Russo-Balt -also known as Russobalt or Russo-Baltique- was one of the first Russian companies that produced cars between 1909 and 1923.
In 1908 the Tsar Nicholas II decided to open Russo-Baltic Wagon Factory (RBVZ) in Valmieras Street, Riga. Its founders had far-reaching plans: automobiles, produced in Riga, were to become ones of the most lasting and safest cars in the world. To achieve this goal, a young promising man from Switzerland Julien Potterat was involved as a new director of the car section and as a principal designer. He has been recognized as good designer and manufacturing organizer at the 'FONDU' brand automobile manufacturing in Belgium, being 26 years old. Plans came into effect and already in June of 1909 the first 'RUSSO-BALT' automobile left the factory.
The factory was focusing on production of three car and three truck models. 625 cars, including orders of a war department, were manufactured within six years (1909-1915). Facilities of the factory were evacuated to Moscow and St. Petersburg during the World War I. Consequently, the 'RUSSO-BALT' factory in Riga no more existed. Soon a project of building a new 'RUSSO-BALT' factory near Moscow started, but in 1917 this project was ended by revolution and civil war in Russia.
Only two RUSSO-BALT cars, manufactured in Riga, have survived up to date: one of them is located in Polytechnic Museum in Moscow, and the other one in the Riga Motormuseum.
What's your 'Russo Balt' worth? Here are some recently sold items (UK).
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