27 June 2011

Dealer Dacia, United Kingdom, 1991

O poza extrem de rara aratand un dealer Dacia in 1991. Sau, sa precizam un pic, ce fusese un dealer Dacia pana recend, dar se inchisese. Ultima Dacie (un Duster - de fapt, un ARO 10) s-a vandut in Anglia in 1993, iar ultimul exemplar derivat din 1310, un pikc-up, in 1990. Cateva (peste cinci) mii de Dacii fusesera vandute, dar rar au supravietuit peste zece ani; unele erau date la fier vechi la varsta de numai doi sau trei ani. Astazi, numai trei exemplare Duster inca mai circula. Ultimul pick-up (vandut sub numele de Shifter) a supravietuit pana in 2010, iar ultimul exemplar Dacia Denem (un 1310) nu a circulat dupa 2005. (Penultimul se dusese deja in 2000.)

De obicei, dealerii Dacia vanzau si alte marci de masini, in mod special Lada, Yugo, si Hyundai, dar in cel putin un caz autohtonele Reliant cu trei roti! Clar, erau destinate familiilor cu ptuini bani dar cu pretentii de masina noua. Din pacate, primele reclame nu au luat asta in consideratie, si asa una din ele arata o vila spatioasa cu Jaguar XJS si Dacie in fata, cu toti copiii familiei fugind spre Dacie!

Totusi put sa spun ca povestea Daciei in Anglia nu e terminata. In 2012 se va comercializa noul Duster. Anul trecut s-a importat, particular, o Dacie Sport, un 1307 zambetul lui Iliescu circula si azi pe sosele, tot ca import particular, iar exista sanse ca cel putin un Denem sa fie restaurat si repus pe sosele. Nu e mult, dar cel putin va asigura ca acest capitol a istoriei auto romanesti sa nu fie uitat.

A very rare photo taken in England in 1991, showing a recently shut down Dacia dealership. The last Dacia - a Duster, so really an ARO 10 - was sold in 1993; the last 1310-derived model, a Shifter pick-up, in 1990. Over five thousand Dacias were sold, but rates of survival were appalling. Very few made it past ten years and many were scrapped after just two or three years off use. Today, miraculously, three Dusters remain on the road. The last Shifter was taxed in 2010, the last Denem in 2005, and the previous Denem in 2000.

Dacia dealers normally sold other makes too - Lada, Yugo, and Hyundai, and in one case also the Reliant range of three-wheelers. It was a fairly clear-defined market segment, for families who wanted a new car but did not have much money to spend. In retrospect, the 1982 Denem ad showing a smart detached house with a Dacia and a Jaguar XJS (with all the children gravitating towards the Dacia) probably wasn't the best market placement.

However, Dacia's story in England isn't quite over. From 2012 we can look forward to the latest Duster. Last year a Dacia Sport was privately imported, and a late-model 1307 pick-up is already driving around the UK, also a private import. In addition, there's a reasonable chance that at least one Dacia Denem, still surviving though not on the road, will get restored. It won't be much, but at least it will ensure that this chapter of Dacia's history won't get completely forgotten.

26 June 2011

Steyr in Arad, 1979

Cu dedicatie pentru Automobilia, o fotografie cu un Steyr decapotabil, obosit dar inca in viata, in Arad in 1979. Inclin sa cred ca e 220 cu caroserie de fabrica, insa sunt sigur ca unii cititori cu mai mare expertisa in domeniul Steyr stiu mai bine. Bara e neoriginala, dar al doilea set de faruri cred ca sunt din fabrica (semnalizatoarele nu). Ma intreb pana cand supravietuise masina.

A convertible Steyr, battered but unbowed, in Arad in 1979. I think it is a factory-bodied 220 though am sure that other readers, more expert in Steyrs, will correct me if I'm wrong! The front bumper is not original, but the second set of headlights (not the indicators) could well be. I wonder how long this particular example survived.

