The 1956 Leningrad Now Restored – Rare Russian Sport Custom Car

Here’s How The 1956 Leningrad Looks Today – It’s Great To See This Car Restored

Hi Gang…

Back in early 2014, good friend Arunas Racelis shared a story with me from his AllCarIndex about a Russian Sport Custom.  That’s an amazing find since this type of car was rarely seen outside of the United States let alone found in Russia.  Typically, the larger/longer wheelbase “American Boulevard Cruiser” type of car was unique in America.  Elsewhere across the world cars were almost always smaller. 

Not in this case, and its great to see such a large “Russian Boulevard Cruiser” driving across Leningrad with Russian lettering near the front grille.  I think you’ll like today’s story and photos.  Let’s see what Arunas had to say about this special car back in 2014.  Take it away Arunas 🙂

The 1956 Leningrad Sport Custom
Builder: Arkadij Dmitrievich Babich
By: Arunas Racelis – AllCarIndex (publish date 2014)

This adorable two-seater sportscar is a one-of-a-kind home-made example made sometime in 1956 (or perhaps 1959..) by a citizen of Russian city Leningrad (now known as Saint-Petersburg) – Arkadij Dmitrievich Babich. Being his second or even third (according to different sources) self-built car, the Leningrad was powered by a rather powerful 3.5-liter 90hp GAZ-12 engine.

It is said that his previous car utilized a V2 engine taken from some motorcycle, while the Leningrad was able to hit a top speed on 130 km/h! It took approximately three years for A. Babich to scratch-build this marvelous automobile which he later used to travel a 2125 km distance from Simferopol, Crimea to Leningrad in 20 hours. This creator was also involved in a development of tubular frame for a racing car KVN-2500S (-2500!) driven by V. Kosenkov and A. Silantev.

In addition to those few surviving photographs, please enjoy the attached period video showcasing the Leningrad in motion!  Leningrad has survived until our days, but now it not in the best shape..

Arunas shared three photos and a video in that story.  And as he mentioned above, the Leningrad survived up thru 2014 but was in disrepair and needing restoration.  Check out the video and photos below.

The designer and builder of the car, Arkadij Dmitrievich Babich, is shown in the car and inset in photo.

Vintage Photo From the Late 1950s: The Leningrad on the streets of Russia in 1956. What a sight this much have been to behold.

This photo was shared by Arunas in 2014 showing that the Leningrad thankfully survived but was in disrepair. Actually it looked like someone was in the process of restoring the car and stopped and we hoped for the best back then. But today….we got the best news of all.  Check out the story below.

Great News!  The Leningrad Has Been Restored

We just learned earlier this month (and it’s only May 6th, 2020) that the Leningrad has been restored.  The announcement was posted in Russia on the Mike Motorov’s website and it’s great news to hear.  Let’s check out the photos and story that he shared.

Leningrad Restored
Mike Motorov’s

But this is already interesting: the self-made car of Arkady Babich “Leningrad” built in 1953 was restored and received Latvian numbers.

Historical photo: John Schulz, 1958

A large double convertible was built for three years, the designer equipped it with an engine from ZIM – 3.5 liters and 90 horsepower, thanks to which the car developed 180 km / h.  Once Arkady Babich covered on it the distance from Simferopol to Leningrad in 20 hours (2120 km).

Here’s the car before the restoration and did not have a native motor. Before restoration, it was sold at a rather high price for such a condition for a long time.


Thanks again to Arunas for sharing this story with us.  You can visit his his website and his original story by clicking on the following links:

Click Here To Read About the 1956 Leningrad First Posted By Arunas in 2014

Click Here To Visit the Home Page of the AllCarIndex Created and Maintained by Arunas

And we greatly appreciate Mike Motorov and his Raw21 website for updating us on the restoration of the Leningrade.  You can visit the link below to view Mike’s original posting on May 3, 2020 announcing the Leningrad has been restored:

Leningrad Restored: Reported by

Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…

The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.



The 1956 Leningrad Now Restored – Rare Russian Sport Custom Car — 4 Comments

  1. These look like two different cars to me.
    The doors are entirely different.
    In the original car, the doors start behind the windscreen and extend to the start of the rear fin.
    On the wreck and the new car, the door hinges in front of the windscreen to finish well before the rear fin sweeps up. There is a separate panel there not in the old photo.

    I suspect there is a third car (including the mark1 v2 motored one), the one in the old photographs, waiting to be discovered

    • The windshield is also different, being a split windshield with chrome uprights and no top rail in the original and restored photos.

  2. That is an incredible car. I love the discipline to restore this back to the original conception, and colors. Great story!

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