roaders and luxurious cars for politicians and export market.

The factory was built in 1938, and during the war it made mostly tanks and trucks for the military, But started making off-road vehicles in the late 40s, and slowly moved to the civilian car market in the early 50s.
The first cars were based on the PAZ 10 - chassis, which was reused from the Offroaders, since the simple double wishbone/leaf Spring combination was simple and cheap to produce.


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PAZ 200, a car made by tank designers

1952-1963

New tanks are not needed after the war, but the engineers have to be kept busy with something, right? Well force them to design a car!

The PAZ 200 was supposed to be a new all-purpose car, which would be made cheaply and simply, and would be able to survive at least a few decades of use, so it could be used as a taxi, or as a police car for example.
The PAZ is a dead-simple car with it’s overhead-valve 2 Litre engine running on… fuel that somewhat resembles gasoline. The engine was honestly very underpowered for it’s size, as it could barely reach 60 horsepower, and it was far from economical as well.
The engine is paired to an adequate 3-speed transmission with a synchromesh for the 2nd and 3rd gear.
The car was obviously not meant for working-class citizens, as it was quite large and had an interior that was actually on par with western cars of that time.
The PAZ 200 uses an extended PAZ 10 - ladderframe chassis, which means that this car has the same double wishobone/leaf spring configuration like the PAZ 250 - offroader.

The base model of the car didn’t feature many features, but the heater was at least standard equipment, but it had a tendency to break, so it just kept pushing hot air to the cabin, which was… uncomfortable in the summer to say the least.
The body panels and the chassis were extremely rust-prone, which was the biggest drawback of this mostly bulletproof car.
The design was heavily inspired by other european cars of the era, since there wasn’t really any creative visual designers in soviet union, and as a result the car looks quite generic.


the more bearable “export” trim

There was also an “Export” model made to appeal to the west-european market, which included a very badly made AM Radio and the engine was modified to use more civilized gasoline, which made the engine just a bit happier and more economical.
The export models also had more appealing paint options compared to the domestic cars’ Beige, white and faded red paintjobs, if the police paintjobs aren’t counted in.

Overall, the car was mostly on par with other cars of the same era, even with it’s questionable panel gaps and seats that smell weird already from the factory.

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The base model of the car didn’t feature many features, but the heater was at least standard equipment, but it had a tendency to break, so it just kept pushing hot air to the cabin, which was… uncomfortable in the summer to say the least.

In Soviet Russia, heater breaks YOU!

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It was meant to be cheap - but owners could make it even cheaper by discarding the heater, although such practices were only advisable in warm or hot climates. And in such conditions, the onset of rust would be delayed by years, if not decades.

PAZ 250, a rocky start on a rocky road

1949-1967

The war is over but the military needs updated equipment to replace the old 30s off-roaders, so here is a solution to the problem!

The PAZ 250 was meant to be the new general-purpose military off-roader for most basic tasks, like hauling cargo and soldiers, on and of the road.
Unlike the PAZ 200, which was designed to be a durable and long-lasting car, this military-grade cruiser was only meant to be as cheap as possible, so it can be replaced easily every few years without it costing too much.

The engine in this off-roader is a rather large, overhead-valve 2.5 litre i4, that was a reused design from the war-era trucks, with a few modifications of course.
The engine was not very powerful at all, as the maximum power output was only 59 horsepower, but the torque ratings were decent enough for an off-roader.


This was also the first car ever to use the long-lasting PAZ 10 ladder-frame chassis, which was later reused in many different models.

As this car was meant to be capable to move both on- and off-road, the suspension setup in this car was a Double wishbone/Leaf spring configuration, which was suitable for most terrains. The car was technically capable of highway speeds, but the wallowy suspension and questionable steering and brakes made it a very, very unpleasant experience.

The interior in this car is just simply as cheap as one could imagine, door panels are just painted steel, and only gauges in the car are a speedometer and fuel gauge. The seats resemble the Citroen 2CV seats, metal tube frames with some fabric on top.

