29 ZiL Limo Manufacture

ZiL Limo Manufacture

Posted on February 13, 2012 by

ZiL is a major Russian truck and heavy equipment manufacturer, which also produced armored cars for most Soviet leaders, as well as buses, armored fighting vehicles, and aerosani. The company also produces hand-built limousines and high-end luxury sedans in extremely low quantities, primarily for the Russian government. ZiL passenger cars are priced at the equivalent of models from Maybach and Rolls-Royce, but are largely unknown outside the CIS and production rarely exceeds a dozen cars per year.

Let’s visit its limousine production department and find out what their secret and plans for the future are.

They stopped their limo mass production in 1999. Actually, they never put their limos into mass production because each car is individual and handmade. In the Soviet time, they would produce about 25 limos a year. However, in the early 2000s there was no necessity to produce these cars anymore because government officials switched to the Mercedes. They resumed the work in 2007 and now they manufacture and repair their old or damaged models.

“Be careful while working!”

So, how and who they assemble their limos for?

Hand assembling.

Right now, this old limo with bullet holes on the windows is being repaired. After the reconstruction, it is going to look just like new.

Most of the limos by ZiL can be found in private collections. They are really very valuable because each limo is handmade and unique.

ZiL limos are equipped with 8-cylinder 7.7 l 315 hp engines! Their fuel consumption is 30 to 40 l for 100 km; maximum speed is claimed to be 200 km/h. It’s almost a sports car which costs ZiL from 100 to 150 thousand dollars to produce (each). They sell their limos for about 250 thousand dollars which is obviously overpriced.

In 2010, they assembled four limos for the parade which was to take place on Red Square on May, 9th. However, Ministry of Defense canceled its order and exposed other cars instead.

One of the four limos has been sold to a collector from Ukraine. They are estimated at 360,000 dollars.


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29 Responses to “ZiL Limo Manufacture”

  1. Paul Neumann says:

    A handmade and bulletproof car which costs 250 000 dollars is definitely not overpriced.

    • PKN says:

      If they have bulletholes as is implied in the post than they are not bulletproof. simple as that.

      • Yorkshire says:

        The bullets don’t just bounce off you know, the force has to be dispersed somewhere.

        • cokoll says:

          and armor is always below the outer hull – it is simply extremely expensive to make curved car body panels from thick armor plates. so there will be visible damage from shooting anyway, even if the bullets did not penetrate the interior

  2. Bear says:

    The most important question. Does it have an 8-track player?

    Seriously? that much for that ugly thing?

    • West-Europe says:

      Instead of plastics (used abundantly in American cars), other materials are used for the cars. Making them more pricey.

      But yeah, some people want quality, other people want a plastic cheap car.

  3. Osip says:

    I would like to know the story for the car with the bullet holes.

  4. Steamed McQueen says:

    I always found it curious that virtually all modern Russian government officials use the Mercedes. Exactly what message does this send to the Russian people?

    Often I encounter the attitude among Russians that ‘anything Russian is good, anything not Russian is not good’. Yet time and again I see that anyone who can afford it doesn’t want to buy or own a Russian anything.

    Ah, Russia: Ever the contradiction.

    • West-Europe says:

      Mercedes is a better driving car, more quality. If you can pay for it, you buy better quality (which in most cases isnt made in Russia). Because Russians are generally not very wealthy, they just stick to the cheaper Russians goods and claim they bought it out of patriottism.

      And Russia isnt communistic anymore so government officials are able to buy Mercedes cars, its not that they have to show undecadency anymore.

  5. dasfasdf says:


  6. cro says:

    Nice cars.. do they come with a golden AK-47 under the seats as a standard equipment or it is optional?

  7. guest says:

    “30 l to 40 l for 100 km”

    Who would buy such gas-guzzling monsters, should a “mass production” ever take place?

  8. Mariel says:

    And for the common people?? what? Komunalkas?

  9. Nick a says:

    These are cool and have charm in their own…Russian way but the quality and design looks like something that would rival mid1980s American luxury barges. Not exactly world class luxury yet alone something that would rival maybach or rolls Royce.

    • cokoll says:

      they were a direct counterpart to 80s americans luxury barges. place one on Broadway parking lot in 1985 – and now one will guess its not an american car. All the design features are identical. straight lines, liveaxle, automatic gearbox with giant pushroad v8, lots of chrome. May be just a tiny little bit more elegant view.

  10. RichardDS says:

    The car sells for $250,000 and the average worker there is paid $800 per month. maybe it is time to organize a labor union.

    • PKN says:

      they have 175 workers that collect an average of 800usd, that comes down to an average of 140.000USD a month, or 1.680.000USD for all salaries. they make/restore a few cars a year, lets say ten, that’s 2.500.000USD, gross profit of say 800.000USD, minus expenses nets the facory 400.000USD. divide that among shareholders and see what is left.

    • cokoll says:

      they sell 1-5 cars in a year…

  11. CZenda says:

    Economically unviable. Russian mafiosi/government do not want the outdated junk and there is no export potential.

  12. RP says:

    There’s huge number of sketches for new ZIL limousine. It bound to happen with all the opportunistic money and pride in Russia.
    For example Slava Saakyan design studio made a ZIL concept proposition…

  13. Chad says:

    I think it is good that these craftsmen are still working and building these fine cars.

  14. javox says:

    i just read that putin is goin to put 2.500 dollars to re activate this factory and he is gonna make all goverment to start drivin russian cars again….

  15. cokoll says:

    non russian. he spoke “prodused in russia” And BMW has a factory in russia… actually they already purchased a bunch of BMW 735li

  16. pop says:

    I wanted to see Putin’s ZIL Slava Saakyan.

  17. Douglas says:

    Russian rulers should drive Russian limos.!!!

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