Escape from Ukraine with 53 hp ZAZ Tavria

Escape from Ukraine with 53 hp ZAZ Tavria


He didn’t really wash it. Most of the home soil is attached to a small blue car, mud pits and bumpers. Oleksandr Bilyi traveled 2250 kilometers from Ukraine to Germany in his ZAZ Tavria. They fled the war, like many these weeks.

Many arrive by train or bus, some by modern western cars. And ZAZ, very few. It was originally built by Ukrainian car manufacturer Saporisky Avtomobilebudivny Zavod, from 1987 to 2007.

The gas cover disappeared along the way. Pragmatic replacement: thermos bottle cap.


On March 1 Oleksandr leaves. His watch reads before 12 o’clock, but in fact it is already after twelve o’clock. His hometown of Vinnytsia is located 260 miles southwest of Kyiv. The rockets landed there on the very first day of the war. The 71-year-old man taking with him from his condom are a few pieces of clothing and a half-finished model boat.

“I would like to finish building a ship made of wood,” the retired engineer says. He has food for several days with her, for himself and his cat, which accompanies him. It also puts homemade cherry jam on the stem. “They should not fall into the hands of the Russians,” says Oleksandr with a smile.

His daughter, who has lived in Winsen / Luhe (Lower Saxony) for many years, is coordinating his escape. The border crossings to Poland are very crowded. So he sends him to Romania first. Then turn to Hungary. Oleksandr roars on the battlefield in his 53 hp car. Again and again he has to stop because there is an air raid alarm. Then he stands on the right side of the road. And just stay. “Where could I run?” he asks.

“I was driving my car on a slippery slope. The board went up on the roof, crawling on the trunk,” says Oleksandr.


There are barriers everywhere, it is about 700 kilometers to the border. He immediately needs more than 30 liters of gasoline per 120 kilometers because everything takes longer. In Ukraine it still fills up with 92 octane oil, its ZAZ is frugal.

“I was not allowed to drive at night because the lights had to be turned off,” says Oleksandr. When he stops at the hotel, the staff reject him. It is an order not to go outside. So he sleeps in the car. His chairs don’t even have headrests. “There are holes for him, but the car was released without it at the time.”

In 2002 he bought the car for $ 2400. A new Ukrainian-made car. He often ran it only to his dacha and lake. “Using the waves, I fastened a board to the roof, and pushed the long haul into the car with the rear seat folded down.” Oleksandr smiles again. She speaks Russian, mother tongue – and a few German words. “I learned from German slide magazines.”

Like the Lada Niva, the spare wheel is also under the ZAZ helmet. It opens at the front.


Oleksandr is patriotic, but running ZAZ has nothing to do with it. Instead with its financial possibilities. “I get about 70 euros in pensions per month.” Spare parts were available, new and used, on the market in its hometown. He made small things himself.
“I also bought a used Audi 100 here in Germany in 1997. But it was too expensive for me to maintain.”
So now he runs ZAZ. A car that clearly shows how closely the Russians and Ukrainians were connected. “Sufficient spare parts from Lada,” says Oleksandr. And while the model is being offered in Germany for a short time, Lada is also taking over the distribution. Yes, the company was founded in 1863 in the German-speaking village of Schönwiese and German-Russian. “Everything is connected, why did the Russians attack us?” says Oleksandr.

He is happy to finally be in Germany. “At the time, we practiced going to the shelter during the airstrikes. But it was still about the Americans as invaders.”

Three fingers is a symbol of freedom for Ukrainians.


Oleksandr currently lives with his daughter (46) and granddaughter (9). “I didn’t think he could get this far in his old car,” says his daughter Kateryna. But a little miracle worked. ZAZ held on. Now Oleksandr hopes that one day he will be able to return home. His loyal partner, ZAZ, should find his favored oil in Germany.

He is looking for a collector. Submission is done against tenders, Ukrainian can use every euro well.

Description: ZAZ-1102 TAVRIA NOVA

Engine: cylinder four, v. width, 1093 cm3
Performance: 39 kW (53 hp)
Torque: 80.5 Nm / 3000 min.
Drive: Front gear box / 5-speed
L / W / H: 3708/1554 / 1410mm
lose weight: 1190kg
0-100km / hour: 16.2s
Higher speed: 145km / h



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