Shif Custom will build you the motorcycle of your dreams in Belarus. Judging by the shop’s completed projects, the artists there are quite adept at custom metal work. I particularly like the Ducati Bastardo and Shif Planeta Sport completed projects. The shop doesn’t look to build cars all that often, but when they do, they go all out. That is no more clear than the fact that the shop smushed a ZAZ 968 body onto a 986-generation Porsche Boxster. And made it work.
The Zaporozhets were a series of Soviet superminis built as the Eastern corollary to the Volkswagen Beetle or the English Mini. They were built as people’s cars in various shapes. The ZAZ 968 was a rear engine coupe with the bulging rounded scoops on the side to provide cooling air to the engine. As a result it was given the nickname “big ears” or ushastyi. It’s a charming little car, and by all accounts unremarkable to drive. It was basic transport for a populous that was allowed nothing more than basic transport.
If you had your heart set on a ZAZ 968, and wanted one that drove particularly well, you would basically have to go back to the drawing board and start over. That’s what Shif Custom and designer/owner Yuri Shifa did in creating this car. The 986 Boxster is among the best handling driver’s cars, and it’s not particularly interesting to look at, so this new body might be an improvement. Because it’s part Porsche and part ZAZ, I think I’ll call it the P’ZAZ from now on.
It’s easy to tell that the car is 3.2-liter Boxster S based, because the windshield, door mirrors, top, and interior remain standard Porsche. From the front or the back, however, it looks pretty true to the ZAZ body, albeit a customized one.
There is apparently an old wives’ tale in the former Soviet that says the USSR contracted with Porsche for the design of the ZAZ, and that it has some Porsche history in its origins. I can’t find any proof that such a thing happened, though Porsche has always been willing to contract design for hire. Who knows?
“This is really a Porsche Boxter S, and we tried not to spoil it,” says Shifa. “The platform is saved entirely. We just completed a small restyling of the body.”
It’s a strange one, but I find myself liking this weird thing. I have a tattered 986 Boxster track car in my garage right now, perhaps I should contact Shif Custom for a new body. It looks awfully good on a set of steel wheels and winter tires.
In addition to the video below, there are a ton of excellent detailed photographs at auto.onliner.by, which did a full profile on this car. Of course, I can’t make heads or tails of the Cyrillic, so Google Translate stepped in to do some heavy lifting here. It’s a cool project and worth checking out.