19 January 2022

Masini oficiale, 1966 / Official cars, 1966

Dintr-o arhiva sarba, imagini impresionante cu vizita lui Tito in Romania in aprilie 1966. Se vad o gramada de Mercedesuri si Opeluri Admiral, proaspat importate de stat, plus celebrul Cadillac decapotabil din 1960 folosit initial de Dej, apoi de Ceausescu. Remarcam si flota de motociclete BMW, un Chevrolet Impala model 1962, folosit pentru filmari, care astazi supravietuieste in Austria, o limuzina Mercedes 600 Pullman, si inca un Cadillac 1960, berlina. Adaugam si cateva poze cotidiane facute de echipa iugoslava. Numerele, in format xxxx-B, urmau sa se schimbe in luna urmatoare.

From a Serbian archive, some impressive images of Tito's visit to Romania in April 1966. There are a lot of Mercedes and Opel Admirals, recently imported for use by the state, plus the famous 1960 Cadillac convertible first used by Gheorghiu-Dej and then by Ceausescu. Also visible is the fleet of BMW motorcylces, a 1962 Chevrolet Impala used for filming, which still exists in Austria, a Mercedes 600 Pullman, and a 1960 Cadillac Sedan. Also featuring are a few shots of daily life made by the Yugoslavian team. The licence plates, in the xxxx-B format, were to change in the following month.











































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...

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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.