29 October 2011

Ever-Nostalgic Kremlin Leadership Looking to Bring Back Soviet Era with 2012 ZiL Limo?

ZiL 114 series

Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev had commented earlier this year that he'd be more than happy to trade in his Mercedes official car for a real Russian ride, if an appropriately upscale limo could be sourced from within the country. Not willing to wait for such a new car to utilize in Putin's revivalist Red Square military processions, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov can already be found saluting chins-in-the-air Russian troops from the back a fully-restored cca 1975 ZiL open parade car.

While only economy types are produced in Russia (Lada) these days, the USSR had indeed built various tiers of (mediocre) sedans for it's ranks of Communist Party apparatchiks and other privileged officials up until the 90s -i.e. the Volvo-esque Volga and more upscale GAZ ChaikaBut above them all stood the huge, eight-cylinder ZiL stretch-limo, always the very top-of-the-line... primarily for Kremlin officials and at the time a prestigious symbol of Soviet power the world-over. 

Yet as with most things in today's Russia, Prime Minister Medvedev is not the driving force (sorry) behind a reported new Russian luxury-car initiative: it all started with an official "presidential order" to explore bringing back a modernized version of the ZiL limo- that means from Putin. Since he's already restored the Soviet national anthem, that shouldn't really surprise anyone (although the Russian president is said to have acquired a personal taste for German engineering back in his days as a Dresden KGB operative).

A member of Putin's staff revealed that a 2012 ZiL limo proposal was simply "being discussed" with ZiL management ('Zavod imeni Likhachova') back in May. The company currently produces only commerical vehicles/trucks (interestingly, there's still the old-style limo on the company website.)

ZiL 41047

Russian news service RIA Novosti reported last year that the City of Moscow (majority stakeholder in ZiL) was working with Germany's Porsche in a collaborative effort to develop world-class 2012 ZiL commerical vehilcles, ones with export potential outside the Russian Federation- seems like a natural partnership for development of the sedans as well, then.

ZiL factory entrance - Moscow

Below is the most recent Russian styling proposal for the new car, and while they're trying to remain faithful to the original theme, to my eyes it came out kind of silly- and dated. 
It's a bit like one of those hyper-weird Chinese show cars that come across as a parody of a limo and really not very handsome, kind of contrived and the proportions are awkward (widened Rolls?) imho:

More quality Russian-made product -here-

2012 ZiL,xxx  Limo