The general driving experience is quite uncomfortable, as one could expect; heavy steering, non-existant brakes, and an unsynchronized transmission.

The car’s design is just the essentials, and it resembles the war-time off-roaders with it’s looks.

For civilians, there was a slightly modified version available with stiffer suspension for a better road driving experience, and the 4-wheel drive was to be an option for civilians, so they could have the car cheaper with just rear-wheel drive. The only paintjob this car ever got was this semi-matte dark green colour, which was leftover paint from the war.

The steel used in this car was very poor-quality, resulting major rust issues, which made the car much less appealing for civilian market, especially outside the USSR.

The car was eventually replaced in 1968 with a much more modern and reliable off-road vehicle, PAZ 250-2.

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PAZ 10, a small car with a cold heart

1954-1962

For the working class the PAZ 200 is too expensive, and 250 is too rough, and people need an affordable, economic and reliable family car? Well here it is, have fun getting inside this without getting stuck.

The PAZ 10 is the second attempt at making a basic family car for regular people after the war, and this time the car wasn’t a refreshed 30s design brought into the 50s. The basic idea of this car was to be a decently rugged, dead simple, and most importantly, cheap.
In terms of everything the PAZ 10 was lacking far behind PAZ 200, despite only managing to be only marginally cheaper than the larger, similarly shaped car.

The PAZ 10 is cramped, uncomfortable, slow and a noisy car, as the newly designed PAZ 1000cc engine had to get every bit of power it just could, while running on gas that resembles spicy water rather than actual gasoline.
The PAZ 10 had at least one thing going for it, handling. The tiny car had a surprisinly responsive and quick handling, despite still using the same chassis as the PAZ 250 offroader, only slightly modified to be more suitable for roads.

The mediocre 1000cc OHV inline-four engine proved to be quite reliable despite being quite disappointing in every aspect, resulting it being used until the mid-80s in the PAZ 10- line of cars.
PAZ 10 also had a decently good fuel economy considering it’s limitations, as it could get under 10L/100km without too much hassling.
Interior of this car was a mix of the PAZ 250 and 200, only a lot more cramped. the seats were quite similar to what you would find in the 250, and the dashboard was made out of bakelite buttons and knobs stuck to a painted steel panel, along with a speedometer and a fuel cauge, odometer was optional.
The car also proved to be incredibly sensitive to moistness, as the rust started to form already during the first year after being made, if driven in winter, resulting that most of the cars ended up having some crude patchwork welded on the body panels after a few years.


The less horrible “export” trim

The PAZ 10 also got an export model like the PAZ 200, and the export model got you choices like 2-tone paint, more chrome trim pieces, better seats and a 4th gear, and even a really, really bad radio was an option, but most people opted to get a 3rd party one.

Maybe the most important change in the export model was the option to have a 1200cc engine, making the car much happier and more pleasant to drive, and with the 4-speed gearbox it was rather quick even compared to the western cars.

There were plans to make sedan, wagon and van variants out of this car, but they were dropped as the funding was cut off after 1954, resulting in only the liftback model being made.

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PAZ 120, the cheap 200

1956-1966

PAZ 10 has proven itself as a huge success, even with it’s tiny size. But some people just need more usable space, so here is where the PAZ 120 jumps in!


After 2 years from release of the PAZ 10, a serious need for a larger and spacious cars is on the rise. The PAZ 10 is simply too small for larger families that need to have plenty of usable space.

But a larger car would be more expensive, so corners had to be cut so the PAZ 120 could be just as affordable as the 10.

The PAZ 120 is heavily based on the older PAZ 200 design, the chassis is exactly the same and several body parts were reused. To cut down costs, the engineers switched the fuel-hungry 2- Litre OHV engine of the 200 to a cheaper, more economical 1200cc inline- four engine, the same engine that is an option for the export models of the PAZ 10.
Most interior pieces of the car would be also reused from the 200, except everything that was not necessary was removed, resulting in an interior that is almost as bare as the PAZ 10’s.

