26 October 2011

Placutele de inmatriculare pentru familia regala / Royal family license plates

Pentru ca astazi e ziua in care regele Mihai implineste 90 ani, m-am gandit sa pun ceva cu tema regala... E vorba despre tablitele care impodobeau masinile familiei regale in perioada interbelica. Nu toate masinile lor aveau asa ceva - spre exemplu, Duesenbergul printului Nicolae circula cu numarul 10-B in anii 30 - dar majoritatea aveau. In anii mai recenti, regele Mihai a fost vazut margand cu Dacia Logan cu numarul B-xx-REX: amuzant, dar nu atat de estetic ca aceste superbe tablite. Masinile in poze sunt Aero 30 (existent si astazi), Hispano-Suiza, si Mercury 1939.

As today is King Michael's 90th birthday, I thought I would present something with a royal theme, most specifically the special number plates used on royal vehicles in the interwar period. Not all royally-owned cars had them - Prince Nicolae's Duesnberg, for example, had the simple 10-B - but most did. More recently, the King has been seen in a Dacia Logan with the plate B-xx-REX: witty, but not as aesthetically pleassing as these superb plates. The vehicles visible are Aero 30 (still in Romania today), Hispano-Suiza, and Mercury 1939.

19 October 2011

Calatorie in timp / Journey back in time

In acest video superb se poate vedea Bucurestiul in 1964 dintr-un taximetru Volga, nr 10214-B-Tx. Multe zone sunt relativ centrale si cunoscute - Lipscani, Victoriei si Magheru sunt inconfundabile - dar, per total, e vorba de un Bucuresti complet schimbat.

Din punct de vedere automobilistic, doua puncte de interest: microbuzul TV-4M nou nout, model care se introdusese chiar in acel an, si americanca din anii 50 (Buick? Chevrolet) in fasa unei case de mahala. Cum am mai spus, in anii 50 masinile americane erau foarte cautate de catre nomenclatura. Multe si-au gasit drumul peste cortina de fier, si unele exista chiar astazi - de obicei, din pacate, in stare avansata de degradare.

In this superb video one can see 1964 Bucahrest from the windscreen of a Volga taxi, registered 10214-B-Tx. Many areas are central and well-known - Lipscani, Victoriei and Magheru are unmistakeable - but overall Bucharest has changed enormously.

From an automotive point of view, the two interesting sights are the brand new TV-4M minibus, introduced that year, and the 1950s American barge (Buick? Chevrolet?) parked outside a suburban house. As I have said before, American cars were very popular with the Romanian nomenklatura in the 1950s. Many found their way across the Iron Curtain, and several exist now - sadly by and large derelict.

16 October 2011

Mercedes 600 ... x2

Toata lumea stie ca pentru cele mai importante parade oficiale, Ceausescu folosea un Mercedes 600 Pullman Landaulette (foto 1,2, din fototeca comunista). Intre 1964 si 1980, modelul 600 era varful de gama a companiei din Stuttgart. Peste doua maii au fost construite, marea majoritate berline. 59 Laundaulette decapotabile au fost fabricate. Masina exista si astazi intr-un muzeu in Bourgogne, Franta (foto 3, 4), dedicat masinilor prezidentiale. Ar fi interesat de aflat cum a iesit din Romania (dupa anii 70 nu a mai fost folosit, si nu a fost in licitatia din 2004, deci probabil a plecat putin dupa 1980), dar nu ne ocupa asta azi, pentru ca, rasfoind prin imagini vechi, am descoperit ca in Romania a mai existat un model 600, de data asta o "simpla" berlina. Masina se vede in poza 5. nu e atat de spectaculoasa ca Landaulette, bine inteles, dar oricum e vorba de un model care la vremea lui concura in direct cu Rolls-Royce, Bentley, si Cadillac Fleetwood. Dupa numere, masina se afla in dotarea guvernului. Ma intreb unde mergea, si pe cine cara in 1972, cand fotograful, un turist german, a indraznit sa o fotografieze...

Ca postscript, 600 nu e extinct in tara, un exemplar identic cu cel din poza 5 fiind in colectia Tiriac.

It's very wel known that Ceasuescu's top official car was a Mercedes 600 Pullman Landaulette. Between 1964 and 1980, the 600 was the top of the range Mercedes. Over 200 were built, but only 59 were Landaulettes. Ceasuescu's car still exists today (photo 3,4) in a museum in Burgundy, France, dedicated to presidential cars. I wonder how it reached there - the car was not used after the 1970s, was not in the 2004 auction of the Ceasuescu cars, so I assume it was exported in the early 80s. However, the shock of today is realising that there was more than one 600 in Romania at the time - the car in photo 5. It's not as spectacular as the Landaulette, of course, but still very impressive considering it was a direct competitor to Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Cadillac Fleetwood. Judging from the plates it was Government owned. I wonder where it was going in 1972, and who it was carrying, when the German tourist took the risk of taking a snapshot...

Incidentally the 600 lives in Romania, an example identical to photo 5 being in the Tiriac collection.

11 October 2011

Poze vechi cu Peugeot 404 in Romania / Old photos with Peugeot 404 in Romania / Anciennes photos avec des Peugeot 404 en Roumanie

Pentru amatorii de Peugeot 404:
1) Biserica rusa in 1985, colectia Cristian Malide. Peugeotul, proprietatea unui localnic, a ramas acolo in stare decenta pana prin 2008.
2) Dina Papana, pilot de curse, in Peugeot 404 Coupe
3) Moteulul Malu in anii 70
4) Bucuresti, strada Episcopiei, circa 1972
5) Bucuresti 1977
6) Brasov, carte postala circulata 1966, poza e probabil un pic mai veche
7) Bucuresti, 1971 cu numere de ambasada, langa propaspatul construit Intercontintenal.
Peugoetul 404 nu a fost importat in Romania oficial; totusi, in anii 60 si 70, destule exemplare si-au gasit drumul peste granita. Peformanta dar si solida, era comparabila cu Renault 16 sau Fiat 1800. Nu era masina de "mare stab" sau nomenclaturist, dar, fara discutie, proprietarii erau oameni profesionisti cu posibilitati financiare. Majoritatea au fost in Bucuresti, ardelenii preferand, per total, masinile nemtesti. Si astazi au supravietuit, inca nu extrem de multe, probabil 20 sau 25.

