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Abandoned Zil Industrial Complex


There are abandoned car factories all over the world but the Zil Industrial area stands out because the Zil Automobile factory, closed in 1999 and is now maintained like a museum. The factory was reopened in 2007 to repair older limos and build about 5 to 7 cars a year. It was founded in 1918 and once employed 80,000 people in nine factories and covers about 640 acres in southeastern Moscow. Most of the buildings are in a state of decay, but one area seems to be perfectly preserved. Photos of this factory have been floating around for a while and you can see more pictures of the place on urban-decay , EnglishRussia and karakullake. There was a major fire in another area of the complex back in July but it did not damage this particular factory.

stamp mills

The assembly lines, machinery and stamp mills all sit idle. It still looks like it did on the last day of work and appears to be ready to go back to building cars at any moment.


There are a number of partially assembled cars still sitting on the assembly line, waiting for the day they will be finished, a day that will never come. This really is an incredible sight, but at the same time it seems like a strange waste of equipment and space. So do you think this factory will ever see use again?


  1. skloon

    Wild, I see Zil was yet to discover the assembly line

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  2. Chris

    It would be fascinating to see how they built cars. Especially the machines tools.

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  3. hhaleblian

    First we get moose, then we get squirrel.

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    • Amicus

      “moose/squirrel”–best segue in a comments I have read in years. But it is showing our age.

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      • hhaleblian

        Thank you comrad

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      • A.J.

        Agreed. That was funny.

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  4. Dolphin Member

    I wonder how Vlad feels about this. Not a good advertisement for their industrial might.

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  5. Mark S

    In 2008 I bought a brand new Ural Patrol they were WW2 BMW clones that are sold in the US and canada to name a few. You can go to you tube and watch the bikes being built by hand. They use a work force of about 2500 peaple to build about 800 sidecar bikes a year every thing is hand machined, welded and assembled. Quit interesting to watch. I drove it for 22000 km replaced all three tires twice replaced the starter, alt bearings, and the crank sensor. I was for ever tightening bolts and even rear did some welds. No wounder russian factories site idle

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  6. Chris

    They were basically a third world country that happened to have a space program.

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    • tirefriar

      Interesting, thought Chris. I wonder who gave them that program? Oh, wait it was no one and they were the first ones to put the man into space – that is something that will remain in history forever!

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      • Chris

        moon landing.

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      • Tirefriar

        Oh, so now you are competing with what you just perceived to be a third world country? Hmmm

        Just kidding…couldn’t help myself

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  7. DREW V.

    Of course this plant will be put back into use… Our lame Duck President Odumf&k has let the “Evil Empire” come back from the brink of annihilation into a force to be reckoned with. Now they have a leader who will not acquiesce to the demands of the West… It is far better to have a Lion in charge of an Army of Lambs than to have a Lamb in charge of an Army of Lions… Will this plant be put back in service??? Of course it will, only this time it will not produce Limos, it will retool to produce fuselages for fighter and bomber aircraft, nose cones for ICBM missiles, receivers for AK-74 rifles, engines for tanks and other armored vehicles etc, etc, etc…

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    • Tom

      Sir, I’m afraid we’ll have to ask you to please step away from the internet.

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    • Jason

      “Our lame Duck President Odumf&k”

      Screw off, troll.

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      • Matt Tritt

        No kidding. How did that jerk find it’s way to this place, I wonder???

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  8. Karl

    Will this factory ever be used again? Only if it’s gutted to the outer walls. Now that the Russian power elites have had their taste of top-end BMW, Audis, and Mercedes, they’re not going back to these cranky relics. All these machine tools are good for is to be melted down to make better machine tools–or washing machines.
    The Russians have always had their issues with homegrown auto manufacturing. In the ’30s Henry Ford set up an assembly line to build Model A cars and Model AA trucks, and the GAZ AA was used by the Red Army throughout WW2. After that, they used Lend-Lease Studebaker 2-1/2 ton trucks for years–the trucks pulling the latest weapons in the postwar May Day parades were often Studes. And then in the ’70s Mack helped them set up the Kama River plant to build modern trucks. Fiat also had a large hand in helping them build modern small cars–when you have to call in Fiat to troubleshoot, you’re in trouble.
    And as gently as I can put it–although I sympathize with your opinion, there are plenty of political websites to vent on. We like to talk cars here.

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    • tirefriar

      Karl, this kind of crap happens every time anything russian (or soviet) makes its way to BaT or other sites.

      Anyway, Zil cars were slated for the very top echelon of government posts. The reason there is no automated assembly line is because each one of these cars was hand crafted. These cars command quite an asking price today. The unassembled body of the convertible in one of the pictures looks like ZIL 41044. These are the cars used in the military parades and are extremely hard to find in private possession.

      I will disagree with you with respect to Fiat. The Ladas that were built at the start up of the Tolgiatti plant under the auspices of the Italian quality control still run to this day and are quite valued by collectors as well.

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      • Karl

        Thank you, Tirefriar. This is my favorite automotive website because of the informed commentary from you and others like you, and also because of the variety of info on cars, trucks, bikes, airplanes, and you name it listed here. If it has wheels on it, I love it. If somebody put wheels on the roof of a house, I’d buy it.

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  9. Tundra/BMW Guy

    I’m still waiting…………………
    What? No one complaining that this does not comply with their version of what a “Barn Find” is?!
    How refreshing!!!!!!!!
    I think that those pics are cool! Love those kind places!

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  10. Chris A.

    Think of that assembly plant as one very large barn without the hay. Early on, one of the American cars that Russia back engineered was a Packard. If you’re going to copy a western product, copy good ones like a Packard….and the Boeing B 29.

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