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CROWN OF RUSSIAN AUTO EMPIRE

The car, which by status should be the pinnacle of the domestic automotive industry, did not turn out to be such at close acquaintance …

Yuri NECHETOV

“Nobles lick” - the position obliges. Exactly so - the position of a superpower obliged the Soviet Union to have its own representative cars. Although both the first ZIS-101 and the post-war ZIS-110 were, in fact, copies of American limousines, they proudly carried emblems with red flags. The poverty of the domestic fleet has determined the demand for these powerful and comfortable cars not only in the highest echelons of power, but also in the national economy. The issue of the profitability of their production and operation today seems at least controversial. Be that as it may, these machines were produced in large enough series.

In the 50s-80s, ZIL built annually a dozen or two representative cars for the country's top leadership. With the beginning of the era of reform, circulation began to fall, and by the mid-nineties it was already units. In recent years, production has actually stood up. Not because, however, that the first persons of the state, saving national funds, denied themselves the attributes of prestige, driving around in "old" or lower class cars. Like some European statesmen who calmly go out under the lenses of television and cameras from some Mercedes of the 126th series - the year before last S-class, the 1979 model. Or as the president of France, not shy about arriving at official receptions at Renault Safran, not even formally related to the executive class.

With us, on the contrary: having tasted the "modest charm of the bourgeoisie", the officials quickly moved to Mercedes and Audi. Those who are offended by the power can calm down - the original Russian BMWs “released” in Kaliningrad have already arrived. What unites all these excellent cars is that they are intended primarily for free sale to everyone. From here - and large-scale production, and reasonable cost, and profit used for regular updating of models.

Another thing is ZIL-4104. With the cessation of production in China at the First Automobile Plant of the representative model “Khuntsy” (ЗР, 1993, No. 9) of the 1966 model, ZIL was the only mass-produced passenger car not intended for free sale. With a production volume of a dozen cars a year, an archaic limousine should cost, according to rough estimates, $ 200-300 thousand. Why archaic? Judge for yourself: the frame structure, the dependent spring suspension at the rear, the engine is a gluttonous carburetor mastodon in the best overseas traditions of the 50s and 60s, and a retro-style interior. Yes, and the engine is pretty noisy, but behind, in the holy of holies, the tires and exhaust system are clearly audible. The driver sits in, frankly, not the most comfortable chair, holding on to a huge, but thin and slippery steering wheel. ZIL's reactions are sluggish, slowed down and occur with such a huge delay that they resemble the behavior of an ocean liner, on which the maneuver by evening call at the port begins almost in the morning. So, if such a machine appears on sale today, it is unlikely that there will be many buyers on it.

To develop a new model that can compete with foreign cars, you will need more than one hundred million. Is the prestige fee too high for a country with poor teachers and doctors? And experience suggests that a powerful financial infusion is by no means a guarantee of success: even if you feed the turkey with selected herbs, it is unlikely to sit on peacocks or swans.

However, the question "what to do?" Almost does not arise. The problem of the Russian representative car seems to have resolved itself. The surviving ZILs are used in very solemn occasions (as a rule, in foreign visits of the President of the Russian Federation) and so rarely that the remaining resource will be enough for them until the next "perestroika". Here, the antiquity of the design can not be shy. After all, the Queen of England leaves not only the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow in 1965, but also in the carriage of the beginning of the century. ZIL has turned from a car into a symbol. From the nomenclature astrakhan hat to the crown. And the crown is allowed to be uncomfortable, and heavy, and non-modern - tea, not every day to wear.

ZIS-101, 101A. The first executive car of the Stalin plant. Structurally similar to Buick-Eight Series 90. From 1936 to 1941, 8, 752 units were produced. (ZR, 1984, No. 8).

ZIS-110. It was developed on the basis of the "Packard" of 1941 and the "Buy-Limited-90". In the period from 1945 to 1958, 2089 cars were manufactured, including cabriolet, phaeton, as well as taxi options, ambulances. In addition, about 30 armored limousines were issued, which received their own designation ZIS-115 (ZR, 1984, No. 9).

ZIL-111, ZIL-111G. The third generation of representative cars of the Likhachev plant, produced from 1958 to 1967. Cars of this and all subsequent generations were produced with a circulation of 10–20 cars per year (ZR, 1983, No. 12; 1993, No. 6).

ZIL-114, ZIL-117. The penultimate limousine and a sedan with a shorter base were produced from 1967 to 1977 (ZR, 1993, No. 9).

ZIL-115 (ZIL-4104). Available since 1977 in modifications 41041 - sedan; 41042 - medical wagon; 41044 - two-door convertible; 41047 - a 1985 limousine, the longest production car in the world - no stretch (ЗР, 1983, No. 4; 1993, No. 12; 1999, No. 9).

Our reference

1916–1931 AMO - Automobile Moscow Society.

1931–1956 ZIS - plant named after Stalin.

1956–1992 ZIL - Likhachev Plant.

Since 1992, AMO "ZIL" - Joint-Stock Company Moscow "ZIL". ZIL-41047