This Zastava 750 Is A Charming And Exemplary Micro Car Amalgamation
Photography by Milos Nikodijevic
Story by Dean Dekki
As a little intro before getting into my particular customized car—which has been modified with parts from a number of vehicles—I need to first give a brief history of the model as a whole. The Zastava 750 was a car that can be said to have motorized Yugoslavia. In a way, it was our Model T. The 3.3 meter-long Fiat-based microcar had been used for everything back then; couples took their kids to vacations in summer, after having built their family house using the 750 to transport all the construction materials back and forth. There were so many around, that it’s no wonder that many of the owners wanted to make their cars special to stand out from the rest, as they did in Italy with over 300 versions of this little car being produced.
The spectrum of mods was very wide, from a simple swapping out of the gear knob, to some quite expensive and significant changes to the motors and other mechanicals. As you can see in the photos of my Zastava, it is one of the least “base model” examples of a 750 on the road today; it’s car full of fuoriserie parts from Fiat 600 derivates, Pininfarina, Frua, Viotii, Ghia, the names go on. And while it is changed from stock, 80% of the car is comprised of NOS parts that I’ve patiently collected over the last 10 years. Painted in ordinary acrylic paint, it has not once been polished since the 1200 man hours spent on the comprehensive restoration. I can confidently say that there are none like it anywhere! To preserve the condition of the car, it is rarely driven, usually transported instead by enclosed trailer when it is not being stored in a heated garage. After all, there are more ways than one to enjoy a car.
When I began the project, I knew that I wanted to go a bit further in my vision for the perfect Zastava. In doing so, I strove to collect as many of the rarest parts as possible to make the car a combination of the best of everything—I wanted my car to be exactly as I wanted, with the mixture of components reflecting all the different variants and options available. Parts that carried the names of companies that were engaged in creating some of the most famed Italian designs of the era. It was a long road to get to the point where it is now, one that involved countless trips visiting swap meets all around Italy for years. Collecting pieces from Pininfarina,Viotti, Zagato, Vignale, Brunsing, has been a long but fun journey, and all the parts have contributed their own flavor to the end result Apart from the seats, steering wheel, original bolts, radio, engine, wheels, and tachometer, all parts used to build this car were NOS: the brakes, chrome, suspension, all rubber, glass, electrical systems, cooling, transmission, etc., all NOS. That did not mean they were flawless though, as some required quite a lot of attention and detailing to clean off the years before being installed on the car.
As I mentioned earlier, the car has been finished in traditional acrylic enamel single-stage paint, as opposed to the time-saving base plus clear coat treatment. Not one square inch of this Zastava’s new paint has been polished—the gloss color is the exclusive result of around 700 hours’ worth of body work. All together, around 1200 hours have been invested to make it as it is, with no detail left untouched. This long-planned project to create a car as a moving display of unusual and rare parts without sacrificing any of it’s Italian elegance is one that I am proud to have completed. Completed is not wholly accurate though, as I am constantly updating the build with newly purchased rare Fiat 600 parts as I come across them. Some are being prepared as I write this!