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This is featured in this month's Octane. I thought it sufficiently interesting to find some pictures and transfer them here.

By way of background, Zil was primarily a truck manufacturer in the days of the USSR but they had a nice sideline in producing presidential limos for senior officials and the like in the days when the west didn't really get much of a look-in. These days your average senior official or oiligarch wants a Benz or a Maybach (or maybe a Range Rover), so Zil is no longer making limos.

They didn't have a fire sale and close though. A bit like Longbridge, one day they just stopped.

The full set are here:

Tamerlane's Thoughts: Incredible pictures of an abandoned ZIL factory





I love the handle for the President to support himself in the ragtop.











 

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super find. Always something eerie - and sad - about abandoned factories, places that once provided bread for families.
 

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Thanks for that Keithyboy! I think it's really a shame that it's closed, I know that motoring and political pundits would have it that anything and everything that came out of Russia in the communist era was garbage, but my experiences of Russian cars leads me to believe that actually they did produce some really good stuff, that had a much higher survivability rating in the wilds of Mother Russia than many an offering from western capitalist manufacturers could just not have equalled.

I have seen for myself, the off road ability of the Lada Niva, I have seen them trounce all the offerings from Landrover in very serious off road conditions, the spring travel on a Niva has to be seen to be believed!:thumbs:

The British motoring press panned the Lada Riva at all and every opportunity, and the British public bought them in droves!:lol:

One has to ask why? I will tell you what I think is the why. Lets take the basic 1200cc Lada Riva as a case in point. Buy a new one, throw away the rusky carburettor, and plonk on a Webber 28/36, take the car to your local Ziebart or other gooey substance applicator and get all it's unmentionables covered in gloop, then what you had for considerably less than an equivalent British built car was summat that would be as reliable as sunrise, and very cheap to run. Lada servicing costs were laughably low, the cost of spares was laughably cheap. The sensible British public very quickly cottoned on to all this, and they sold like hot cakes, much to the consternation of BL and Ford et al.

I live in a working port in Devon, and during the glasnost period it was quite common to see Russian ships coming into port (bulk carriers) with their decks covered in used Ladas of every kind. The local car dealers would line up on the quay any Ladas they could get their hands on, and negotiations would take place, once the clay was loaded on would go the cars, and off they would all go back from whence they came. I had a chat to one of the crew of a ship that came into port and did just as I have described, he told me that such was the demand for cars that they were sold on the dockside as soon as they made home port, many of them to be lovingly nurtured and painted and polished into someones pride and joy. Or broken up for spares, well no, broken is the wrong way to put it, I should say carefully dismantled. spares were at a premium.

This has left me with a problem, I can no longer get hold of a sensibly priced second hand Lada!:rant: They've all gone back to bloody Russia!:lol: I would really like to get my hands on a 1500 Estate car, especially in that nice green colour they did. If I could find one, it would be in the hands of some knob that knows how scarce they are, and wants a fortune for it. Bloody glasnost!:rant:

I don't expect any of you really wanted to know about any of that, but I felt like telling you anyway!:)

BTA, Ray.
 

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My cousin was doing his training to be a master mechanic and his college obtained some new Lada engines to work on . They'd been put in cars which had made it to the English port and left, engines running,to be transported on . But,one by one the engines seized, because they had missed drilling some internal oil channels inside the blocks .
 

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super find. Always something eerie - and sad - about abandoned factories, places that once provided bread for families.
:thumbs:

I really do love to see these kind of pictures, either in period with its black and white buzzing low tech optimism or the slightly melancholy post closure shots.
 

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My cousin was doing his training to be a master mechanic and his college obtained some new Lada engines to work on . They'd been put in cars which had made it to the English port and left, engines running,to be transported on . But,one by one the engines seized, because they had missed drilling some internal oil channels inside the blocks .
Yes I have heard all this and more, none of it is ever substantiated it's only ever anecdotal here say, that is not how these cars were delivered to UK ports. Lada Uk was not some tinpot backwoods hillbilly outfit. You and others may like to sneer at eastern block products and do them down at every opportunity, but these days you just sound silly doing it.:)

The Lada was actually a much better product than the Polski Fiat alternative that was on the market at about the same time, and considering the Ladas Italian heritage, one would think that you might find something nice to say about them.:)
 

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I'm not sneering but sharing an anecdote about Lada which I believe to be true . Without the forces of a market , a product will have different priorities as shown by those gorgeous Zils which were unwanted once imported alternatives became available.
 

