According to an approximate statistic, in Pskov, Russia, every second inhabitant owns a car, which in this small medium-sized city (200 thousand inhabitants) sometimes creates traffic jams and difficulties. At the end of the 1980s, the solution was perhaps found.
This micro-car was designed in two months, in 1989, by the Research and Production Union “Hydroimpuls”, at the request of the Ministry of Territorial Development of the USSR to transport its specialists. Valentin Marilov, Yuri Kholmov, Vladimir Ulasovets, Anatoly Andreev and Stanislav Ilin participated in the design of this small angular car.
They not only created a car with the funny name of Peppi (the Russian name for the character Fifi Longstocking), but also developed a plan for its mass production for the city’s inhabitants (since they also planned a version for disabled people).
The Peppi was a two-seater car with the possibility of installing a child seat. The body had 3 doors: at the rear, the tailgate allowed access to the engine and to load some luggage.
The engine was located at the rear and the car was also a rear-wheel drive. In its design, the Peppi used many parts from various Soviet cars and motorcycles: the seats came from the AZLK 2141, the windshield from a RAF minibus, the steering wheel from a Lada, the dashboard and heater from the ZAZ-968, the engine and gearbox from an IZH Planeta-3 motorcycle.
The car was light: it weighed half of the usual weight in this category – only 350 kg. It was estimated that after five years, the annual production would be 10,000 copies and its selling price would be a little over 2,000 rubles. By comparison, Oka, which was considered cheap, cost more than 4,000 rubles.
In 1990, the Peppi was exhibited at the VDNKh in Moscow, which made it a star. Despite its great interest, the project did not materialize because at that time in this planned economy, the Ministry of Spatial Planning and the Ministry of Automobile Industry had very little to do with each other.
“Hydroimpuls”, however, gained notoriety, later changed its name to “Pskovavto” and began to produce GAZelle buses. The Peppi remained in the prototype stage.