31 August 2010

Sinaia 1953

O familie destul de importanta din Bucuresti in fata la Peles in 1953. Masina e un superb Tatraplan. Un exemplar din 14 importate in Romania de nou, poate. Dar numarul? Temporar? Posibil de CD, inainte de numere CD-101 introduse in 58...

A quite important Bucharest family at Peles in 1953. The car's a Tatraplan, potentially one of just fourteen imported into Romania from new. But the plate? Could it be temporary? Or early diplomatic before the introduction of the CD-style plates in 1958...

27 August 2010

Sinaia 1940

Trei poze de exceptie, facute de un grup de turisti polonezi vizitand Romania in 1940 in Skoda lor ,,Popular''. Fara discutie cea mai interesanta imagine e semnul pus de ACRR (Automobil Club Regal Roman) langa ramasitele unui tourer, probabil de prin 1930, aratand ce se intampla daca soferul nu are grija... Acest obicei putin macabru se practica in Romania si mai recent, pana curand pe soseaua Piatra-Neamt Bacau fiind expusa o carcasa accidentata de Peugeot 104. Interesant, totusi, ca aceste semne erau puse de un corp particular si nu de stat sau de ministerul transporturilor.

Three exceptional pictures taken by a group from Ploand touring Romania in 1940 in their Skoda Popular. Without a doub the most interesting one os of the sign advising drivers to take care and, by showing the mangled wreckage of a circa 1930 tourer, telling them what happens if they don't... This habit lasted until modern times; until farily recently, on the stretch of road between Piatra-Neamt and Bacau, the carcass of a Peugeot 104 was disaplyed prominently by the roadside with similar grim implications. Interestingly, however, in pre-war Romania it was the equivalent of the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) who put such signs up, and not the Ministry of Transport.

26 August 2010

Stavropoleos 1937 - 1988

Doua imagini cu frumoasa biserica Stavropoleos din Bucuresti, din 1937 si 1988. Sursa: Willy Pragher, Picasaweb. Masina din prima poza e un taxi Chevrolet din 1934.

Two images with the picturesque Stavropoleos Church in Bucharest, 1937 and 1988. From the Pragher archives and Picasaweb respectively. The car in the first photo is a 1934 Chevrolet taxi.

22 August 2010

Placerile automobilismului, 1930 / The Joys of Motoring, 1930

Dintr-un alamanah. Masina avariata e un Chevrolet din Plo(i)esti.
From a yearbook. The wrecked car is a Chevrolet from Plo(i)esti.

18 August 2010

Vechi si nou la Hotel Parc / Old and new at Hotel Parc

Doua vederi, prima din 1975, a doua din 1977. Cea din '75 arata o Pobeda, masina deja demodata si pe cale de disparitie in anii 70 datorita consumul ridicat si faptul ca erau pe piata masini mult mai moderne, dupa importurile din anii 60 si intrarea in productie a Dacilor 1100 si 1300. Cine stie ce o fi cautand la un hotel "de lux". (Ca fapt divers, inca circula una in nordul tarii, proprietatea unui domn in varsta care o scoate din garaj de cateva ori pe an, neavand alta masina.)

Intr-a doua vedere modernitatea cladirii e reflectata in superbul Fiat X1/9 din prim plan. 99% ere masina unui strain in vizita la Bucuresti ; totusi, chiar in vremea comunismului, erau asa masini in tara, una apartinand pilotului de raliu Eugen Ionescu-Cristea.

Two postcards from 1975 and 1977 respectively. The first shows a Pobeda, an unusual car to be parked in such a smart hotel. By 1975 the antiquated Pobeda was fast disappearing off the roads. It drank too much and far more modern cars were relatively easily available. (Although one example is still in use today as a regular (though rare) driver, in the north of the country.)

