Tuesday, 14 February 2012

ZiL: on the factory floor

If you've heard of ZiL at all, it's probably as a manufacturer of Russian trucks and buses. But did you know that they also hand-build limousines for the Russian government?
I say 'build'... they stopped mass-production in 1999 (although, being hand-crafted and bespoke, it was never 'mass-production' per se); in the Soviet era ZiL were building around 25 limos a year, but a regime shift to Mercedes in 2000 saw the company cease operations in that sector. However, the factory doors were re-opened in 2007 for the rebuilding and restoration of their former output: limos with bullet-holes, or maybe just in need of a refresh, are made as good as new by workers who've been involved in the company for their whole working lives.

Powered by 315bhp 7.7-litre V8s, their performance is decadent on a Western scale, mirrored by the opulence of the interior appointments - you can call the ZiL a Soviet Rolls-Royce with a straight face. Looks kind of like a Mercedes Pullman too, if you squint a bit...
More here.

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