2 July 2015

Peugeot-ul 404 de la Biserica Rusa / The Peugeot 404 at the Russian Church

Timp de ani de zile, un locatar din zona Bisericii Ruse, de pe strada Ion Ghica din centrul Capitalei, se deplasa cu un Peugeot 404 alb. Era un punct de reper in marea de Dacii din zona (plus Skodele de la ambasada cehoslovaca). In 2006 l-am surprins in poza nr 4; circula, desi rar. A mai stat in acelasi loc cativa ani si dupa 2008 a disparut. Credeam ca masina era REMATizata de mult tip, dar se pare ca inca exista, dovada fiind ultimele doua poze, luate in aprilie. Se tine destul de bine batrana, mai ales tinand cont ca a fost abandonata de cel putin 6 ani: 404 era bine-cuonscut pentru robustete. Cine stie ... poatea va avea un viitor mai stralucitor. Ar merita!

For many years, a resident of the area around the Russian Church in Bucharest drove around in a white Peugeot 404. It was a familiar sight in the sea of Dacias (and Czechoslovakian Embassy Skodas). In 2006 I photographed it (picture 4) - it was still being driven then, albeit rarely. It stayed in the same place for a few more years and disappeared after 2008. I assumed it had long been crushed, but - according to photos taken in April - it still exists. It's not in bad condition considering how long it's been amabdoned for - but then the 404 was a notably resistent vehicle. Perhaps it might have a brighter future. It deserves it!

In 1985

In 2003

In 2004

In 2006

Circa 2007

In 2008

In 2015

26 June 2015

Si Partidul greseste / Even the Party makes mistakes

Din arhiva "Autoturism", septembrie 1975 - un articol despre traficul bucurestean, semnaland greseli facute de soferi. Printre care si ... o Dacie cu celebra combinatie 1-B-trei cifre. Acele numere erau speciale: te semnalau printre prima mie de conducatori auto din tara, Ceausescu fiind primul, cu 1-B-101, cu o ordine de precedenta stricta. Nu stiu cine era proprietarul la 1-B-432: e posibil sa fie sau statul, sau un personaj foarte important. Nici macar familia Ceausescu nu avea 1-B-trei cifre la toate masinile lor! E foarte interesant ca revista Autoturism a indraznit sa critice un personaj asa sus pus ... Ma intreb daca a fost vreo repercusie....

From the Autoturism archives. September 1975 - an article about traffic in Bucharest and the errors made by individual drivers. Among whom, the driver of a Dacia with the famous "1-B-three numbers" number plates. These plates were very special: they placed you among the first thousand car owners in the country, Ceasuescu being the first, with 1-B-101, and a stric order of precedence following. We don't know who the owner of 1-B-432 was: possibly either the state or a VIP. Not even all the Ceausescu family managed to have "1-B-three numbers" plates! It's fascinating that "Autoturism" magazine dared criticise someone so high up; I wonder if there were any repercussions...

24 June 2015

Dacia 1310 ... caravaneta (1985) / Dacia 1310 ... camper van (1985)

O noua premiera, dintr-o arhiva britanica: se pare ca cu ani inainte de tentativa Dacia Jumbo, a existat Dacia caravaneta!

In  1985, firma "Madisons", in nord-vestul Britaniei, ofera doua modele pe baza Daciei papuc: "Dacia Drifter" si, model mai scump, "Dacia Duchess" (care costa cat un Peugeot 505 nou). Poze nu exista, dar se pare ca aveau patru paturi si intrarea prin spate. Nu se stie daca s-a vandut vreun exemplar. Firma a disparut de cativa ani, desi alta firma de caravanete e pe locul ei.

A new first, from a British archive ... it seems there was a Dacia camper van years before the Dacia Jumbo prototype!

In 1985, Madisons, based in Blackpool in the North-West, offered two camper conversions based on the Dacia pickup: "Dacia Drifter" and the more expensive "Dacia Duchess" (which cost the same as a new Peugoet 505). There are no photos extant, but it seems that both were four-berth affaris with entrance through the rear. I have no idea whether any were actually sold. Madisons disappeared some years ago, although a camper van company is still on the site.

27 May 2015

BMW 700 in Romania

Astazi BMW 700 e o masina aproape uitata. Dar are o parte importanta in istoria marcii din Bayern: intre 1959 si 1965, productia acestei masinute, ieftine si populare, a salvat firma BMW, care era aproape de faliment.

Si au existat si in Romania! Pozele arata exemplare berlina (Poiana Brasov 1968, Timisoara 2011), si coupe (Bals 1999, Hunedoara 2015).

Din pacate, slabe sanse ca vreun 700 autohton sa fi salvat / salvabil.


Today the BMW 700 is an almost forgotten car. But it has an important part in the marque's history: between 1959 and 1965, production of this popular little car saved the firm, which had been close to bankruptcy.

Ad they existed in Romania, too. Photos show the saloon (Poiana Brasov 1968, Timisoara 2011) and coupe (Bals 1999, Hunedoara 2015) versions.

Sadly, it's unlikely that a Romanian 700 will be saved - or indeed saveable.

21 May 2015

Chitanta din 1936 / Receipt from 1936

Un document rar: o chitanta din 1936 pentru vanzarea unei masini marca "Vipet", la suma de 6,000 lei. "Vipet" e de fapt "Whippet", marca apartinand firmei americane Willys-Overland. Autoturismele Whippet au fost produse intre 1926 si 1931. Numarul de motor ne spune ca e vorba de un model Whippet 96A, din 1929. E de fapt o greseala in chitanta, motorul fiind nu de 10, ci de 40, cai putere, propulsand masina pana la 96/km/h. Un exemplar model 96 din 1928, din Cernauti, se afla in poza 2. Un 96A din 1929 e in poza 3.

