What’s better than a one-way ticket to the Gulag? Although it would never win any prizes for design, performance and certainly not build quality, the 1956 ZIL 114 was certainly better than digging trenches for the glory of the Motherland! Seriously, the ZIL replaced the ZIS in 1956, as the vehicle of choice of party officials and other important persons in Soviet Russia and throughout the Soviet Bloc. They were nothing to write home about from our point of view, but for ordinary Russians they must have seemed like ultimate luxury. Originally, it featured such options as power steering and power windows, and over the years, air conditioning and disc brakes (only in front) became available.
The first versions of the ZIL 114 were equipped with a 220 horsepower V8 which, by all accounts wasn’t that bad. Later models came with a 7-liter V8 which was claimed to develop 300 horsepower. Of course, like everything else that Communists say, it must be taken with a mountain-sized grain of salt.
The fastest, most powerful ZIL 114 were supposedly capable of reaching 118 mph, but no acceleration figures are available. They probably figured there was no whopper they could make up that people were going to swallow. In any case, the 1956 ZIL 114 survived with only minor changes until 1987. Its principal claim to fame was to have been so much better than Ladas. Way to go, ZIL 114!