The ZIL-4104 was a limousine built from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, when it served as the transport of the elite of the Soviet Union. So much status did the car have that, although it is estimated that no more than fifty cars were produced each year, ZIL 4104s were granted exclusive use of the outside lane on highways during the model's production run.
The ZIL-4104 was an update of the ZIL-114 with which it shared the same chassis. There was considerable restyling and the car was rather more streamlined than the 114, notably in the rear vision mirrors which in the 114 were of a very old style. The rear window, however, became less curved and more boxy in accordance with then-prevalent European practice. Despite sharing the same chassis, the ZIL-4104 was still as much as 200 kg (441 lb) heavier than the 114.
Mechanically, the ZIL-4104 also improved on the 114. The pushrod V8 engine of the 114 had its stroke increased from 95 mm (3.74 inches) to 105 mm (4.13 inches). With a 108 mm (4.25 inches) bore, this meant the capacity increased from 6962 cc (425 cubic inches) to 7691 cc (469 cubic inches), which was throughout the model's lifespan one of the world's biggest passenger-car engines (Cadillac offered a 500-cid engine). This engine developed 232 kW (311 hp) of power at 4,600 revs per minute and a substantial 608 N·m (448 lb·ft) of torque.
By 1984, a new three-speed automatic transmission had replaced the much outdated two-speed type that had been used by ZIL dating back to the first ZIL-111 in 1958.
ZIL-41044 and ZIL-41042
In the later years of the 4104 production run, ZIL introduced two derived models based on the 4104 chassis and the shortened ZIL-117 chassis not previously used with the 7.7 litre engine.
- The 41044 was a shorter-wheelbase convertible. Unlike previous ZIL convertibles, it had only two doors but otherwise it was typically ZIL.
- The 41042 was the only station wagon ever produced by ZIL, but the few examples built were mainly used as hearses for important people in the Soviet Union.