Kirill "ALT-F13" Balalin

Yes, that's me pictured drinking tea. No, it is not typical dress in
Ukraine at all - actually, photo was taken in Emirates during vacation,
me and my pal bought each a set of local clothes and went to nearby
cafe... But I like this picture very much because it is just plain funny
(not to mention the fact that I'm definitely not look like an Arab even in
their clothes - but maybe closer to Pope, he-he:)).

Regarding my cars. Currently I own three B-bodies:

First one

91 Police car - it's a major project I call "Black Sun" and the one which is pictured mostly inside the
garage :) It is now gunmetal grey pearl (Mercedes paint) but was blue when I bought it 1.5 years ago.
It had L05 before, but I sold that engine and got an LT1 but right now ended with L03 from other Caprice.

Green water tubes are from original equipment of Black Sun but engine itself is not...
Here are some photos from "previous life" and restoration process:

Second one

92 civilian 5.0 TBI (L03) Caprice Classic bought in Aug.08 for two purposes. My intention was to swap
the whole interior in Black Sun with this one, to get rid of dull blue police vinyl/cloth in favor of grey
leather. At the moment we also swapped engine and transmission - this procedure was cheap, fast and

in comparison with LT1 swap :) Just for this winter/spring, to get Black Sun at least
"rolling" while I accumulate more finances to get LT1 inside before 2009 drag racing season in Ukraine
will start in late April/May... So, basically it is a parts donor though it was driveable at the moment of
purchase. Here are some pictures of the car, but it is also the one you saw in my
blog posts under snow:

Third one

Genuine 1995 Impala SS (DGGM) which I acquired for a very small price year ago. It has disassembled
front end laying in trunk, very rusty brake discs, torn driver seat and also missing some minor parts
like 1 wheel, radiator grill, driver door glass, alternator, belt and emblems... On the other hand, everything
else is complete and unmolested, and it is one of only about 10 Impala SS ever imported in Ukraine!
I just HAD TO save this car from being disassembled for parts... Looks like it will be an easy restoration
project as I'm not going to tear the car to pieces, fix everything to "better than new" and then assemble it
again like we're doing with Black Sun - the goal is just to get a reliable daily driver while maintaining
100% originality...

Here are some pics made right after I took the car from... well, not technically the junkyard,
but the place where they disassemble cars and sell them as details:

OK, now it looks like I've explained my uneasy relations with B-bodies :)

Kirill in Taiwan during an IT exhibition

I've learned English at school but my job really boosted the
knowledge: I'm journalist writing about computer hardware and
therefore I have a ton of communication (both written and oral) with
English-speaking people... And then I just read a lot - it is much
more information on almost any topic, which is available in English,
than in Russian, Ukrainian, German and other "national" languages.
So I think that a modern man is almost forced to learn English to
feel comfortable in life.

Kirill holding a snaps with Stockholm City Hall - wellknown around the
world thanks to the televised Nobel festivities once a year.
"I just drank a bit of "Hallands flader" - Svensk akvavit! My mom
brought some Swedish alcoholic drinks from her previous trip.

Below you'll find the mail that Kirill sent so we all could learn more
about the American Cars and GM B-bodies in Ukraine:

January 4 - 2009

Contact with Ukraine!

Owner of three B-bodies! Kirill Balalin from Kiev in Ukraine. Even if
this pictures is taken in a smaller town when he and his friend
were out searching for old cars.

The headline may be a bit silly but I wasn't prepared for the email
from Kirill Balalin in Kiev! He was asking for the price of the headers,
9" third member, transmission and driveshaft that I have >4 Sale but
then our email conversation revealed more about American Cars
in Ukraine. Kirill himself have no less than three B-body projects
going! One Impala SS and one 9C1 and one Caprice!

Very interesting! Please read it below.

