Historic Cars in Russia?

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Sir,

Do any historic racing ears survive in the Soviet Union?

Recently I came across a list of Russian 1-verst speed records going back to 1902, which seems to confirm that at least sonic retired racing cars entered that country in Imperial days. I recall reading that one of the Gordon Bennett de Dietrichs of 1905 was sold to a Russian enthusiast, while one A. V. Soldatenkov was credited with having bought Sisz’s 1906 Grand Prix-winning Renault.

The former statement is credible enough, since de Dietrich catalogued their racing models and would in theory make you one if you had the right money, though I have no proof they ever did. The latter thesis I had discounted; there are all manner of legends concerning the fate of the GP Renaults, and this story is further complicated by the presence of a fair-sized hatch of 7-litre 35 h.p. sporting machines with “replica” body, made by Renaults in 1907. One of these performed doughtily in prewar VSCC events, and another, ex-James Melton, is still around in America. But wait—our Russian record list states that in 1913 A. V. Soldatenkov set a new record of 146.5 km./h over the -verst on a 12.8litre which is close enough to the 12,975 c.c. of the 1906-07 GP cars to warrant further investigation.

In passing, one Cherner or Kherner raised Soldatenkov’s record to 201 km./h., or just under 125 m.p.h., later in 1913, using a 21.4-litre Benz (which “Blitzen” was this, or was it a touring 200 h.p.?), and at least three of the first batch of 30-98 Vauxhalls, the pre-war ones, ended up in St. Petersburg, so I’ve been told.

Would any readers care to comment?

Midhurst. MICHAEL SEDGWICK.