SMZ cycle-car

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S-3D (green car), S-3A (blue car) and Ural motorcycle.
1967 S-3A-M
S-3D Cycle-car seen in Tiraspol (2006)

The SMZ cycle car was a Soviet microcar, manufactured in Serpukhov, Russia by Serpukhov Motor Works (Russian: Серпуховский Мотозавод, Serpukhovskiy Motozavod), now SeAZ. The most common models were the S-3A (S-Three-A) and S-3D (S-Three-D). They were specially designed for disabled drivers and were distributed in the USSR for free or at a large discounts through the Soviet Union's social welfare system, and were not officially sold to non-disabled people.

The S-3A-M was produced between 1958 and 1970. It was powered by a 346 cc single-cylinder two-stroke engine giving 10 hp (7 kW) and a top speed of 55 km/h (34 mph).

S-3D, produced between 1970 and 1997, was a twin-seat 4-wheeled cycle-car, 2.6 metres (102.4 in) in length, but rather heavy (~500 kg) due to all-steel body. It was powered by IZH-P3 air-cooled two-stroke engine (18 DIN hp).

In the USSR they were commonly known as "motor-wheelchairs" (or invalidka in Russian), because they were only leased via social care system to disabled people for 5 years without permission to sell, just like the British Invacars, made by AC, Thundersley and Tippen. After 5 years of use, a lessee had to return his "motor-wheelchair" to social care organisations, and was given a new one.

However, unlike the Invacars, not all of the "invalidkas" were scrapped, because some of their disabled lessees managed to register them as their private property. However, nowadays they are rare, and earlier models are exceptionally rare and became a collector's item.

Since the 1980s the use of SMZ cars has been in decline, because disabled drivers preferred to use conventional cars with modified controls – Zaporozhets for instance, or later VAZ 1111 "Oka", which were distributed among them with substantial discounts. However, last 300 S-3Ds left the SeAZ as late as in the autumn of 1997.

S-3D's production was discontinued without direct replacement. VAZ 1111 "Oka", used for the same purposes later, was a much larger, 4-seat car.

S-3D specifications[edit]

  • Weight – 454 kg (1,001 lb)
  • Dimensions – 2595 mm (length) x 1380 mm (width) x 1350 mm (height)
  • Track width – 1,114 mm (43.9 in)
  • Wheelbase – 1,700 mm (66.9 in)
  • Min turning radius – 3,8 – 4,2 m
  • Max velocity – 70 km/h (43 mph)
  • Fuel consumption – 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres (40 mpg-imp; 34 mpg-US)
  • Engine – IZH-P3-01, located in the rear
    • cylinder – 346 cc, 72 mm (2.8 in) in diameter
    • piston stroke – 85 mm (3.3 in)
    • max power – 18 hp (13 kW)
    • compression index – 7,5–8
  • four-stage gearbox

SMZ in culture[edit]

  • S-3A featured in Leonid Gaidai film Operation Y and Other Shurik's Adventures. Though officially S-3As were distributed among disabled people only, in this film such vehicle belonged to a large and quite robust-looking individual (shown in the picture), who was able to lift his "invalidka" from the road with his bare hands, and used to disobey traffic rules, which created the comic effect.

External links[edit]

Welfare cars[edit]