Greetings from Ukraine, Anders!
At first, let me introduce myself, my name is Kirill Balalin, I'm from
Kiev, Ukraine and what is most important on this matter - I own a few
91-96 GM B-bodies... There aren't a lot of "true" American cars
in Ukraine and only recently we've formed a club for muscle/full-size
cars owners so we could share our experience,
gather together for the races, etc. Though still 95% of information I
gather about American cars comes from English-spoken resources
- including as one of the most prominent for me! It's
great to see that we in Europe also could build such excellent setups,
especially when it come to my belowed B-bodies, he-he. Keep up
good work, Anders! Actually, I regularly read your website for a
couple of years and it was one of biggest sources of initial motivation
for me to start total restoration/modding of my 91 Caprice 9C1.
If you want you can check some pictures here:
Blog was started in November so no earlier information though.
Unfortunately, texts are in Russian - I promise myself to translate it
once in English but that will be done maybe in a month when I'll
receive a "half-finished" car...
The reason to call it half-finished is obvious: while aesthetically it
will be complete (currently frame-off body restoration is almost finished
and we're assembling the car) with reinforced and painted frame, shaved
body details, gunmetal pearl paint and grey leather interior from 92
civilian Caprice Classic (instead of awful blue 9C1 one, technically I've
just begun to work on it. I have a freshly rebuilt to stock specs LT1
from friend's 93 Camaro but I've decided to
not put it in right now....
...That's why we've installed L03 + 4L60 from the same 92 civvie as a
temporary solution and then started to elaborate suspension first (like
Energy Suspension body mounts and bushings, front end rebuild kit,
etc - I also currently decide which springs and shocks to install
and so on). Rear end and exhaust will come later and hopefully in
April or so I'll return to the quest of LT1 swap :)
Ok enough of my mumbling about plans for Caprice, let's get close
to the deal :) What I'm interested the most are Quad-1 headers you
put on sale and if it is possible for you to arrange shipping to Ukraine
and how much it can cost? It would be nice to know your estimates
for carbon driveshaft, Ford 9" third member and 4L80E too...
and looking forward for your reply,

With best regards,
Kirill Balalin

Kirill saved this DGGM 1995 Impala SS from scrapping!
One of 10 imported Impalas in Ukraine!

Thanks for your mail Kirill and until you convert your unique Ukranian
B-body blog to English I'll host a page for you right here:
where more information and pictures already now can be found.
I think that using English on a website or blog is a smart thing to do,
because you of course get visitors from all over the world
- and even great emails =)
For me personally and the choice of language for it was
also for keeping up the English language (even if Hawkeye thinks I'm
not improving at all!) and knowing that I could approach the B-body
community in USA, which has been delightful and have given
some fantastic friendships and adventures.

Kirill, can you please tell us about
drag racing in Ukraine?

"Drag racing in Ukraine isn't that spectacular as in Europe or USA... The same is for Russia, Belarus,
Moldavia and other ex-USSR countries except Estonia and Latvia.
The reason is simple: autosport in USSR was very restricted thing outside of strictly professional things
like rally or circle-track... Civilian cars made in USSR are maybe one of the worst in the world in terms
of performance and safety but before the fall of communists regime they were also almost unobtainable
for normal citizen. I don't mean such strict rules like in North Korea but still cars in private property
were low in numbers: it was 49 cars for 1000 persons in 1989 so you can figure that this number was
even worse before... So car owners in USSR didn't think much about racing at all.

Ukraine became a free state in 1991, almost 70 years after this picture was taken.

And of course, communists didn't endorse this sport. You know, such "bourgeous" thing couldn't be
allowed for Soviet people en masse - today they want drag race and tomorrow they'll want human
rights and the day after they'll throw out the totalitarian government. That's why while you guys and
our fellows in the USA were tuning your cars for sub-10 quartermiles, people in USSR couldn't even
see Formula-1 on TV (first race was broadcasted in 1992, after the fall of commies)!

A very common Redlight at the Red Square Strip in Moscow. Very slow races but very well attended.

Then, in 1990's maybe it wasn't the thing to care for our countries as first years of independence were
quite harsh... But life became better each year. Illegal street racing (including drag) started to gain
real popularity about 10 years ago: you know, when "Fast and Furious" movie appeared and first
"Need For Speed" computer games, etc. Official drag racing followed, with
first major event took place in 2005...

