1956 Leningrad Sport Car is now Restored

1956 Leningrad Sport Car is the  only one legendary corvette even the Russians had.Little is known about the distinctive Russian automobile whose designer’s last name is Babich and which is forever etched in automotive history.

Chevrolet unveiled the storied Corvette in the United States in 1953. The same vehicle was on the road in Leningrad three years later. It wasn’t, however, created by a Russian automaker. Arkady Dmitrijevic Babi, an automobile enthusiast and designer, was solely responsible for it.

Photos before the restoration of 1956 Leningrad Sport Car

The vehicle had no native motor and looked like this prior to restoration. It was sold at a price that was unusually high for such a state for a long period prior to the restoration.

A Lithuanian enthusiast has restored a handcrafted Soviet convertible that achieved global recognition 62 years ago as a result of an unprofessional photograph taken by an American tourist in the USSR. Sixty years after John Schultz captured the color image of the rediscovered “Leningrad,” Arunas Rachelis acquired the remarkable car’s fragments and restored them.

Arkady Babich, an engineer, constructed the two-seat convertible before 1956. Even against the backdrop of the opulent American vehicles of the time, the 1956 Leningrad Sport looks remarkable with its low body, bulging fenders, plenty of chrome, and two-tone paint, and the construction quality is comparable to factory production.

Babich used parts and assemblies from the 1949–1957 large six-seater ZIM (GAZ-12) car in its production. 3.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine with three-speed transmission and 90 horsepower.

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According to “Za Rulom” magazine in 1959, engineer Babich traveled 2,125 kilometers from Simferopol to Leningrad in 20 hours using a homemade vehicle. Newsreels from that era show that the convertible had a top speed of 180 km/h.

Photos after the restoration of 1956 Leningrad Sport Car

The “Leningrad” vanished in the 1960s, but its remnants were rediscovered and placed up for sale in 2014. They were purchased by Arunas Rachelis, who spent the years that followed of his life restoring the exceptional.

The “most beautiful Soviet automobile” has been meticulously restored to its pristine condition today. The achievement is credited to both Arunas Rachelis and John Schultz, who captured “Leningrad” in color for the first time in the 1950s.

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