USSR Car: 1980 SMZ S-3D

Here’s yet another Soviet-era car and… wait, what? This 1980 SMZ S-3D is highly unusual, to say the least. It’s also a fairly rare car and if you’re like me which, for the love of Mike, your friends and family hope that you’re not, you like unusual vehicles. This boxy, breadline brute is listed on eBay in Riga, Latvia on the UK eBay site with an asking price of £750 ($915, or, €859), in case the next buyer isn’t in Great Britain. Thanks to George G. for sending in this unusual find!

On May 1st last year I wrote about a similar car by the same seller, they must be collectors or they have a good source for these cars. I inquired about purchasing the previous one but it was already sold, and then there’s the shipping from Latvia to the Midwest-US; probably not for the faint of heart. This example seems to be done up in sort of a Latvian Halloween theme, which is strange because they don’t typically celebrate Halloween in Latvia. If it were just orange or just black it would look much nicer, in my opinion. Some would say that there isn’t a paint scheme that could make these cars look nice, but I like them! This car has no rust, according to the seller, but does have a few dings and dents from normal usage. The SMZ was manufactured by Serpukhov Motor Works, or Серпуховский Мотозавод for you Russian language scholars. They were given to folks with physical disabilities for free or at a huge discount and were traded in every five years for a new one.

Ah, this teal color is much better! I would definitely do a nut-and-bolt restoration on this car back to the original color. And, after taking the seats out and tossing them away, I’d tackle the rust on the floors which there has to be. These cars didn’t have any floor pedals, they were made for folks with physical challenges who couldn’t operate foot pedals. The dash is about as simple as it gets. These cars really have a cool, utilitarian look to them when, which is exactly what they were, basic machines to help folks who couldn’t get around otherwise.

This Russian-made IZH-P3-01 motorcycle engine with 346cc and 28 hp runs but will need a new battery. The seller had to buy five vehicles in a lot to get a motorcycle that he wanted and this is one of the extra vehicles. This car is really pushing the boundaries of even the best of us oddball vehicle lovers. But, I haven’t been able to get them out of my mind since last May 1st, which is the first time I’ve ever heard of them. Thanks again to George G. for tracking down this highly-unusual arm/hand-operated car!


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  1. Dovi65

    It’s little more than a riding lawn mower with a cabin! Thankfully [for me] it’s too far away, and too $$$ to bring over

    • Ed P

      What size mowing deck came with this?

  2. Dairymen

    You don’t know if you’re coming or going in this rig!

  3. JW

    A Halloween clown car where all the clowns happen to be Jason / Freddie / Michael. Most likely taking a swipe at you if you laugh at their ride.

  4. jbh110tdi

    wasn’t the last one that was up in the UK?

  5. Bobsmyuncle

    Wow, how intriguing is that pedal-less steering wheel set up?! That’s a first for me!

  6. Per Member

    No thanks.I think the engine are from a ural mc.

  7. Bill

    Mr Incredible called, he wants it back…

  8. gene

    When I was little , a guy in the neighborhood had one.
    The guy was missing his legs. The car as I remember was a nasty loud and slow little thing. It was like riding a lawnmower. Although at the time I didn’t know there
    were such a thing as a lawnmower.
    I also remember he spend a lot of time tinkering with it.
    This was in the late 70s.

  9. Dan

    What would you do once you got where you were going? No place for a wheelchair.

    • gene

      Back then in USSR wheelchairs didn’t exist or at least I don’t remember ever seeing one.

    • Gerald

      It’s so damned small you could just drive it into the store.

  10. rustylink

    In Soviet Union – Freezer drive you…

  11. JMB#7

    This would look much better with some Г-н Прокладка traction bars on it.

  12. Dustin

    Cool little car. Would DEFINITELY return it to turquoise.

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