In 2008 we had one official championship (sanctioned by Ukrainian Autosport Federation and
organized by Drag Racing Committee) and 3 or 4 "sponsored" unofficial series. Official one
consisted of 4 events - one per month (it had to be 5 but we've got some troubles with last one)
after which champions in classes were named. All events were held at Chaika (mean "Seagull")
Raceway in Kiev while unofficial series arranged their races in different cities mostly on
ex-military airfield strips.

Also Chaika Raceway is open every Thursday night from April to October for training races for a small
entrance fee ($10/car). It is the only possibility for a drag racer to train himself with christmas tree and
telemetry. Usually about 100-150 cars come to there drag nights weekly.

Overall level of any unofficial events including aforementioned sponsored series (which are legally held
but lacks real status) is boring but as for Championship - it goes better every year and there are some
good plans for 2009 season. In 2008 there were about 40 participants with about half of
them attended all 4 events.

Classes are based on three parts:
a) "Street" or "Pro" (second allow almost any modifications, while street cars are limited i.e. real
street tires, full interior, no lightweight details except hood, etc)
c) NA or turbo/SC/NOS.

Actual classes are less than all possible combinations :)

Typical results are following:
"Street RWD & 4WD NA" - best was 11.8 by Lingenfelter 454 cui Z06 but more typical times are
13.0 for BMW and 13.2 for stock Grand Cherokee SRT8
"Street RWD Turbo" - represented by 12.0 cars, there are few of them like 800 hp Viper and some
Skylines/Supras (usually they've all got huge traction problems hence the times suck
a lot for such horsepower!)
"Pro RWD Turbo" almost solely raced by few Turbocharged BMWs in 11.5 range
"Street/Pro FWD NA" - the only class in which Russian-made cars compete with
best time about 14.0
"Street/Pro FWD Turbo" - both won this year by my friend and his Audi TT
1.8T with 13.5 time
"Street 4WD Turbo" - totally dominated by Evo/STI cars with 600-700 hp and
about 10.9-11.1 times. Most competition goes here and this class is really
nice to watch!
"Pro 4WD Turbo" - by far the fastest drag machines in Ukraine for the moment:
Evo/STIs/Skyline GT-Rs with 900-1000 hp and 9.5-9.9 best times.

One problem is the traction due to combination of not the best asphalt with absense of track
bite. It is the biggest reason for RWD cars showing worse results than they should.
Maybe this will be resolved soon.

You can see some pictures both from Championship events and "drag nights" on Chaika
It is a gallery on official tournament website (we moved it now to temporary domain
name for maintenance). I administrate this site as a part of my help for Ukrainian Drag
Racing Committee which is formed mostly by my close friends or at least good pals :)

A lot must change until next season starts in April. Our "Detroit Clan" club plans to smash
the japanesemobiles with some really serious horsepower =) Like Hennessey Grand
Cherokee "SRT1000" which is now being built in USA and estimated for 9.9 quartermile
"still being a Jeep!", Hennessey Venom, few supercharged Corvettes, etc...
On the other hand, some tuned GT-Rs will emerge to and about 5 more other
9-second cars to.

Drag racing in Ukraine is still as an embryo of what could be. Being one of the staff
beyond official Championship I know this very well. We don't have TV or "good press
coverage", we don't have real sponsors as a series and each driver build his
car with his own funds (no sponsors too, except for speed shops who can provide
much cheaper labor prices for racer), and there is only one true raceway which is
still disputable in terms of road quality and track management. On the other hand it is
absolutely great feeling to be a part of an emerging sport, to know that any our
achievement (as a Committee) will benefit the situation greatly and will form the future.

It is also cool to see that racers make really noticiable growth every season and
during each! So maybe in a couple of years it will be much more interesting to tell
and watch Ukrainian drag races than it is now :)

So, here's the short story, thanks for reading! :)))