From (Stalinist) Russia, With Love
Looking for a vintage car with historical provenance and a piece of Cold War memorabilia? Look no further than ZIS – a 1949 ZIS 110, that is. From 1950 until 1953, this Soviet speedster served as the personal parade car of General Joseph Stalin.
Pirated from Packard’s 180 sedan (but with a dash of ’48 Chrysler added to the front fenders), this 110 served as Stalin’s chariot for three years, and may be a great example of Joe’s love for the Packard. Legend has it that in friendlier times, U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt handed Stalin a 1942 Packard Super Eight as a gift. While no one knows for certain, that car – and perhaps Stalin’s love for it – led ZIS to copy the newer 180.
Few Communist knockoffs actually look attractive, but in a strange way, the 110 isn’t half bad. The Russians left enough of the Packard’s design intact, while the modernized fenders and rear deck give the car a unique but unassuming look. The six-liter straight-six, another close knockoff of a Packard design, develops approximately 140 horsepower – respectable for an early Russian clone.
This car, chassis 1018, was restored by Finnish restoration specialist Makela Auto Tuning – although with only 1276 kilometers (793 miles) on the clock, it’s still young at heart. MAT currently has the ZIS up for sale, along with a few Ferraris and an ex-Shah Maserati Ghibli. The ZIS’ price tag is unknown, but you know what they say, comrade: If you have to ask…