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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-27-2010 04:08 AM
popa As I said some (long) time ago, I will tell you few things about another Romanian brand: Dacia (you have seen in a previous post the last release of Dacia, the Duster SUV).
So, how dit it start?
In the '60s, the Romanian dictator (Ceausescu) wanted to produce a simple, popular car for the people. Then, the government started to search for possible partners (Fiat, Renault, Ford, etc). Eventually, due to te good relationship that our country had with France, an agreement was signed with Renault, and thus, a new company was born: UAP (Uzina de Automobile Pitesti - Pitesti Car Factory, Pitesti being the city where the factory was built).
The agreement granted the licence for the Renault 8 car, that was produced under the name Dacia 1100 (1100 cmc engine), from 1968 to 1971. At the beginning, the car was just assembled in Romania, being delievered as CKD kits:



A small number of 1100S (that was the Renault 8S gordini version) were produced, mainly for the police and motorsport



This is a kind of advertising move of that time: D A C I A 1100


More to come, soon.....
03-04-2010 08:08 AM
popa Now, after Jerry fed my self-esteem, I come back with a short movie, made during the test period of Dacia Duster. Even if it is only an SUV, it looks kinda promissing: YouTube - Dacia Duster 4x4 Test
I promise to come back soon with a post showing where from it all started....
03-03-2010 01:32 AM
Jerry Bransford Well, you certainly did well in your English studies and your grammar & punctuation is better than most native-born Americans can produce. Nice, we should all strive to write so well.
03-03-2010 01:09 AM
popa Thanks Jerry. I will try to continue my posts about our car industry and its history.
About my English, well, I had the oportunity to study in English my whole university (in Romania, but all the classes, exams, etc were in English) and I had, also, the opportunity to study a little bit abroad, by the help of some scolarships (I have studied in Darlington, UK, London, UK and Barcelona, Spain).
03-02-2010 01:20 PM
Jerry Bransford VERY cool stuff Popa, I'm enjoying your posts here very much.

Also, where did you learn to write in English so well? Your English is superb and your grammar & punctuation is perfect. Far better than most native-born Americans, that is for sure. I cringe at much of the English and grammar written on the various forums, yours is like a welcome breath of fresh air.
03-02-2010 08:46 AM
popa
A new SUV was born

Today was launched in front of the press the new Dacia Duster: a new Romanian SUV (well, it is designed by Renault...): Bine aţi venit pe dacia.ro
It promises to be a market hit throughout Europe, because of the reliability proved by Dacia lately, combined with a low price for this kind of car.
01-19-2010 12:56 PM
yj-genral im digging the crosslander
01-18-2010 09:52 AM
popa
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff@Bestop View Post
Popa: So in the end an American killed them off? Ouch.
I have to admit,though, that the last ones - the green and white Crosslander's - look pretty sharp.

It's too bad about the reliability. I like the idea of a super simple, super tough off road car. The kind of vehicle that's way overbuilt. Like truck axles and gears, but still lightweight. I was imagining that these Eastern European vehicles were like that, but it doesn't sound like it in this case.

I'd drive the black pickup truck in the video!
At the beginning, they were extremely reliable. During the time, they wanted to do some economies and they cut from the quality of the materials.
On the other hand, the models that were produced to be exported, were carefully made, so they were far better than the ones sold on our market.
It's the same with Lada Niva, for instance. The old ones were more reliable than the new ones (even if they are, actually, exactly the same car).

The black pick-up was a prototipe made by a Czech Aro dealer: http://www.aro4x4.cz/english/
01-18-2010 09:13 AM
Geoff@Bestop
Quote:
Originally Posted by popa View Post
They are not GAZ (less the Gaz 61 - te first row, on the right). The rest are all ARO/IMS .
I knew that. I think I was using GAZ generically, like people say "Jeep" even when they're talking about Suzuki's, for example.
01-18-2010 09:11 AM
Geoff@Bestop Popa: So in the end an American killed them off? Ouch.
I have to admit,though, that the last ones - the green and white Crosslander's - look pretty sharp.

It's too bad about the reliability. I like the idea of a super simple, super tough off road car. The kind of vehicle that's way overbuilt. Like truck axles and gears, but still lightweight. I was imagining that these Eastern European vehicles were like that, but it doesn't sound like it in this case.

I'd drive the black pickup truck in the video!
01-18-2010 08:30 AM
popa I will end today my ARO series and, if anyone interested, I will continue later this week with some other Romanian brands (Dacia cars, Roman trucks, etc).
So, coming back to ARO, after the end of the comunist era, the company struggled to cope with the capitalism and, after several attempts to upgrade the existing models (new engines were introduced: Cosworth engine, matched with an automatic transmission was introduced, also Peugeot and Toyota diesels - all for ARO 24 range, Renault and Daewoo engines for the ARO 10 range), they couldn't match with the demands of the market. All these attempts leaded to no results due to the poor quality of the rest of the components (the drive-line was completely unreliable, so was the body - rust was a common issue, etc).
Unfortunately, in 2003 the Romanian government signed the contract by which ARO was sold to Cross Lander USA (Crosslander Houston), in fact a Brasilian company, owned by a Floridian guy, Mr. John Perez, who presented a "new" concept car, called Cross Lander 244X that was, in fact, the same ARO 244 with some "tuning" elements, like: winch, extra fog-lights, roof-rack etc (Cross Lander No Boundaries 4X4 options Page). He commited himself to continue the production of ARO vehicles, stated that he was ready to export them in the USA, Canada etc. But nothing of these happened. Instead he stopped the production, fired all the workers and sold part of the factory, for the land (although, by the contract signed, it was not permitted). Nowadays, ARO factory doesn't exist anymore, but the ARO vehicles exist on the roads and off the roads.

