My name is Alex. I am located in Indianapolis. A few years ago I bought a 1954, Soviet ZIM. You may have seen it for sale on craigslist in MN. The car needs full restoration and I have been collecting parts for it ever since.
I have also been trying to learn it's history. I was able to trace the ownership back a few owners, but was wondering if any of you may know more about it's origins. Here is what I have gathered so far:
I bought the car in MN from a Russian guy that did not have it for too long and my guess just flipped it. Before that, the car belonged to American Muscle Car LLC (Jim Watt, Arcanum OH). He did not own it long either and also flipped it. Jim bought the car from Frank's Auto Service & Sales (Frank Crawford) also in Arcanum OH. I met both Jim and Frank and got all the info they knew about the history of the car. While Jim owned it, it got a little fire damage (not too bad) when a barn was on fire. Frank owned the car since the 80s and it mostly set. He last drove it 30+ years ago. Before Frank, the car belonged to Phil Stalling Classic Cars out of Heath, OH. I spoke to Phil Sr. on the phone but could not get too much information other than it was bought at auction.
That's where the history dries up until the late 50s. Based on a window sticker on the car, I was able to deduce that the car was originally sold in Norway (rare Soviet export model), not too far from Oslo. I contacted the Norwegian DMV and they were actually kind enough to send me a copy of the registration card. ZIM had 2 owners in Norway (by the looks of it) and the last registration was in 1957. Evidently in 1955 Khrushchev made a deal with Einar Gerhardsen (Norwegian Premier) to supply 81 ZIMs (between 55-59) in exchange for fish, half of which went into taxi service. My ZIM could have been one of those, though mine was first registered in 1954, so not sure if there were other exports before 1955.
So if any of you know or have seen this ZIM between late 50s and 80s, I would love to know more about it. And before you ask, no, this is not the ZIM that was on display at the Pate Museum of Transportation in TX, which was also originally out of Norway, funny enough and supposedly belonged to Gerhardsen (btw I have my doubts about that). I know that ZIM was sold at auction and would actually love to get in touch with the current owners if you know where it ended up.
Thanks in advance and please let me know if you have any more information on my ZIM or if you have any restoration advice. I am new to the classic car world, but quickly learned that restoration of such classics is not for the faint of heart, at least for someone with my income