19 September 2021

Skoda VOS in Romania

Cam toti pasionatii auto din Romania stiu despre drezina Skoda VOS in Sinaia, despre care tot circula zvonul ca a fost masina Anei Pauker. Masina fusese expusa la Fetesti. Ulterior a mai aparut una tot la Fetesti, care venise de la Medgidia. Mai mult, am gasit imagini (e drept, cam vechi) cu  a treia drezina, undeva intr-o zona de munte: se pare ca in total au fost cinci facute drezina.

Astazi pot sa va prezint o poza de-a dreptul exceptionala, aratand masinile elitei comuniste in anii 50. In poza se regasesc cinci Skoda VOS (din 107 fabricate), plus limuzine ZIS si ZIM, Buick model 1949, si Chevrolet model 1951. (Char daca era epoca cea mai dura a comunismului, "tovarasii" inca se faleau cu masini americane.)

Skoda VOS e foarte, foarte rara astazi. Una e in China, alta in Albania, in stare precara, alta la muzeul Skoda, inca una in Cehia intr-un muzeu si a cincea intr-o colectie particulara in Slovakia. Plus doua, posibil trei, in Romania. Acuma, trebuie si sa le pastram...

Drezina din Sinaia

Drezina din Fetesti...

...si cu cativa ani inainte de "restaurarea" ei

Misterioasa drezina de la munte

Most Romanian automotive enthusiasts are aware of the Skoda VOS draisine in Sinaia, which allegedly belonged to Ana Pauker (spoiler: it didn't). Previously, it had been on show, in the open air, in Fetesti. More recently another has surfaced in Fetesti, which originally came from Medgidia. And I've found images of a third, somewhere in the mountains, some time ago. In fact, it seems there were five VOS draisines in total. 

Today I can present a very rare image showing the cars of the Communist elite in the 1950s. There are no fewer than five VOSs, out of a total of 107 made, plus ZIL and ZIM limousines, a 1949 Buick and a 1951 Chevrolet - because even in at the height of the Stalinist era, the comrades enjoyed their American cars.

The VOS is an extremely rare beast. There's one in China; another languishing in Albania; one owned by Skoda and another in a Czech museum; and one privately owned example in Slovakia. Plus the two - or maybe three - on Romania. Now we just have to look after them...

30 September 2020

Autoturismele IAR, 1948 / The IAR automobiles, 1948

Via Horia Stoica si Marius Istodorescu - trei poze aratand cele trei automobile fabricate la Brasov la sfarsitul anilor 40. IAR - coupe, berlina, station.

Mie mi se par extraordinar de avansate fata de ce s-a fabricat in Romania ulterior - creatiile anilor 50 in Romania erau de-a deptul grosolane. Aceste masini, concepute intre 1942 si 1947, erau in linie cu ce se fabrica in occident - poate chiar mai avansate. Coupe-ul ar linii similare cu prototipul DKW din 1939; berlina seamana cu o combinatie din Pobeda si Peugeot 203. Se spune ca au fost pe baza de sasiu de Fiat 1100, dar cu motor conceput la Brasov (un exemplar de motor exista si astazi).

Masinile au circulat destul de mult - unele surse spun pana in 59, altele pana in anii 70. Au fost masini de serviciu pentru fabrica de avioane. 

Acum, o alta surpriza: o poza din 1957 cu masini din Piata Sfatului, Orasul Stalin, arata ... ceva foarte similar cu IAR coupe. Detaliie din fata sunt un pic diferite, mai ales pozitiile farurilor: concluzia mea e ca e vorba de IAR coupe, dar modificata, posibil in urma unui accident.

Ca fapt divers, mi se pare ca Brasovul anilor 50 era capitala automobilistica a Romaniei in acea perioda. In regiunea Stalin erau numai o mie de masini, dar printre ele doua Jaguaruri SS100, cele trei prototipuri IAR, un Fiat 1500 Roadster carosat de atelierele Stabilimenti Farina, un Mercedes 500K, o Alfa...


Via Horia Stoica and Marius Istodorescu - three photographs showing the prototypes built at IAR, in Brasov, in the late 1940s. According to historical sources three were made - a coupe, saloon, and estate.

I think they are fantastically advanced compared to the rough and ready vehicles that Romania ended up producing in the 1950s. They seem fully in line with Western practice - possibly even more advanced. The coupe seems to have been inspired by DKW prototypes, while the saloon looks like a cross between a Pobeda and a Peugeot 203. Worth noting, work on these cars started in 1942. Apparently the basis was the Fiat 1100, but with a locally designed engine (an example of which still exists).

