The ZIL-111V convertible in which Yuri Gagarin made his triumphant passage through the streets of Moscow on April 14, 1961, two days after his historic flight, will be auctioned next Saturday with a starting price of 2.9 million Dollars.
In perfect condition, the car is one of the twelve of that model that was manufactured in the Soviet Union exclusively for the greatest occasions, as was the tremendous reception Moscow gave to the first man who traveled to space.
Gagarin toured in the convertible, turquoise, adorned with garlands of flowers and two Soviet flags, the 30 kilometers that separate the airport of Vnukovo and the Kremlin, greeted in the streets by a crowd celebrating their feat jubilantly.
The first cosmonaut made the entire journey standing in the car, flanked by his wife, Valentina, and then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, to receive the largest bath of crowds Moscow has seen.
A POWERFUL INDIVIDUAL MANUFACTURING
The ZIL-111V, inspired by the American Caribbean Card, equipped with an 8,900 cc V-cylinder engine, weighing 2.6 tons, develops a maximum speed of 170 kilometers per hour.
This Soviet convertible was manufactured, individually, between 1960 and 1962 and differed from the Pacard by having four doors instead of two, and its greater capacity, for up to seven passengers.
According to the Litfund auction house, Khrushchev gave one of these convertibles to Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Erich Honneker, who was the top leader of the missing German Democratic Republic, and had at least one of them in his garages.
The ZIL-111V that goes on auction was manufactured in 1960 and four years later it was sent to Yerevan, the capital of the then Socialist Republic of Armenia, to receive the visit of Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahleví.
FORGOT IN ARMENIA
“I bought it there, in Armenia, in 2005. It had been stored in a state garage for more than 40 years,” said Efe Andrei Kovaliov, the car owner, who did not reveal the price he paid for this collection jewel.
“All of its parts are original, including the tires. It’s like new,” says its owner, who in the spring and summer occasionally goes for a ride in the car through Zhúkovka, a town on the outskirts of Moscow with one of the largest numbers of millionaires per square kilometer in the territory of Russia.
He adds that every exit in the convertible causes admiration among pedestrians.
“When I go for a walk, everyone turns to look at the car. They take hold of their cell phones and start taking pictures,” he says with a smile.
Kovaliov, who says he is retired when asked about his activity, stores his convertible with several high-end cars in an underground garage with a hydraulic lift.
ANOTHER AUTOMOTIVE JEWEL
Together with the ZIL-111V, about twenty collector cars will be auctioned, including a Hispano-Suiza Ballot HS 26 “Junior”, from 1931, the fourth car – for its chassis number – of the 124 that were manufactured of that model, used by kings and personalities like Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and André Citroen, among others.
The exit price of the Hispano-Suiza, which was found in Belgium and later acquired by a Russian citizen, was set at $ 499,000.
The only Hispano-Suiza that was in the Soviet Union was at the service of the village commissioner (minister) of Communications Viacheslav Menzhinski (1874-1934).
The auction will take place next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. local time (4:00 p.m. GMT) at the Kristall factory museum and will be held in person, although it can also be bid online. .