Pour les amateurs de Peugeot 404:
1) L'eglise russe a Bucarest en 1985, collection Cristian Malide. Le 404, voiture d'un riverain, est reste la jusqu'au 2008.
2) Dina Papana dans sa 404 coupe
3) Le motel Malu dans les annees 70
4) Bucarest, rue Episcopiei (pres de l'Athenee), circa 1972
5) Bucarest 1977
6) Brasov, carte postale circulee en 1966. Le photo est probablement un peu plus vieille
7) Bucarest 1971, avec des plaques diplomatiques, pres de l'hotel Intercontinental qui venet d'etre bati.
Le 404 n'etait pas importe officiellement en Romanie, mais beaucoup des examples y ont venu dans les annees 60 et 70. C'etait consideree une voiture performante et fiable, comparable au Renault 16 ou Fiat 1800. Les propreietaies n'etaient pas vraiment le nomenklatura mais ils etaient sans doute aises. La pluplart des 404 etaient a Bucarest; les gens dans les villes de Transylvanie prefereraient importer des voitures allemandes. Maintenant les 404 existent meme en Roumanie, mais je doubte que numero des exemplaires soit plus de 20 ou 25.

For fans of the Peugeot 404:
1) At the Russian Church in Bucharest in 1985, photo c/o Cristian Malide. The Peugeot belonged to a local resident and was there until around 2008.
2) Racer Dina Papana in her 404 Coupe
3) Malu motel, 1970s,
4) Episcopei Street in Bucharest, next to the Athenaeum, c. 1972
5) Bucharest 1977
6) Brasov, from a 1966 postcard so the photo is probably a bit older
7) Diplomatic car in Bucharest, 1971, next to the newly built Hotel Interncontinental.
The Peugeot 404 was never officially imported into Romania, but a decent number found their way there in the 1960s and 70s. It was considered a good, solid, reliable car, similar to the Renault 16 or Fiat 1800. Owners were not really Communist elite but certianly propserous professionals. Most 404s were in Bucharest; cities in Transylvania tended to prefer importing German cars. Today the 404 survives in Romania but in smallish numbers, probably no more than 20 or 25.

9 October 2011

Volga si Warszawa, Dobrogea

Mandria socialismului! Volga M21 si Warszawa erau printre cele mai raspandite masini "mari" pe soselele patriei. Au fost importate cateva mii - si pentru institutii, si pentru persoane fizice. Volga, fiind masina mai moderna, a avut o rata de supravietuire mult peste Warszawa, model care isi trage originea din Pobeda anilor 40. Modelul de Volga prezentat aici e generatia 2, produs intre 1958 si 1962. Poza e suprinsa intre 1966 si 1968 in Constanta. Warszawa din poza e relativ rara pentru Romania, fiind un model 200, stil fastback, produs inainte de 1964. Majoritatea exemplarelor in Romania sunt modele post-64, in trei volume, denumite 223. DB = Dobrogea, nu Dambovita.

The pride of socialism! The Volga M21 and Warszawa were among the most common "full-size" cars on Romanian roads. A few thousand would have been imported, both for individuals and for institutions. The more modern Volga - of which this is a second generation example, moade between 1958 and 1962 - has a higher rate of survival than the Warszawa, which traces its origins to the 1940s Pobeda. The example of the Warszawa shown here is a pre-1964 200, still with the fastback body style; most examples in Romania, however, were the later three-box 223. This photograph was taken between 1966 and 1968 in Constanta, Dobrogea region.

6 October 2011

Noi imagini bucurestene, 1968 / New images of Bucharest, 1968

Inca sapte poze cu aspecte mai putin fotografiate din Bucurest. E vorba de zonele Gara Nord si Buzesti, astazi in paragina sau demolate. Remarcam un autobuz interbelic (sau imediat postbelic - Praga?) inca in functiune, precum si un Peugeot 404 visiniu si un Trabant 601, poate singra masina din poze care ne este arhicunoscuta si astazi.

Seven more photos, this time showing two lesser-photographed zones of Bucharest, Gara Nord and Buzesti, areas which are now either extremely dilapidated or knocked down. Alongside the prewar (or elary postwar - Praga?) bus, of interest is the burgundy Peugeot 404 and early Trabant, probably the only car in the photo which is instantly familiar to all.

5 October 2011

Ultima Dacie Denem? / The last Dacia Denem?

Triste poze ... Masina, cu faruri de Renault, e moarta din 2005. Ultima speranta e break-up inchis intr-o sura din anii 80 ... daca nu l-ar fi mancat rugina ...

Sad photos ... The car, with Renault lights, died in 2005. The final hope is the estate locked in a barn since the 80s ... if rust hasn't eaten it away ...

4 October 2011

Bucuresti din aer, 1941 / Bucharest from the air, 1941

Inca niste imagini din minunata colectie Pragher, aratand Bucuresti vazut din aer, 1941. Remarcam atat startea excelenta a soselelor cat si masinile americane...

Several more images from the Pragher collection showing Bucharest from the air in 1941. The condition of the roads is a impressive as the American cars!