The leader of what used to be the Soviet Union has been riding around in a limousine from a Russian company for many years. ZiL has produced the limo for the Russian president for many years but now the company has gone under and is no more. ZiL is an acronym for Zavod imeni Likhachova which means Plant named for Likhochov. This is a manufacturer you know but you don’t know you know them. They have been building vehicles for over 100 years and you’ve seen their trucks in many of the movies that depict cold war Russia.
The factory began as AMO in 1916 and was building Fiat trucks under a license that allowed it to. Once Stalin came to power the factory was renamed ZiS which was Stalin instead of Likhochov. The factory was renamed once Stalin was dead in order to help the world forget about him, which of course, has never happened.
The best truck ever built from this factory was the ZiL 131 but those looking for luxury had to turn to the cars from this company. With that in mind, here are some of the vehicles that were made from ZiL over the years.
ZiS-101 – Starting in 1935 this vehicle was one that offered a western feel with a straight eight-cylinder engine and a coupe and cabriolet body. This vehicle was also used as an ambulance at times and was Stalin’s choice during the war. The ZiS-101 offered seven seats and ninety horsepower.
ZiL-111 – This vehicle started out with the appearance of a Packard and ended up with the look of the Cadillac Fleetwood by 1962. Starting in 1958, this vehicle came with a Russian made 6.0-liter V8 engine that could make 200 horsepower that was sent to the rear wheels while using a two-speed automatic transmission. This was an admirable vehicle that Fidel Castor had as a convertible version to ride around in throughout Cuba.
ZiL-114 – With the look of a Chrysler Imperial this is a car that was heavy and wide, which is what the Soviets wanted. This car offered up a massive 7.0-liter pushrod V8 engine that was attached to a three-speed automatic transmission while also offering power steering, power windows and a central locking mechanism and was one of the most advanced cars in 1964. The next model, the ZiL-115 was the same and began in 1972 with a 7.7-liter V8 for more power.
ZiL-4104 – Starting in 1978 the cars of the dignitaries from ZiL began to appear more modern. This car offered the same massive engine as the previous model but came in with 315 horsepower and 448 lb.-ft. of torque. There were only 106 of these built during the five years of production but many are still in operation.
ZiL-41047 – In 1985 the car received a style upgrade and continued to be produced in limited numbers until 2002. These are the car that are still being used in Russia. This was also the time that ZiL announced it was done building cars and turned its entire focus to building trucks instead. This production is also done as of December 21, 2016 as the company is now closed for good.