Now, the city government has ordered AMO ZIL to clear the area for a new residential quarter; the car plant stopped production.
AMO ZIL has experienced several name changes: it was founded as the Automotive Moscow Company (AMO); then, in 1931, it changed its name to the Stalin's Plant (ZIS); and finally, in 1956, the name was changed again to the Likhachev's Plant (ZIL), after its former director Ivan Likhachov.
Here is a review of legendary models produced by the Russian manufacturer.
The AMO-F-15 was the first Soviet truck ever built. Serial production of the truck started in November 1924. It was actually a copy of the Italian Fiat F-15, collected from the components sent from Italy.
The production of ZIS-5 (AMO-5) trucks, which was nicknamed by drivers as "Zahar" or "Zakhar Ivanovich," began in 1933. The output of this model amounted to nearly 1 million. ZIS-5s were exported to Spain, Turkey and Bulgaria. During World War II the truck became one of the main and most common transport vehicles used by the Red Army.
AMO ZIL is also known for manufacturing official state cars. In November 1936, the company produced the very first domestic limousine the ZIS-101. It was created on the basis of the American Buick. Later that same year, the plant released the modified car version the ZIS-101L (Lux) — the only exemplar which had a phone.
The latest version of a Soviet ZIL limousine was the ZIL-41047, designed in 1985. The vehicle's length was 6 meters. The limos were designed to serve the members of the Russian Politburo meetings and foreign delegations, so the model was produced in limited series up to 20 pieces per year. The last vehicle of this type was released specially for the President of Kazakhstan in 2002.
This model was also produced in a shortened version, as well as in armored modification.
Work on the creation of this new generation truck began in 1937, but its serial production began only 10 years after. Over 770 thousand cars were sold since then. The model has gone through several stages of modernization and, apart from Russia, was built in Romania and China.
In Romania, the truck was released as the SR-101 by Steagul Rosu plant. Their Chinese triplet received the name of Jiefang CA-10, which means "Liberation," and has been in production in Changchun City since 1956. This model was even depicted on the Chinese banknotes.
World's Most Common Truck
The ZIL-130 truck, which was commercially produced from 1964 to 1995, found 3.4 million customers. The ZIL-130 became the most common truck in the world.
Engineers equipped it with a gasoline engine model of government limousines. The ZIL-130 could carry up to 5 tons of cargo. For the first time in the USSR the vehicle was equipped with power steering, a three-seater cabin, windshield washer and starting preheater.
In late 1994, the automaker began producing the ZIL-5301 Bull. The first light truck capable of carrying up to 3 tons was based on Renault models.
The Bull received its name due to its specific appearance and its industry index by mistake. The model's index was supposed to be 3301 to correspond to its low-tonnage class. However, a certificate for the car issued in the Ministry of Automobile Industry had a typo, and when the error was discovered six months after that, it was already too late to correct it. The 5301 index was introduced in all the technical documentation, and it would have been too long and expensive to fix the error.
The Blue Bird
In 1954, the AMO ZIL opened the Special Design Bureau to create experimental models of cars, all-terrain and armored vehicles. The complex 490 called the Blue Bird was designed and built there in the period from 1980 to 1991, in a limited edition of 20 pieces in total.
The Blue Bird was commissioned by the lead Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev for astronaut search and rescue operations should they land in an inaccessible locations.
The complex consists of three air-transportable amphibious cars: the ZIL-4906, a truck with an open deck and a crane for transportation of landers; the ZIL-49061, a passenger vehicle with a closed cabin; and the ZIL-2906, a small screw-driven craft that can pass through the snow and marsh.
The company also produced buses, armored personnel carriers, amphibious trucks, refrigerators, bicycles, and even casted bells.