Auction of Soviet leaders' limos fails to find first gear
Saturday 15 April 2006
But an auction of luxury Communist-era limousines used by the Soviet Union's most powerful men has failed to attract a single bid. In a sign that tastes have changed and that there is a limited appetite for Soviet nostalgia, luxury vehicles used by both men remained unwanted after a high-profile sale organised by Sotheby's in Moscow.
Buyers had the chance to purchase an armour-plated Zil limousine used by Mr Gorbachev, the USSR's last president, and Russia's first post-Soviet president, Boris Yeltsin. One of only 13 of its kind ever made, the auction catalogue sang its praises. "This vehicle is one of the most secure cars in the world," it gushed.
"It is based on an armoured capsule with a car built around it. Its chassis makes it impossible to turn the vehicle over by an explosion and its armour ... makes it a true masterpiece of armoured cars."
But, despite the fact that the imposing car boasted official documents from the Kremlin proving its authenticity, its starting price of$450,000 (£257,000) proved too much.
An immaculate 1973 Nissan limousine that belonged to the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev also failed to attract a single spark of interest. The car was a gift from a Japanese minister, who apparently spied for the KGB. Priced at $145,000, the car's current owner, Boris Lakhmetkin, said it still carried the odour of Brezhnev's favourite tobacco. He said he couldn't understand why nobody had made an offer on it. "I am very surprised ... [But] there's no antique car culture in Russia. They just like showing off."
His theory appeared borne out by the auction. Buyers were less reticent when it came to snapping up cases of rare wines and whiskies - and Bentleys.
- 1 Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...