They were staff cars for the Brasov aeroplane factory - some sources say they were scrapped in 1959, others in the 70s. 

A further surprise: a photo from Brasov (then known as Stalin City...) in 1957. The car in the middle seems to be the IAR coupe but with a different front end - possibly modified after an accident?

Incidentally, Brasov seems to have been the automotive capital of Romania in the 50s. Although there were only around 1000 cars registered, they included: two Jaguar SS100, a Mercedes 500K, an Alfa, the three IAR prototypes, and a Stabilimenti Farina Fiat 1500 Roadster...

23 June 2020

Masinile ambasadei britanice, 1958 / British Embassy cars, 1958

O imagine cu cladirea ambasadei britanice de pe Jules Michelet in 1958, aratand masinile diplomatice. Avem: Jaguar Mk 1, Rover P4, Austin A70, si un Land Rover. Probabil este vorba de masinile "oficiale", diplomatii avand de multe ori si automobile personale.

A rare image showing the British Embassy buildings in Bucharest, in 1958, featuring the Embassy fleet. We have: Jaguar Mk 1, Rover P4, Austin A70, and a Land Rover. I suspect these were the "official" Embassy vehicles as opposed to diplomats' private transport.

15 November 2019

Opel Vectra in flota guvernului / Opel Vectras in the Government fleet

In 1993, Serviciul de Protectie si Paza a cumparat o mica flota de Opel Vectra pentru flota oficiala. Aceste masini erau mai mult folosite de presedinte si anturaj, insa si alti demnitari se deplasau cu ele. Imagini cu asa ceva sunt relativ rare - in anii 90, nu mai era la moda sa fotografiezi vizitele oficiale. Primele trei poze au fost surprinse in Ploiesti de un turist britanic. Masinile au fost si negre, si albastru inchis, si au supravietuit pana prin 2006. Masinile au inlocuit Daciile si Aro-urile invechite, inclusiv o bruma de Dacii 2000 care si-au facut treaba pana cel putin 1995. Alte masini folosite in primii ani dupa 1989 au fost un Renault 25, dar de la Mitterrand, un Rover 800, care inca exista in colectia unui pasionat din tara, si cateva Opeluri Frontera. Mercedesurile au venit mai tarziu...

In 1993, the Romanian government bought a small fleet of Opel Vectras for official use. These were largely used by the President and his entourage, though also by other senior officials. Images with them are quite rare - in the 90s it was no longer popular to take photos of visiting politicians. The first three photos were taken by a British tourist in Ploiesti. The cars were black or dark blue, and lasted till about 2006. They replaced the old-fashioned Aros and Dacias, including a few Dacia 2000s which lasted till at least 1995. Other cars used in the post-1989 period were a Renault 25 received from Mitterrand, a Rover 800 which is still around in a private collection, and a few Opel Fronteras. The Mercs were to come later...

3 October 2019

Bucuresti 1965

O noua selectie de imagini, via fortepan.hu . Bucurestiul inca arata cochet si elegant, incepuse dezrusificarea, plus o oarecare deschidere catre occident... Cu un an inainte incepus importul la greu de Renault si Fiat, si deja sunt o prezenta semnificativa pe strazi. Erau si o bruma de alte masini vestice, o interbelica sau doua, si cativa masini in trecere (de remarcat Volgile din URSS cu numere consecutive)... Din pacate pozele nu au surprins ceva chiar palpitant dpdv automobilistic, doar o lume mult pierduta... Adaugam 2-3 poze bonus si de pe litoral.

A fresh selection of images via fortepan.hu. Bucharest still looked elegant; the de-Russification period had begun, and people were looking once more to the West... A year beforehand, the import of Fiats and Renaults had begun, and they are already a significant presence. Plus one or two other Western imports, a few pre-war survivors, and some tourists' cars (including some interesting Soviet Volgas with consecutive plates): sadly nothing truly exciting in terms of vehicles, just a long-disappeared world. As a bonus, two or three photos from the Black Sea coast.

VW, Simca Aronde, Wartburg din Polonia

Turisti sovietici?

Borcan de militie

Moskvich din reguinea Bacau

Opel antebelic in fata fostului hotel Lafayette

De remarcat Mercedesul si masina americana de prin 1947, plus un TV-4

Volga, Trabant, Opel, TV, si o masina carosata artizanal

Majoritatea masinilor din poza au maxim 1 an vechime. 

In Constanta

Opel Rekord Olympia Coupe

TV-uri, azi complet extincte....

Cladirea (si sculptura) inca exista

Ford nou dar deja bine calatorit. De remarcat sigla EU!

Pobeda pick-up si un Opel in trecere