Concours d’Elegance Villa d’Este April 21, 2006 – We can think of no better way to revive a nearly forgotten marque of prestige, then to display a new concept at the traditional Villa d’Este. This is exactly what the Russian company Russo-Baltique have done by unveiling their Impression supercar at the Villa d’Este gardens on the eve of their 100th anniversary.
The Impression is one of the first cars to emerge from Russo-Baltique in over 80 years. And while the first impression we get is that it’s to daring and exotic for production, a very limited series of cars is available. They will be delivered at a rate of three per year and with a price tag of 50 million rubles or 1.8 million dollars!
At that price, the Impression is one of most expensive supercars of our time and Russo-Baltique have some serious convincing to prove their value. What they can do is bank on a very serious heritage that both served royalty and won the Monte Carlo rally.
Russo-Baltique history began in 1907 with 30-hp open two-seater, and by 1912, a special sport model won two first awards in the Monte-Carlo Rally. From there, they appealed to his royal highness Nicholas II of Russia, and produced some of the most well appointed cars before his forced abdication in 1917.
Today, the modern Russo-Baltique is built for a King that enjoys exclusivity and performance. Outwardly, the car is thoroughly modern: it has sweeping lines and unusual proportions which could only come from such a distinct area. Inside, the interior is trumped by an extensive use of Zebrano wood which is hand crafted from a single Trunk of the African tree. And despite is tight proportions the Impression has space for four and the performance of to match almost any other supercar.
The Impression is powered by a Mercedes-Benz V12 which offers 555 bhp. Its chassis is made from carbon fibre to ensure both ample weight and rigidity. No estimated performance figures have been released, but we are sure the engineers in Moscow have made a convincing car and one that represents their homeland well.
Since many were destroyed in the Russian revolution, only three pre-war Russo-Balt’s survive. However, the modern interpretation of these cars will no doubt spread the name further and farther than the original cars ever did.