The car ended up being quite heavy, and the small, 41 horsepower 1200cc i4 had troubles to keep it moving, especially with the 3-speed manual taken from the PAZ 10. In fact, it was so slow that it was decided to include a 4-speed transmission with the cars, to improve the drivability.

The handling of the car was very similar to the 200, which is unsurprising as it is the same chassis, although the springs are slightly stiffened for a firmer feel. The car wasn’t capable of reaching 120km/h like the 200, due to the weaker engine.

This time, PAZ had enough funds to also design a wagon variant of the car, which wasn’t achieved with the 10. The wagon had loads of more space, but the extra weight made the car slower, and slightly less firm in handling. The wagon variant also had poorer fuel efficiency, which never was the strongest aspect of the PAZ 120 anyway, as the weak engine had to be pushed to the limit to keep it moving.


The slightly more bearable “export” trim

Like the PAZ 200 and 10, the PAZ 120 also got an Export trim for the foreign market, which had a large variety of options to choose from. 2-tone paint, more chrome, a surprisingly decent radio were all quite nice additions, but the most important one is the larger 1500cc inline-four engine, making a healthy 55 horsepower, making the car much quicker and more pleasing to drive.
The larger engine was also much more economical to drive, as it didn’t need to be stressed all the time, and also the foreign petrol made it possible to tune the engine to be more economical without sacrificing too much performance.

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PAZ 8, the monster from the 30s

1951-1955

The world war has been over for a while now, engineers are busy designing the PAZ 200, the future all-purpose car, but regular people need something to move around with as well? This little thing might be enough to fulfill that position.

The PAZ 8 was originally a prototype designed just before WW2, and it was supposed to be in production already in 1940, but all of the resources went to military equipment. After the world war, the design was scrapped because the car had countless issues with… everything.

But the need for small, cheap passenger cars grew in the late 40s, and there weren’t enough engineers to design a brand new design, so the PAZ 8 was put under inspection again, and the most major flaws were fixed, and the frame was swapped to the PAZ 10-chassis that 200, 250, 10- models use, so this car also has a rear solid axle leaf spring/Double wishbone configuration like the other cars with the 10-chassis.
The engine was actually the same engine that the PAZ 10 has, except the bore is smaller, resulting the engine being 800cc instead.

The PAZ 8 is a rear-wheel driven car, and the car gets the mighty 27 horsepowers through a 3-speed manual gearbox, which was later used in the PAZ 10 as well. The car wasn’t exactly slow, it was just as quick as the 10.

The interior in these cars were really bare, just like 30s cars usually tend to be. There is a huge steering wheel, cloth seats, painted metal dash without a glovebox and a speedometer. That’s it.

The PAZ 8 handling is the really questionable part. The Cross-ply tires with the really wide sidewall and 12" inch rims, and the loose springs and vague steering made this car quite a challenge to drive. The car also has a tendency to oversteer if you move the steering wheel in a wrong way, which is even more present in the van variant, that has stiff rear springs.

Fuel consumption in this vehicle is terrible, period. the 16mpg rating is pretty bad even for a soviet car, considering the fact that this has a 800cc engine making 27 horsepower, and the car weighs just a bit over 600 kilogrammes.



The Van and Wagon variants of the car

The PAZ 8 Van is basically the same car as the 250, except with a tiny engine and a slightly different look to it.
The wagon and van variants also got thicker, 145 tires, to stand the larger load these cars might carry than the sedan with 135 tires.

The fuel consumption was even worse with these cars, as they were heavier, and they had reduced gearbox ratio, so the load they would carry could be moved by the engine alone. This also reduced the cars’ top speed from 124 kilometers per hour to around 110, and the engine is revving really high when it reaches the top speed.

The PAZ 8 never got an “Export” trim level, because the car would be only a placeholder until the PAZ 10 could be produced. The last PAZ 8’s were sold in 1955, and it was never a huge sales success, as the car was known to be unreliable, extremely prone to rust, and borderline dangerous to drive.

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