ex East German President Honecker Limousine,1985 ZIL 115 Limousine  Chassis no. 174 Engine no. 174

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Lot 188
ex East German President Honecker Limousine, 1985 ZIL 115 Limousine
Chassis no. 174 Engine no. 174

Sold for € 80,500 (US$ 89,234) inc. premium
ex East German President Honecker Limousine
1985 ZIL 115 Limousine
Chassis no. 174
Engine no. 174


  • This gargantuan ZIL 115 Limousine was previously owned by the former Government of the DDR (East Germany) and used solely for state business by its last President, the late Erich Honecker. The Zil was used to collect and chauffeur other heads of state, and it is intriguing to speculate on what momentous decisions might have been made in this car, and their influence on world history.
    Known as the ZIS (Zavod Imieni Stalina) until after Stalin’s death, when it was renamed ZIL (Zavod Imieni Likhacheva) after former plant director Ivan Likhacheva, this was the Soviet Union’s sole luxury car. Built in Moscow, these hand-made limousines were extremely expensive and produced in strictly limited numbers; not available for general sale, they were reserved for Soviet officials and the Heads of State of friendly governments, mostly within the Eastern Block countries. Mikhail Gorbachev, architect of ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ and the first and last head-of-state President of the Soviet Union, traveled by ZIL 115.
    The ZIL 115 is approximately 21ft long and over 7ft wide. It weighs 3.5 tons and is powered by a 7.6-litre V8 engine that consumes fuel at a (claimed) rate of approximately 16 miles per gallon, not that its previous owners would have been the least bit concerned about the latter. The fuel tank holds 27 gallons. Accommodation for seven persons is provided, with two seats to the front compartment and five to the rear, two of the latter being ‘occasional’.
    This ZIL 115 was purchased from the VEB Transport und Service im Dienstleistungskombinat beim Ministerrat der DDR, an East German Government Department in charge of servicing all the official state vehicles. However, only the President enjoyed the privilege of travelling in a ZIL, all the other officials had to make do with lesser vehicles. The first ZIL 115 to be sold to a private individual in the West, it was acquired directly from VEB in 1990 by the immediately preceding owner in the UK and comes with his letter (dated 22nd September 1990) to the current owner outlining its history and provenance. VEB’s bill of sale also is included with the car.
    The ZIL limousine has all the usual attributes that one would expect from a car of this class, and is comparable with the equivalent Rolls-Royce. The finish is particularly outstanding and indicative of what the Eastern Block could achieve when in pursuit of top quality. Noteworthy features include separate air conditioning for front/rear compartments boasting extraction via the doors and normal/‘Arctic’ settings, the later astonishingly effective! The seats are electrically adjustable and the car retains its original inspection lamp that plugs into the cigar-lighter socket. Opening the bonnet reveals that the braking, cooling and electrical systems are duplicated, as in military vehicles.
    However, some of the more unusual features relate directly to its previous role; for example, the built-in siren, flashing lights and electronically controlled between-compartments division which, when raised, makes the passenger cabin virtually soundproof, the noise of the engine being hardly perceptible. It is interesting to note that the previous owner was told by the East German vendors that the car is bullet proof! Presented in totally original condition and with a mere 6,500 kilometres recorded from new, this fine example of a Soviet leviathan rarely seen in the West is offered with its original pennants, period documents and UK Swansea V5 registration document.

    Cette immense limousine ZIL 115, qui fut à l'origine la propriété du gouvernement de l'ancienne République démocratique allemande, ne servit qu'à des tâches gouvernementales avec le dernier président de la RDA, Erich Honecker. Elle a été acquise auprès du VEB Transport und Service im Dienstleistungskombinat beim Ministerrat der DDR, le service gouvernemental est-allemand chargé de l'entretien des véhicules officiels. Première ZIL 115 vendue à un particulier à l'Ouest, elle fut acquise directement du VEB en 1990 par son premier propriétaire résidant au Royaume-Uni et elle est accompagnée de sa lettre en date du 22 Septembre 1990 adressée au propriétaire actuel et relatant son historique et sa provenance. La facture du VEB est jointe.

    La limousine ZIL possède tous les attributs qu'on est en droit d'attendre d'une voiture de cette classe et que l'on peut comparer à une Rolls-Royce équivalente. La peinture est particulièrement remarquable et révélatrice de ce que l'Europe de l'est pouvait réaliser quand elle voulait atteindre la meilleure qualité. Les caractéristiques les plus notables comprennent les systèmes d'air conditionné séparés pour l'avant et l'arrière avec extracteurs dans les portes et réglage à deux positions normal et arctique, ce dernier étant particulièrement efficace ! Les sièges sont à réglage électrique et la voiture possède toujours sa lampe baladeuse qui se branche sur l'allume-cigare. L'ouverture du capot révèle que les systèmes de freinage, de refroidissement et électrique sont doublés comme sur les véhicules militaires.

    Certains équipements inhabituels sont directement liés à son rôle antérieur : par exemple, la sirène, les lampes clignotantes et la division intérieure séparant les compartiments qui, une fois fermée, insonorise l'arrière, le bruit du moteur devenant pratiquement inaudible. Il est intéressant de noter que les vendeurs est-allemands de la voiture précisèrent à l'acheteur que la voiture était blindée ! Présentée dans son réel état d'origine à tous points de vue et affichant seulement 6 500 km au compteur depuis sa mise en service, ce bel exemple de léviathan soviétique rarement vu en Occident est offert avec ses fanions originaux, ses documents d'époque et un titre d'immatriculation V5 de Swansea (Royaume-Uni). Une occasion rarissime, quasiment unique, d’acquérir une de ces emblématiques limousines de l’Est à la finition absolument irréprochable et dotée d’un véritable historique présidentiel.
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