Remarcam pretul extrem de ieftin, ceea ce insemna ca un invatator de la tara isi putea permite o masina, chiar una veche. In 1936, un Fiat 500 nou costa 95,000 lei; un Opel Olympia era 125,000 lei; iar un Chrysler incepea la 185,000 lei. Tot in 1936, 1 dolar american era 136 lei. Salariile medii lunare erau aproximativ 2,000 lei - crescand la 10,000 lei pentru un medic si peste 30,000 lei pentru un ministru.

A rare document: a receipt from 1936 for the sale of a "Vipet" automobile, for 6,000 lei. "Vipet" is actually "Whippet", a subsidiary brand of the US firm Willys-Overland, produved between 1926 and 1031. The engine number indicates this is a Whippet 96A from 1929. There is one type - the horsepower was not 10hp but 4ph, taking the Whippet up to a top speed of 60mph. A model 96 from 1928, registered in Cernauti, is in photo 2. Photo 3 shows a 96A from 1929.

Notable is the extremely cheap price, enabling a primary school teacher from the coutnryside to get a car - albeit an old one. By comparison, in 1936 a new Fiat 500 cost 95,000 lei. An Opel Olympia was 125,000, and a new Chrysler started at 185,000. One US dollar exchanged for 136 lei. The average monthly salary was around 2,000 lei, rising to 10,000 for a doctor and over 30,000 for a Government minister.

30 April 2015

Statistici din 1933 / 1933 statistics

Din Anuarul Statistic din 1934, aflam cate ceva despre situatia automobilelor in Romania in 1933, printre care:

- Automobilele erau 75% americane
- Motocicletele erau in marea majoritate sau britanice, sau nemtesti
- Erau in circulatie 50 vehicle construite in Romania - majoritatea bazate pe camioane
- Parcul auto scazuse considerabil intre 1930 si 1933 - probabil din cauza crizei
- Erau judete unde motorizarea era o raritatea absoluta: Orhei, spre exemplu, avand niciun autovehicul pentru transport public si numai 24 autoturisme.
- Desi Ilfovul avea de patru ori mai multe vehicole ca Prahova, avea de peste 20 de ori mai multe taximetre.

Citire placuta!

From the 1934 Annual Statistics, some interesting data about Romania;'s motorisation in 1933, among which:

- Cars were 75% American-built
- Motorcycles tended to be either British or German makes
- There were 50 vehicles made in Romania in circulation - the majority truck-based
- The total number of vehicles had fallen considerably between 1930 and 1933 - probably owing to the Great Depression
- In some counties motor vehicles were a real rarity: Orhei, for example, had only 24 cars and no public transport whastoever
- Though Ilfov (Bucharest's county) had only four times as many vehicles as Prahova, it had over twenty times more taxis.

Happy reading!

2 April 2015

Dacia pick-up ... made in China! ("Xingtai 114")

O premiera absoluta, cu amabilitatea d-lui Erik van Ingen Schenau, expertul mondial la capitolul istoriei auto in China: Dacia construita in China!

Seamana uluitor cu o Dacie 1307 "double cabine". Dar sunt diferente. Fata "ochelarista" nu a existat nicoidata pe 1307. La fel stopurile de papuc stil vechi, bordul, si oglinzile cromate. Usa din spate
e prea scurta. De fapt, sasiul pare unul normal de 1304.

Aceasta masina - fotografiata in 1992 - poarta insigna "Xingtai 114 Automobile Works". Erik ne spune ca e vorba despre o fabrica auto din anii 90 in orasul Shaohe, provincial Hebei. Daciile au fost produse la inceputul anilor 90 - nu se stie daca in regim CKD sau SKD. 114 era foarte mica; construia autobuze si salvari din 4x4uri autohtone. Ulterior au facut cateva 4x4uri si pick-up-uri sub marca Jixing. A disparut fabrica inainte de 2000.

E atat de putin cunoscuta incat nu exista niciun fel de informatie pe internet. Aceste poze sunt 99.9% singura dovada ca asa ceva a existat.

Ma intreb care era legatura dintre Xingtai 114 si uzina mama Dacia? Care, si ei, importau in China incepand cu anii 80, si incercau sa isi vanda noile modele pick-up acolo...

An absolute premiere, with the amiability of Erik van Ingen Schonau, who knows more about the Chinese auto industry than pretty much anyone else: Dacia assembled in China!

It looks a lot like a Dacia 1307 "double cabine". But there are lots of differences. The quad headlamps never existed on a 1307. Nor did that dashboard, the chromed mirrors or the old-style pick-up tail lights. The rear door is much too short. In fact, so is the chassis - judging from the photos it looks to be a standard pick-up chassis.

This car, photographed in 1992, bears the title "Xingtai 114 Automobile works." As Erik writes, this was a real car factory in the 1990s, in Shaohe, Hebei province. It's not clear whether Dacias were produced as CKD or SKD. The 114 auto works was a very small factory making conversions of Beijing jeep and Yuejin Nj134 vehicles, into buses, ambulances, etc. since the 1980s. They also made some 4x4s and pickups, under the Jixing name. They owned the designation XT and JX, later changed into XTQ. The factory disappeared before 2000.

The factory is so obscure that the Internet yields no information. These photos are almost certainly the only evidence that such a car ever existed.

I wonder what was the link between the Xingtai 114 and the mother-plant in Romania? After all, Dacia was selling to China since the early 80s and was trying to market its own pick-ups...