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I'm not sneering but sharing an anecdote about Lada which I believe to be true . Without the forces of a market , a product will have different priorities as shown by those gorgeous Zils which were unwanted once imported alternatives became available.
OK, you are not sneering, but your anecdote is still wrong, but you believe it if it makes you happy.:)


Swift edit, I just thought that some of you might find this interesting?-----------------> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8672464.stm
 

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I quite often have a gander for souped up lada when I'm scouring motor Porn.
I can understand why, there have been some lulus over the years, often involving Fiat twin cams.:cool:

They are so easy to work on, especially that little 1200, the pre Riva model with round headlights.

An Alfa twinny in one of those would be a bit awesome, I think fitting a busso would create more problems than it was worth? Anyway, fill yer boots! :)

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Tuned+up+Lada+Cars&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=2O_RU8njIqOb0QXU24C4BQ&ved=0CB8QsAQ&biw=1679&bih=952

BTA, Ray.
 

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Discussion Starter #15

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I think I've still got some tools from the quite remarkably comprehensive kit it came with.
:cheese: Sorry!

Edit: I feel I should excuse my laughter. I once owned a Skoda Estelle 120 in brown and it needed a comprehensive tool kit! This car was a temporary 'stop gap' vehicle so it did it's job...I guess!
 

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:cheese: Sorry!

Edit: I feel I should excuse my laughter. I once owned a Skoda Estelle 120 in brown and it needed a comprehensive tool kit! This car was a temporary 'stop gap' vehicle so it did it's job...I guess!

I once owned a Jaguar and it had a fairly useful tool kit too, but what has that got to do with, or how does it contribute to a discussion about Ladas or Zils?

It may interest you to know, (but I doubt it) that at one time, if you ordered a Rolls Royce touring motor car, to take to foreign climes, it came with a very comprehensive tool kit as well, it was so comprehensive that in the very unlikely event of the car breaking down, a competent chauffeur could repair the car at the road side.

BTA, Ray.
 

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I once owned a Jaguar and it had a fairly useful tool kit too, but what has that got to do with, or how does it contribute to a discussion about Ladas or Zils?

It may interest you to know, (but I doubt it) that at one time, if you ordered a Rolls Royce touring motor car, to take to foreign climes, it came with a very comprehensive tool kit as well, it was so comprehensive that in the very unlikely event of the car breaking down, a competent chauffeur could repair the car at the road side.

BTA, Ray.
Why do you doubt that I'll be interested to know about Rolls Royce?

And how does your Rolls Royce comment contribute to a discussion about Lada's or Zil's?
 

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Why do you doubt that I'll be interested to know about Rolls Royce?

And how does your Rolls Royce comment contribute to a discussion about Lada's or Zil's?
Not much, but you seemed to be amused at the thought that cars should carry a large tool kit.

Which if you think about where the Lada and the Zil were primarily designed to operate, you will realise that it's a very sensible idea.

Of course I could have you all wrong and you were not amused at all but really thought that it was an excellent idea?:)

BTA, Ray.
 

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Not much, but you seemed to be amused at the thought that cars should carry a large tool kit.

Which if you think about where the Lada and the Zil were primarily designed to operate, you will realise that it's a very sensible idea.

Of course I could have you all wrong and you were not amused at all but really thought that it was an excellent idea?:)

BTA, Ray.
I was amused that my Skoda needed a tool kit because it did break down...a lot...and in the UK...not the country it was 'primarily designed to operate' in!

And I too owned a Jaguar (an XJR) which had a 'fairly useful toolkit' but it didn't break down so the toolkit was rendered useless. Excellent idea though because somehow it made the car feel 'special' :)

BTW Just to get the thread back on track (after I so rudely high jacked it), I love the Zil and actually quite fancy owning own, especially the convertible. I think that would be really cool.
 
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