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Park It Behind An Iron Curtain: Joe Stalin’s ZIS 110

Alex Kierstein April 28, 2010 All Things Hoon 24 Comments

In Soviet Russia, Stalin drive YOU!

Not Joe Stalin’s Cadillac … Joe Stalin’s ZIS 110.

400 serfs were crushed to make this rug.

Not only that, it comes to the market after a sympathetic restoration (translation – dissenting sheetmetal was banished to Siberia) by Makela Auto Tuning. MAT has apparently harnessed a form of necromancy to resurrect beat-to-hell rally cars from a crush-worthy state to make them good as new. The ZIS came to MAT in pretty good shape, however, but nonetheless a new top and new translucent hood emblems had to be fabricated. They also left an age-appropriate patina, and the finished product looks good enough to rule a country from. Except that according to our favorite lovably hairy minx, Murilee Martin, Joe strongly preferred his ’38 Cadillac when foreign dignitaries weren’t looking on.

Now that the restoration is complete, MAT is selling the ZIS … offers are welcomed, but dissent is heavily punished.

  • I always found it a wonderful irony that the USSR used or copied the designs of the Great Yankee Capitalistic Enemy for their luxury cars. Perhaps copying Rolls Royce or Daimler would have been too close to a royalty approach – after all, Comrade Generalissimo would not have wanted to invite comparisons with the last Tsars, who were relatives of the English royal family. Mercedes-Benz? Copying a German design for the car of state would have been too much for the Russians, especially right after World War II. So America it was, helped by the sale/gift of old Packard tooling.

  • I thought that looked more than a little like a Packard.

  • <img src="http://www.motormuzejs.lv/uploads/80063753dc762d914bc73f229b43fced.jpg"&gt;

    In Riga, Latvia there's car museum which has some soviet and foreign mashinery from Kremlin collection, crashed Rolls with wax-Beshnev and other interesting cars:http://www.motormuzejs.lv/pub/index.php?id=22

  • AteUpWithMotor

    Yes, Packard sold the dies for its pre-Clipper senior cars to the Soviets in 1941. Some stories allege that it was at the request of the Roosevelt administration, but James Arthur Ward says there's no evidence of such a request in Packard's archives.

  • Wow. A floor mat that is actually a rug. Wow.

  • I wonder how many ash trays it has?

    MAT can do no wrong. I am continually amazed at the variety of different projects they work on. Each one is fantastic in one way or another.

  • AteUpWithMotor

    This is still a matter of controversy. The Beverly Rae Kimes-edited history of Packard confirms it, James Arthur Ward questions it, citing a Stuart Bond article in the Cormorant News-Bulletin that asserts that the ZIS could not have been made with the Packard dies. As you point out, it would not have been out of character for the Soviets to simply build a bald-faced copy of an actual Packard.

    I don't think we'll ever know for sure. If Packard did not sell the dies, they were melted down as scrap or rusted away decades ago, and everybody who could confirm or deny it definitively is probably dead by now.

  • bzr

    Hopefully less than Hitler's limo…

    /hellbus

  • I thought it looked quite a bit like a Packard.

  • You do know that Hitler was quite unapologetically a nonsmoker, vegetarian, and all-around asshat, right?

  • smoke_banshee

    And that's not all…Ford's River Rouge plant was considered the height of architecture during the Soviet industrialization. I think it was not so much copying the Capitalists as it was copying the industrial model (though an argument could be made that they were one and the same). Always important to remember that Russia was very much pre-industrial at the time of the revolution – which was a major problem for Lenin as Marxist theory was all based on industrial socio-economics – and raced to industrialize. It was easier, faster and cheaper to copy than design. They even did it with the atomic bomb…made easier by having multiple spies within the Manhattan Project (the multiples made it easy to verify that they weren't getting disinformation).

  • To be fair to our comrades, it seems to me that I read somewhere in my research of ZIS/ZIL cars that Packard actually sold the USSR some body dies and such, so it's no wonder why this one looks like a Packard.

  • Even though the dies-from-Packard story has been floating around for decades, there are now sources which dispute it, including the "Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile". The thought now is that the Soviets reverse-engineered the ZIS from 1940s Packards obtained either as gifts or "liberated" from the US military or diplomatic corps. Just like when Tupolev cloned a B-29 taken by the Russians in 1944 when a US plane in trouble made an emergency landing in Vladivostok.

  • Pretty cool actually. Is it bad that I want this?

  • Restorers found that it was in surprisingly good mechanical condition, probably because the fluids had been purged frequently.

  • with open eyes

    Friends, all this is utter nonsense. Packard could not sell any tools, as company Packard was an assembler to that times and received the complete body from Budd. And kindly note that Stalin never drove in a ZIS convertible but in armored ZIS-115. Thats is the reason why the owner shows to us a picture with Marshal of the Soviet Union Malinowsky but would like to make us believe it is Stalin. As a side note: to drive standing in a car you need an arm to salute and another arm to hold. But Stalins left arm was crippled.
    The offered car was a taxi in Moskow – that's it.

    To learn more —>http://www.Guscha.de

  • Denis

    Gentlemen.

    1942 model year Packards were sent to the USSR in the 1942, that`s all.
    From the beginning, design of the ZIS-110 was done with accounting, that it should have armor version. So, body was done little bigger than Packard. That`s the reason, why ZIS-110 has little bit more "inflated rounded shape" than Packard. Generally, there is no any body panel from the Packard.

    Regarding this car. Its highly doubtfoul, that this car was ever used by Stalin. Most of this cars served as taxis, or (which is more probable, taking into account colour and good shape) ceremonial vehicles. Every military district has 2. Totally there are was 11 districts in ussr.

    And generally, most of the soviet leaders, at least top20 used armoured version ZIS-115
    Here we have small analysis of the Aviation Day opening ceremonies when even 2-nd rank soviet leaders arriving with the armoured cars (either ZIS-115 or Packard)

    I did little analysis, perhaps it is on russian, you can use google thranslate:

    http://community.livejournal.com/oldcars/214013.h

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  • sell scrap iron

    Wow, what a car…
    sell scrap iron

  • We have all witnessed those cute 2 sided fleece blankets that everybody seems to be generating lately. They can be simple to make, simple to individualize right into a poker theme, and better of all warm.

  • JoJo

    Stalin drove in a convertible? ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Before war he drove armored Packards and after the war he drove armored Packardlike ZIS. Where are the pics showing Stalin in an open ZIS? ha ha ha ha How stupid you are!

  • loufalce

    At least the Russians knew a good design when they saw one! Just look at some of the Chaikas from the mid 50s, the Packard influence is undeniable. Also, there was another state limo-sorry the make escapes me, but the front end looks just like a `61 Cadillac. So much for Yankee decadence!

  • eyeball

    Stalin drove ZIS-115 and for sure he never drove in a convertible! And you are again wrong when writing that he preferred a 1938 Cadillac, because he preferred pre-war Packards. And why should he drive in a parade car – when his troops pranced he stand on top of the Kremlin wall. Until 1955 the parade commander rode a horse and Stalin died in 1953. Check PackardInfo.com!

    conclusion #1: You don't have the faintest idea of ZIS cars but published without research.
    conclusion #2: The seller is a trickster.