Wierd, freaky, wacky, and downright crazy cars of the past
A dictator can do a lot of things that we normal folk couldn't even dream about. Joseph Stalin not only had a car built to his own specifications, but he even had it named after him! the Zis was short for Zavod Imeni Stalino; or 'Plant Named After Stalin'. Wow.
A major drawback of being a dictator is that a lot of people may feel, for one reason or another, pretty aggrieved by you and determined to get revenge. Stalin had no intention of being assassinated so although this car was not exactly the type of high-tech fantasy that James Bond would swan around in it was still about as safe as 1946 Russian technology could make it.
This was one very big heavy car; armour plating was fitted and the glass 3 was inches thick, which could stop a bullet and even protect the occupants against the explosion of grenades. The passenger compartment was completely isolated from the driver's, just in case he was crazy enough to attempt to harm Uncle Joe. The windows were so heavy that rather than just wind them down for some fresh air they had to be raised and lowered hydraulically!
The design of the car was based upon the American Packard luxury car; Stalin had in fact been given a Packard 180 in 1942 by President Roosevelt. Whether or not Packard licensed the Russians to copy their car or not has never been revealed. However the standard rear axle was not up to carry this much weight, so a truck one was substituted; the tyres had to be considerably upgraded and to propel it to a great deal of power was necessary and so a six litre straight eight cylinder engine generating 160 brake horsepower was fitted. Even one as massive as this though had difficulty with the more than 4 tonnes weight of the car so the maximum speed was round about 85 mph.
It is believed that between 30 and 40 of these leviathans were made and used by Russian leaders and other senior communists such as Tito and Ho Chi Minh.