Pre-Revolutionary Travel

This is a Russo-Balt C24/40, one the Russian Empire’s earliest cars, originally founded in Riga (now in Latvia) before production moved to St Petersburg. Funded by Germany, designed by a Swiss engineer, and built in Russia (or its empire), the Russia-Balt was an early example of excellent cross-border collaboration.

Of course that didn’t last long, and the Russo-Balt company switched to making military aircraft (of Sikorsky design, who would later create many famous U.S helicopters), before Lenin’s Bolshevik October Revolution closed the factory, Sikorsky fled to France, and the company director was murdered whilst attempting to flee to Finland. Which means that if not for the Bolshevik’s brutality, Sikorsky may never have left Russia and gone on to design the aircraft that opposed it during the Cold War. It’s a funny old world.

Today the remnants of the Russo-Balt company in Latvia builds trailers and, er… this, but we’re staying with the company’s origins and its early C24/40, built here in both ‘Torpedo’ luxury car and work-van form by Flickr’s Kirill Simerzin.

There’s more of each version (plus a third) to see at Kirill’s photostream, and you can head to the pre-revolutionary years of the Russian Empire’s automotive industry via the link in the text above.

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