16 June 2011

Bucuresti, acum 98 ani / Bucharest, 98 years ago

Courtesy of Radu Oltean, o poza fascinanta aratand soseaua Stefan cel Mare in 1913. Nu stiu ce marci de masina sunt in poza; un pasionat englez spune ca una ar putea sa fie Laurin & Klement Typ F. Chestia ciudata este ca toate par sa aiba parbrize foarte similare, de un model rar intalnit in acea perioada. In 1913 existau cam 1,000 masini pe tinutul Romaniei, deci o poza cu atatea autoturisme e de-a drept exceptionala.
Courtesy of Radu Oltean, a fascinating phot showing Stefan cel Mare Way in 1913. I have no idea what makes are in the picture; one English expert suggests Laurin & Klement Typ F. Interestinlgly, the windscreens all seem to be the same, of a type rarely found in that era. In 1913 there were 1000 cars in all Romania - so a picture showing so many of them is downright exceptional.

15 June 2011

Vanatoarea de epave, 2002-3 (I) / Wreck-hunting in 2002-3 (I)

Am inceput sa caut si sa fotografiez masini vechi in parcursul vacantelor mele in Romania in 2002/3. Din pacate eram mic, pozele sunt de proasta calitate, si nu prea am avut timp sa explorez cat as fi vrut. Totusi, 95% din ce am fotografiat e de mult fier vechi, deci m-am gandit sa impart cu voi "ce-am avut si ce-am pierdut"....

I nonly started photographing old vehicles in Romania on holiday there in 2002/3. ut I was young; the picture quality is largely very poor; and I had nowhere near enough time to really explore and photograph interesting vehicles to the extent that I could. Even so, 90% of what I snapped is now long gone, so I thought I'd share these pictures so we can see what we had and what we lost...
Skoda 1000MB, Oltenitei, Bucuresti

ZIL-111G, Constanta - vandut in strainatate
Autobuz neidentificat, Piatra Neamt
Volga M21, Ramnicu Sarat
Mercedes 180D "Ponton", Ardeal

Volga M24, Buhusi
Moskvich, Piatra Neamt

Ford Eifel, Roman

Karmann Ghia, Moskvich 407, Vauxhall Viva - Buhusi; KG cred ca e in curs de resturare

O masina studenteasca... / A student's car...

De pe picasaweb, un grup de studenti cu masina, in perioada 1977-1980. Pe atunci antebelicele nu eau extrem de cautate; exista nucleul miscarii automobilelor de epoca dar foarte multe masini antebelice erau considerate drept "vechituri", exact precum situatia masinilor din anii 60, pe care le gaseai ruginind in spatele oricarui bloc, pana prin 2005. Deci o antebelica, care se putea cumpara si cu cinci mii de lei in stare de functionare cand o Dcie noua era 70000, ar fi fost o masina perfecta pentru un student... Ma intreb daca acest grup de tineri arhitecti apreciau acest superb Opel Kapitan decapotabil pentru ca era ieftin sau pentru ca, cu liniile sale transatlantice in stil Art Deco, avea un stil cu totul aparte.

A photo from 1977-80, found on picasaweb, showing a group of students posing with their car. Back then, pre-war vehicles were not thought much of: although there was the nucleus of a classic car movement, most people considered them to be old wrecks, which is exaclty what they thought about 1960s cars (plenty of which could be found rusting in every suburban car park) until about 2005. So a pre-war car, which could be bought for as little as five thousand lei in running order (a new Dacia being 70000), could represent an ideal car for a student. I wonder if this group of young arrhitects liked their splendid Opel Kapitan convertible merely because it was cheap, or becasue they appreciated its transaltantic Art deco lines...

13 June 2011

Cu Ford Taunus in 1972 / With a Ford Taunus in 1972

Colegi de facultate in anii 70 - de pe picasaweb.google.com. Ford Tunus era o masina destul de comuna in acei ani, si una care inca se gaseste in numeroase exemplare astazi. Toate au fost importate in mod neoficial, sau in anii 70 sau in anii 90, si au fost destul de apreciate prin tara, mai ales pentru cei care vroiau ceva mai special decat o Dacie.

University friends in the 70s - from picasaweb.google.com. The Ford Taunus was a popular car in the 1970s, and one which can still be found fairly frequently in Romania. All were imported privately, either in the 70s or in the 90s, and they were a well-thought-of automobile for those who wanted something rather nicer than a Dacia.