In the second picture the modern lines of the builing are echoed by the angulat Fiat X1/9 in the foreground. Almost defintiely, it belonged to a foreigner passing through Bucharest; however, even in Communism, such cars did exist in Romania, one belonging to celebrated rally driver Eugen Ionescu-Cristea.

Militia 1979

O selectie de carti postale aratand activitatea Militiei in 1979.
A slection of postcards showing the activity of the Romanian Militia (traffic police) in 1979.

2 August 2010

Science Fiction 2: Mrs Ceasuescu's Renault

Mai sus am vorbit despre tendinta de a spunce ca orice masina mai luxoasa care a existat in Romania a apartinut unei personalitati. In acel caz am vorbit despre un Citroen cu care se spune ca se plimba toavarasa Elena Ceausescu, adevarul fiind departe. Dar azi, in acest articol , am sansa sa aud despre o masina autentica.

E vorba despre un Renault 18 in paragina, fosta masina de serviciu, apoi donata la o scoala de la tara in 1997. Asa ceva se facea. O scoala din Targu Neamt s-a ales cu un ARO bleo, comanda speciala, masina de vantoare pentru alesi. In plus, Renault 18 chiar era masina folosita de elita anilor 80. inclusiv primi secretari si alte cadre elevate. In final, numarul spune tot. 1-B-180 era clar una din masinile oficiale. Acuma, daca fundul Lenutei intr-adevar se cocota pe banchata din spate e greu de spus, in lipsa evidentei fotografice. Cert e, totusi, ca e o masina cu o istorie deosebit de interesanta, care, in ciuda starei si mai precare decat Citroenul CX, merita din deplin salvata.

Some time ago I talked about a tendency to ascribe any luxurious car which used to exist in Romania to a famous former owner, the example given being the Citroen CX with which - apparently - Elena Ceausescu used to get around. As in the Citroen's case, the truth is usually far away. Yet here , I read about something different, and quite possibly authentic.

The story rings true. It was apparently Elena's work car and given to a school in 1997. Indeed, mny official vehicles ended their days in this way: I remember, and have photos of, a school in Targu Neamt which ended up with an official light blue hunting ARO. The Renault 18 was the standard "elite car" in 80s Romania and was favoured by party first secretaries and the like. And the numberplate - 1-B-180 - could only have belonged to someone very important. Whether or not it was the self-same vehicle in which comrade Elena would park her Communist bum will probably be lost in the mists of time, unless photos surface of the car in its heyday. But, as one of the official cars of Communism, it has an excellent and fascinating history and - despite its terrible condition - is well worth saving.


Poza gasita pe Picasaweb aratand pe doi membri ai unei familie iesene, mandri pe langa Dacia lor 1310. Fotografia are o importatna anume pentru mine intrucat si masina mea, Volga M24 din 1973, circula pe acelasi numar 610, numai de Vrancea. Fostul proprietar a fost foarte important atunci, circuland, de doua ori pe saptamana, de la Focsani pana la Bucuresti si inapoi. Bine inteles, nu avea nevoie de cupoane de benzina! Ma intreb cum de aveau respectivii din poza numerele ravnite cu trei cifre... Sigur, nu toti erau cu partidul. Multi mecanici de ex. aveau numere foarte tari. Iar cei mai "tari" din anii 80 de multe ori preferau sa nu iese in evidenta si circulau pe numere gen 2-B-xxxx. Ce vremuri...

Photo, from Picasaweb, showing a father and child from Iasi county proud next to their Dacia 1310. For me the photo is rather special becasue, back in the day, my own 1973 Volga had the same plates (1-xx-610), but issued by Vrancea county. The owner, a VIP at the time, would drive to Bucharest from Focsani and back twice a week at least. No petrol rationing for him! I wonder what the man in this photo did to get himself the much-wanted three-digit number plates... Of course, he need not necessarily have been a senior Party activist. Many mehchanics, for example, had very good (ie short) number plates. While the true movers and shakers would often prefer to travel more discreetly... Interesting times.