Vehicle makeover Russian style

Pete Mait

Those Soviets certainly knew how to design a limousine to exude pomp and glory. Some people still look back with nostalgia on the Good Old Days and tell the youngsters of today: "Not everything was bad under communism."

Now the classic Russian Volga is enjoying something of a comeback in America. Up to now, there are just two models, both with a new look and spec. Whether this is just a coincidence or the start of a new trend, only time will tell.

In one case, a Volga body has been built on a Cadillac Escalade EXT chassis. With its jet-black paint job and huge chrome wheel trim, this pickup truck looks truly terrifying. The customer was, of course, one of those Russian neo-plutocrats. Before this mixture of automotive cultures, Mother Russia gave birth to another intriguing East/West crossover. A 1960s Volga body was mounted on a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. This natural born racer accelerates from 0 to 100kph in 6.7 seconds. The interior is classy but the paintwork really is a hark back to the Cold War period.