Russian President Requests The Rebirth Of ZiL

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
russian president requests the rebirth of zil

What is it about former (or ostensible) communist leaders and retro limousines? China’s Hu Jintao got a tip of the hat from us last October for stepping out in style at the country’s National Day celebrations in a retro-fabulous Hongqi HQE. Now, The Guardian reports that

President Dmitry Medvedev has decided to trade in his Mercedes and bring back the ZiL, in what appears to be the latest attempt by Russia’s nostalgic leadership to turn the country into a Soviet theme park. Medvedev has asked aides to examine whether the austere and enduringly sinister limousine can be brought back into production.

And why not? After all, what’s more authentically Russian than being ferried through Red Square in an “enduringly sinister” vehicle made by a company that was at one time known as “Stalin’s Factory”? Is it too soon to ask about American-market availability?

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  • Infinitime Infinitime on May 20, 2010

    Hmmm, should be interesting. Given how the HongQi represented a genuine effort to showcase Chinese-developed technology (i.e. a home-grown V12, retro-chic styling), the ZiL would likely strive to showcase the best that Russia has to offer. Before we get all dismissive about its derivative styling, this is the country that designed some of the impressive fighter jets of the 20th century.

    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on May 21, 2010

      Actually, given that jets are a whole-lot of engineering and little design, while cars (comparatively-speaking) are a whole-lot of design and little engineering ... I'm not sure the knowledge and experience is transferable across segments or through time...

  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on May 21, 2010

    Ahh the ZiL. Different sides of the same coin - much akin to the USA v. USSR debates to the cognoscenti.

  • TonyJZX TonyJZX on May 21, 2010

    this is how i see it if you're a great industrialised nation, YOUR LEADERS SHOULD DRIVE YOUR OWN CARS russia builds her own planes, ships, hell... spacecraft why can't they build decent car? it's is embarrassing for a russian leader to ride around in a german car the car building nations should ride around in their own cars UK = Jaguar XJ V8 Japan = Toyota Crown Century V12 Australia = Holden Caprice V8 Korea = Equus V8 Germany = S600 V12 France/Sweden = Citroen/Peugeot/Volvo

    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on May 21, 2010

      Given that scheme, I don't want to be reincarnated as the leader of Yugoslavia in the 1980's... btw, perhaps this new development in Russia is due to Putin being tired of being made fun of for driving that old and uncool Lada 4x4.

  • Blowfish Blowfish on May 21, 2010

    Is interesting to talk about the Lada 4x4, it was almost equivalent to God send for a few dudes living in the Great White North of Republic of Canuckstan. One guy told me he welded the rear shaft together so is like a locked up limited slip differential. He could go travel to any God forsaken logging road to hunt or prospecting etc and back with no issues. I talked to a few owners of these 4x4 Ladas , they were highly praised, except the Russian tin worm do get overly active, and the importer just folded one by one over 10 yrs ago. If the Rusky Generale had not shot down the Korean Jet in 82, the Ladas would have sold more then, is not a great car but the price was affordable, sadly the crazy Generale just one too many Vodkas pressed the red button too soon, took down ~300 innocent lives. I am sure if he could go back in time he would have not pressed the button.