I was never very good about following my parents' advice to not talk to strangers. Thus it was no surprise that I began chatting with a guy with a middle-European accent (IIRC he was from the Ukraine) at the Petersen Automotive Museum a few months ago. We got talking about cars and he mentioned that he'd recently found a Zaz somewhere in the former Soviet bloc and had brought it over to the USA. It turns out that he'd driven it to the Petersen and since I'd never actually seen one of these, he was kind enough to let me take a look at it and get some photos.
These things are small! Production began in 1960 and it's got a four cylinder rear-mounted engine. It seats four people (it doesn't look as if it'd be particularly comfortable though) and it seems to have been a very popular car, with some 3,422,444 of them being produced before Zaz moved on to another model.
Note the suicide doors and the air intake vents on the rear panel of the car. It's not unlike Fiats of that era, only funkier!
The interior is pretty basic. Not much safety gear other than the seatbelts,but at least the fabric on the seats and on the rest of the interior matches.
The engine appears to have received a lot of attention. Nice and clean. I didn't hear it start up but it's probbly not the sort of rumble that sets off car alarms as it passes by.
The gas tank and spare tire are in the front of the car.
I could find very little info (in English at least) about these cars, but the Wikipedia Zaz entry is a good place to start if you'd like to know more. This isn't exactly a supercar or anything, but it was fun having the chance to get a closeup look at one. I like that the owner was as proud of his new possession as if it were a Pagani Zonda - his family obviously wanted to go home but he took the time to show me this car that's unusual, even by Los Angeles standards.