The Moscow Times,   24 Thursday, July, 1997

City Gets First Old Vehicles Home

By Katy Daigle

At first glance, one would never expect thousands of dollars in twisted metal to be buried under Dmitry Lomakov's dust-covered canvas tarps. But in second look reveals that`s just what is there.

In the corner of his dank garage sits a dark green luxury sedan, none other than the ZIS-110 limousine given by Josef Stalin to Patriarch Alexy 1 as thanks for the church`s support during World War II.

Two meters away, under a pile of old car seats and paint jars bunkers a "Katyusha", the revolutionary military vehicle that surprised German troops in World War II with its rapid-fire rockets. Lomakov`s Katyusha is one of only two originals left in the world. The other sits in the Ford museum in the US.

They are just a few of the 85 antique cars and motorcycles to be displayed in the soon-to-open Moscow Museum of Antique cars and Motorcycles - Lomakovka. After nine years of wrangling with Moscow city authorities, Lomakov and his family`s cars will be open for public inspection as early as may be this September.

"To have these treasures, to know what they mean and what they are worth to enthusiasts in Russia, to spend the time to renovate them to their original state, and then to keep them in a garage, it`s upsetting," said Lomakov, 31, sporting jeans, a button-dawn shirt and a sizeable arms. He would not say how much the collection is worth .

The Lomakov family`s collecting dates back to 1964 when Lomakov`s father, Alexander, happened upon a Horch, the German equivalent of a Rolls-Royce. Not knowing that it was a valuable antique, he sold it cheaply. A few months after selling the car, Alexander Lomakov realized what the Horch he had sold really was and went back to the man to whom he had sold it, only to discover the car had already been sold and resold several times. Finally he traced the car to the Pskov region where an old farmer had already cut it to pieces with a blowtorch and made it into a tractor.

Alexander Lomakov returned to Moscow to look for another Horch. After a few months, he found one - a 1935 Horch-853, a special issue that had been named "automobile of the year" in Paris, in 1935. Thus started the Lomakov family collection.

Dmitry Lomakov also President of the Russian Club of Antique Automobile and Motorcycle Lovers, himself started collecting when his father gave him a beat up motorcycle for his 12th birthday.

Now he works full time at collecting and renovating.

To pay the bills, he rents his cars out for film shoots, some of which include the Soviet classics "Variat Omega" and "Greetings! I'm Your Aunt" (etc. 70 films!!).

The centerpiece of the nascent museum`s motorcycle collection is a 1942 Harley-Davidson military-issue bike, which alone took nine months to fix up.

"Brother was going to sell this one when my brother needed money a while back, but I couldn`t part with it," Lomakov said. "No, I'm keeping this as proof of the work (restoration) we can do. This Harley is my business card."

In 1988 he proposed opening the museum with the city government and since than be has been in what he describes as a bureaucratic hell of filling out paperwork.

"My family was offering them our collection as a state treasure, something the entire city could show off and be proud of," Lomakov said."They should be paying me!".

But a few months ago, one of his dozens of letters landed on Mayor Yury Luzhkov`s desk, and in black-linked resolution Luzhkov wrote in large letters,"The automotive museum will be in Moscow!"

Dmitry Lomakov was adamant that the museum bear his name. "I fought so-that the politicans wouldn`t be in charge, wouldn`t own the museum. …What do they know of art, of the appreciation elite culture? They wold burn the place to the ground with mismenagement".

Now Dmitry Lomakov has possession of a plot of land neat metro "Lyublino" big enough to accomodate the 500-square meter exebition hall. Add $140,000 in sponsorships, and said be has the finds necessary to open the museum.

For more informiation on the museum, call Contact.

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