MOSCOW — Unveiled this week as the President's new vehicle, the retro-looking car has been suitably revamped to include the high-tech devices of the 21st century.
"We tried to preserve the historic features of what was the country's number one car while giving it all the advantages of a contemporary vehicle,” said a spokeswoman for the ZiL company.
The new ZiL-4112P, which was six years in development, was commissioned by Putin at a time when he was trying to encourage domestic manufacturing. But with growing opposition to his third presidency the danger is that the vehicle will make him look rather retro himself.
Designed for nostalgia on the outside, the limo is the last word in comfort on the inside, with leather seats and a work table. It also has a flat screen linked to a video camera that will allow Putin to see what is going on outside while riding with the curtains drawn.
Past Kremlin leaders, from Leonid Brezhnev to Boris Yeltsin, all rode in black ZiLs produced by a giant factory that also turned out lorries and fridges. Mikhail Gorbachev even had his ZiL transported by plane on a visit to Washington. But as the Russian auto industry declined, the Kremlin looked to Germany, and Putin began his rule in 2000 riding in a Mercedes-Benz.
The new ZiL is a prototype and must be armoured before President Putin can use it. It has a 7.7-litre engine and six-speed automatic transmission and is said to have economical fuel consumption, unlike the gas-guzzling models of the Soviet era.
ZiL limousine article here
Source: The Australian