Kremlin Orders Famed Zil Limousine to Begin Production
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered officials to explore the feasibility of producing the Zil limousine, one of the most powerful symbols of the former Soviet Union. The order has prompted speculation that Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are considering trading their Mercedes S-class stretch limos for something more uniquely Russian. Officials at the Moscow factory that once produced the Zil acknowledged that they had received detailed specifications from the Russian government outlining what they want and need in the new limousines if production can begin again.
Viktor Khrekov, a spokesman for Russia’s presidential administration, told reporters that the Kremlin wants a new limo to be created “in the best traditions of Soviet limousine building.” While few details about the proposed presidential limo were provided, Khrekov admitted the new Zil would feature a V8 engine and would be capable of reaching speeds of at least 130 mph.
If Zil can produce new limos that meet government criteria, the Russian government plans to have all cabinet-level ministers transported in the new limousines. The black and boxy original Zils were common sights on Moscow streets before the formation of the Russian Federation. Having one’s own Zil and driver was a symbol of power, privilege and influence in the former Soviet Union.
Zil is the common name for Zavod imeni Likhachova, (literally, “Factory named after Likhachov”). For decades, Zil has manufactured trucks, heavy equipment, armored cars, buses, armored personnel carriers and other military vehicles. It also made hand-built limousines in very low numbers for select government officials. Limo production halted after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it is popular belief that Russian officials favored limos made by Mercedes and other foreign manufacturers as a symbol of breaking away from the Soviet past. As Zil has not produced a new limo in years, they have a tall task ahead of them to design, retool and build new armored luxury vehicles from scratch. There have been rumors that Zil is talking to Porsche and a specialty carmaker in Italy about the possibility of collaboration on the new limos.
Here at NLS Limo, we’re crazy about vehicles in general and limousines in particular, and we are watching developments in this story with interest. Zils have a very distinctive look unlike any other luxury automobile, and while we would love to offer one to our guests, it simply is not practical. The costs of sourcing and receiving replacement parts make owning one impractical, but we would love to see Zil begin making limos again. We may not have any Zils in our fleet of luxury vehicles, but we have plenty of other options! The next time you’re looking for an antique car, limo, party van, classic car, SUV limo or other luxury transportation in the Bay Area, call us at 1-800-339-8936 and ask about availability. Don’t delay! As we are San Francisco’s premier limo service, many of our most popular limos are booked months in advance!