Keywords: ZIL 4104
Description: It's sometime between the mid-1970s and early 1980s and you've found yourself in the USSR. Being the important person you are, you couldn't possibly be seen in a Lada - far too common, a car for the masses. Perhaps a Volga? Getting better, but it still screams "mid-level bureaucrat." There's really only one choice for…
It’s sometime between the mid-1970s and early 1980s and you’ve found yourself in the USSR. Being the important person you are, you couldn’t possibly be seen in a Lada – far too common, a car for the masses. Perhaps a Volga? Getting better, but it still screams “mid-level bureaucrat.” There’s really only one choice for you, then – the ZiL-4104.
Although ZiL was well-known as a manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks, they also built the Soviet Union’s most luxurious vehicles. Over 20 feet long, it seated up to 7 people in Eastern-bloc comfort.
Powered by a 7.7L V8 producing 315hp, it wasn’t short on power, but with that much weight to carry around it couldn’t have been a stellar performer. In fact, Gorbachev’s armored variant of the 4104 was once the heaviest car in the world. Nonetheless, rumour has it that on many main roads in Moscow there was a designated lane to be used only by ZiL limousines – even though production likely never exceeded 50 cars annually.
In 1985, the 4014 was replaced with the updated ZiL-41047 – mechanically identical, but with slightly updated aesthetics.
Production of the 41047 soldiered on until 2002, when the company finally admitted that with the availability of Western brands, nobody in the former USSR was going to want a limousine whose origins can be traced back over 30 years. But answer me this: what has more character – a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, or the epitome of Soviet luxury?
If you want a (big) slice of Cold War-era nostalgia, KSM Auto in Chelyabinsk has a ZiL-4104 for sale for 2.5 million Rubles, or about USD83,000.
Photogallery ZIL 4104:
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