I have a sort of tradition here where, every Thanksgiving, I like to feature a car from Turkey, in honor of the ugly bird we like to kill and eat this time of year. A couple of years ago, I wrote about the first Turkish sports car, the Anadol STC-16. This time, I want to talk about the second Turkish sportscar, the Etox Zafer.
The Etox Zafer (that means Victory in Turkish) has a pretty good origin story. The founder of the company, Ertex Malkoç, owned a successful company that made interior parts for minibuses. Malkoç was at an auto show, and wanted to see a Ferrari up close, and maybe even have a seat in it.
The Ferrari employees at the stand forbade Malkoç from getting close to the car, telling him that was only for VIPs. Malkoç (possibly while clenching his fists and staring, squint-eyed, into the distance) said, “At that moment I swore to build my own car.”
Some articles suggest the car in question was a Lamborghini, which is ironic, considering this story is oddly similar to how Lamborghini was started. Either way, Etox was started as a way of showing all those snobby bastards.
The Zafer was given the green light for production from the Turkish government in 2007. The resulting car is quite striking-looking, resembling a TVR from the front, and maybe there’s a bit of Supra or Aston Martin, even, in profile. It’s got some very nice proportions, I think, and has a good, taut, athletic look.
Interestingly, you can get a Zafer powered by engines from Renault, BMW, and Volvo. The the first two engines are both diesels, a 125 horsepower 1.5-liter Renault, a 225 HP BMW 3.0-liter, and, surprisingly, the hot engine is the Volvo, a 272 HP one. It looks like some unspecified 450 HP engine is available as well? Whatever you pick, the power gets to the rear wheels only, via a five-speed ‘box.
I love the idea of a little diesel sportscar like this. In it’s base, 125 HP form, it sort of reminds me of a modern Karmann-Ghia, in concept: economy car guts wearing sportscar skin.
The engine variety also allows the car to be more accessible to a greater number of people, which I’m all for as well. It looks like the range of prices is from around $40,000 to $80,000, which is a pretty significant spread.
I think you can still get one, at least in Turkey, and from their website, it looks like the company also produces a handsome four-door sedan and some sort of Suzuki Swift-looking economy car. The website is also notable for having some of the worst Photoshop-the-car-into-a-scene jobs I’ve seen in a very long time:
Wow, that’s shitty.
Still, I like the Zafer, and I think if you had one in the U.S. it would be great; you could show up to a Cars & Coffee and everyone would think you spent a ton of time and money building one of those fake cars from Grand Theft Auto or some random car insurance ad. That’s the kind of attention that makes it all worth it.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.