According , Russia's presidential limo development running under the 'Project Kortezh' codename has just passed its crash tests, meaning it might make its official debut as early as May. Far from Moscow's Rolls-Royce dealers, we presume.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Lenin used as many as eight Rolls-Royces, including one with a half-track. Stalin started out with 1937 Packard Super 12, but then pushed for a locally made armored limo, making his crew create the ZIS-110 by reverse engineering various Packards. Many black Zils followed over the next four decades, but the fall of the Soviet Union led Russia switch to Mercedes-Benz in 1991.
Now, that trend is turning, as Russia is once again creating its own presidential state car, which could spawn a wide family of locally made SUVs, trucks and luxury vehicles.
Vladimir Putin's new luxury limousine has been co-developed with Porsche and Bosch by Moscow-based Central Scientific Research Automobile & Engine Institute (NAMI). It features a V8 that seems to be a 4.4-liter version of Porsche's old 4.6-liter, but turbocharged. Claimed figures include 592 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, while the transmission is said to be a Russian-developed nine-speed auto. NAMI is also working on its own 6.6-liter V12.
Up until now, Putin's official ride has been a BMW, but the Federal Security Service responsible for his transportation has already received 14 new Kortezh limos for evaluation. Which, to be clear, aren't made by Rolls-Royce.