The ZIL-117 is a luxury sedan (sometimes referred to as a limousine because of its size) built by ZiL in Russia first presented at the Autopron (precursor of the Moscow International Motor Show) in 1977. The car was reported to be only 228 inches (5,800 mm) long, compared to 247 inches (6,300 mm) for the established ZIL-114.

The ZIL-117 shares the 6.9 litre V8 engine by now fitted also to the earlier long-wheelbase ZIL-114. Maximum power output of 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS) at 4,400 rpm was claimed, using a relatively high 9.0:1 compression ratio, fuel feed being via a single four-choke carburettor. The car uses a three-speed automatic transmission and power steering came as standard. The factory claimed a maximum speed of between 118 and 125 mph (190 and 201 km/h).

The 117 and the 114 represented a break from the over-decorated and ornate styles of previous ZIL models, and both cars had uncluttered, modern lines. In some respects the 117 also resembled the Chrysler Imperial of the mid-1960s. Another car of similar design that was based on the ZIL was the Hongqi (Red Flag) automobile of that time.

One of the reasons to design the ZIL-117 was a need of a government car of an intermediate rank between ZIL-114 (reserved for highest state and party authorities) and GAZ-13 Chaika, appropriate for example for Politburo member candidates, and also as supporting cars in highest officials' convoys.

Model cars

Although made in limited numbers, the car has proven popular for die-cast model makers. The first and most detailed was a 1:43 version released by Radon (Russia), a company which produced a wide range of Soviet-era vehicles. This heavy model was available in black or grey (the colour of army parade versions) with 12 moving parts, and featured opening doors and boot (with spare wheel), opening bonnet and detailed chromed engine, chrome metal trim and grill, rubber tyres and suspension, and perspex lights. Some examples had a metal aerial. Convertibles were also available in 2- or 4-door variants. Radon's post-Soviet successor Agat/Tantal released a white wedding version as well as the black, but quality can be poor compared to Soviet-era examples. In 2011 IXO/De Agostini released a black 117 with magazine detailing the car's history (having earlier produced a black ZIL-114). In line with other IXO models the body is basic with no opening panels, engine or suspension, and the exterior has painted trim/tail lights. Another version of this model was released as part of a series featuring cars from James Bond films (in this case Casino Royale) and included a magazine.