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.
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 Raw21.com and it’s great news to hear. Let’s check out the photos and story that he shared.
Mike Motorov’s Raw21.com
But this is already interesting: the self-made car of Arkady Babich “Leningrad” built in 1953 was restored and received Latvian numbers.
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).
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:
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:
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…
The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.