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Manufacturer Zavod Imeni Likhacheva
  • 1978–1985
  • no production figures
Body and chassis
Class Luxury car
Layout FR layout
Engine 7.7L ZIL-4104 V8
  • 2-speed automatic (1978-1983)
  • 3-speed automatic (1984-1985)
Predecessor ZIL-114
Successor ZIL-41041/ZIL-41047

The ZIL-4104 was a limousine built from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, when it served as the transport of the elite of the Soviet Union. It is estimated that no more than fifty cars were produced each year.

Originally designated ZiL-115,[1] the ZIL-4104 was an update of the ZIL-114 with which it shared the same chassis and over half its mechanical components.[2] There was considerable restyling and the car was rather more streamlined than the 114, notably in the rear vision mirrors which in the 114 were of a very old style. The rear window, however, became less curved and more boxy in accordance with then-prevalent European practice. Despite sharing the same chassis, the ZIL-4104 was still as much as 200 kg (441 lb) heavier than the 114.

Mechanically, the ZIL-4104 also improved on the 114. The pushrod V8 engine of the 114 had its stroke increased from 95 mm (3.7 in) to 105 mm (4.1 in). With a 108 mm (4.3 in) bore, this meant the capacity increased from 6,959 cc (424.7 cu in) to 7,695 cc (469.6 cu in),[3] which was throughout the model's lifespan one of the world's biggest passenger-car engines (Cadillac offered a 500 cu in (8,200 cc) engine). This engine developed 315 hp (235 kW; 319 PS) at 4,500 revs per minute and a substantial 608 N·m (448 lb·ft) at 2500 rpm.[4] Weighing in at 3,600 kg (7,900 lb), and measuring 6,330 mm (249 in) long, 2,068 mm (81.4 in) wide, and 1,500 mm (59 in) high, it needed it.[5]

Among its special features were special laminated windscreen and triple-layered windows, supposedly offering protection from radiation in case of nuclear attack, plus duplicated systems, including dual ignition, two 74-amp batteries in parallel, and two fuel pumps.[6]

The console and dash were covered with Karelian birch 10 mm (0.39 in) thick, and the rear seat controlled radio (a Riga receiver), power windows, heater, and air conditioner; in the console in front was a Vilma cassette player.[7]

The fuel tank was 120 L (32 US gal; 26 imp gal) and the car used 95 octane petrol, getting 22 L/100 km (11 mpg-US; 13 mpg-imp).[8]

By 1984, a new three-speed automatic transmission had replaced the much outdated two-speed type that had been used by ZIL dating back to the first ZIL-111 in 1958.

The ZiL-4104s were "built under conditions of strict secrecy" and were "maintained in closed garages by a special division of the KGB", with everyone involved in building and servicing them sworn to secrecy.[9]


  • ZIL-4104: Base model. Also known as ZIL-115; produced 1977-1983.
  • ZIL-4105: Armored version of 4104.
  • ZIL-41042: Ambulance version. Also known as ZIL-115A.
  • ZIL-41043: As 41042 except with communications equipment.
  • ZIL-41044: Short wheelbase convertible version.
  • ZIL-41045: Upgraded ZIL-4104. Produced 1983-1985.
  • ZIL-41046: Radio car version.
  • ZIL-41051: Armored version of 41045.

ZIL-41044 and ZIL-41042[edit]

In the later years of the 4104 production run, ZIL introduced two derived models based on the 4104 chassis and the shortened ZIL-117 chassis not previously used with the 7.7 litre engine.

  • The 41044 was a shorter-wheelbase convertible. Unlike previous ZIL convertibles, it had only two doors but otherwise it was typically ZIL [1].
  • The 41042 was the only station wagon ever produced by ZIL, but the few examples built were mainly used as hearses for important people in the Soviet Union [2].


  1. ^ Thompson, Andy. Cars of the Soviet Union (Haynes Publishing, Somerset, UK, 2008), p.218.
  2. ^ Thompson, p.218.
  3. ^ Thompson, pp.217 & 219.
  4. ^ Thompson, p.219.
  5. ^ Thompson, p.219.
  6. ^ Thompson, pp.219-220.
  7. ^ Thompson, p.220.
  8. ^ Thompson, p.219.
  9. ^ Thompson, p.220.


  • Thompson, Andy. Cars of the Soviet Union. Somerset, UK: Haynes Publishing, 2008.