You’ll be hearing more about my good friend Arunas Racelis and his AllCarIndex website (click here to review his website) that he maintains and directs from his home in Lithuania. Our contacts stretch far across the Earth now – and of course the internet helps us stay in communication too!
Recently, Arunas sent me an interesting story about a man in Russia who built his own American boulevard cruiser – but more aptly called a “Russian Boulevard Cruiser.” I didn’t know such a thing existed until Arunas started sharing some of these treasures with me from his country.
Let’s see what he had to say about this special “Russian” Sport Custom Automobile.
The 1956 Leningrad Sport Custom
By Arkadij Dmitrievich Babich
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..
And A Video Exists!
Yes…Arunas also found a short video – I don’t know how he does this. It’s less than a minute long and if anyone can translate it for us, please let me know. I’d enjoy sharing the text as part of this story (and can post it here later if it comes our way):
Boy that car FLIES at the end of the video. I love to see it “at speed…”
And fantastic news! The 1956 Leningrad Sport Custom exists and is in need of restoration. Check out the photo below:
Anyone want to start a collection of Russian Sport Custom cars??? You’ll be first on your block with such a great piece of machinery, and we’d love to feature the story here at Sport Custom.
Thanks again to Arunas Racelis and his website AllCarIndex for sharing this story.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Yours For Longer Hoods…
* Click on the following link to view all stories on: Russian Sport Custom Cars