A nice movie made by a Czech dealer: YouTube - Aro 240 4x4 Pick Up Off Road diesel & Gasoline engines

The Cross Lander:
01-15-2010 07:33 AM
popa In 1980, a completely new model was launched: ARO 10. A small SUV (1.4 liter engine, 65hp), with no chasis available both in 4x2 or 4x4 configuration (the last one, having a low range).
Initially, it existed in two body variants: 2 doors soft-top and 2 doors steel top.
Later on, other variants were developed (pick-up, double cab pick-up, 4 doors, end even a kind of roadster - Aro Spartana) and they received several face-lifts.
01-15-2010 07:10 AM
popa Later on, at the end of '70s - beginning of the '80s there were some face-lifts operated (new radiator grill, new bumpers, new dashboard etc), the engines were changed with more efficient engines and the range was extended (the 320- pick-up, 323 - ambulance, 246 - a combined version of 243 and 244, 324 - double cab pick-up, etc).
The ARO's took part in different competitions (The Pharaon's Rally, Paris-Dakar etc) and it was largely exported.
It was even assembled under license in several countries (in Portugal, for instance, it was called PortAro, and it was assembled there).
One thing (important one) is to be mentioned: due to the "beheficial" effects of the comunist regime, the economy (of materials, manpower etc) started to be the key issue and this leaded to a decrease in quality, thus resulting a decreasing reliability.
01-15-2010 06:36 AM
popa Now, few words about the "modern" era of ARO.
In 1972 a new model was born: ARO 240 - a totally different car: independent front suspension, low range, modern shape, new engine (2.5 liters and 83hp) and, starting with 1973 a diesel engine (although some ofe the exported M461 were fitted with diesel engines: Perkins or Indenor).
The first models were ARO 240, 2 doors soft-top body, 241, 4 doors soft-top, 242 - pick-up, 243 - a kind of station wagon (3 doors, higher body with lateral seats in the back), 244 - four doors.
01-15-2010 02:05 AM
popa Some IMS in action: YouTube - MVI 4398 YouTube - Cu IMS-ul la plimbare YouTube - urcare aro m461
01-15-2010 01:45 AM
popa
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff@Bestop View Post
Thanks! Sometimes it's easy, as an American, to think we invented the car, and that all the great car things happened here. I really like learning about cars from "unexpected" places.

Plus, I love the GAZ!

I have this opinion that they are incredibly tough, very simple vehicles. I always imagine Eastern Europeans fixing them with nothing but wire and a hammer.

I've seen some Youtube videos of them driving through incredibly deep water and climbing nasty stuff.

That last photo, of the nicely restored GAZ is definitely something I would drive.
They are not GAZ (less the Gaz 61 - te first row, on the right). The rest are all ARO/IMS (as I said, at the beginning they were a kind of copies of GAZ, but at the end, the M461, for instance, it sembled only visually)!
I posted there some links that explain more in details what I have briefly written. They are very interesting documents and there are lots of photos with such cars.
The only inconvenient was only that most of them has not a transfer case with low range gears. On the other hand the 1st gear is demultiplied enough to serve as a low range.
I've seen them in action many times (especially the last one, that is pulling the YJ to start) and they are great.
01-14-2010 10:41 PM
Geoff@Bestop Thanks! Sometimes it's easy, as an American, to think we invented the car, and that all the great car things happened here. I really like learning about cars from "unexpected" places.

Plus, I love the GAZ!

I have this opinion that they are incredibly tough, very simple vehicles. I always imagine Eastern Europeans fixing them with nothing but wire and a hammer.

I've seen some Youtube videos of them driving through incredibly deep water and climbing nasty stuff.

That last photo, of the nicely restored GAZ is definitely something I would drive.
01-14-2010 08:28 PM
jeep41 I want them all
01-14-2010 04:16 PM
RatherBNarizona that last one is my favorite!
01-14-2010 04:06 PM
little1989jeep i would drive any of them
01-14-2010 11:05 AM
distortedtj Very cool vehicles.
01-14-2010 08:44 AM
popa
Romanian cars

As suggested by Geoff, I will start writing few words about the Romanian cars and trucks. Unfortunately, I don't have plenty of time, so I will try to be brief.
I will start with ARO (Automobil ROmanesc - Romanian Car - it's a stupid name, I admit, but that's the way things were during that epoch), 'cause it has common roots with the Jeep.
ARO was the first (and almost only one) off-road car produced in my country.
I've already mentioned that ARO and Jeep have common roots, and I will explain why: in between 1940 and 1941, Bantam produced the BRC-60, one of the first "Jeep" models (1940 Bantam BRC 60 - Off-Road Adventures Magazine). In 1941 the Russians came with Gaz 64 (GAZ-64 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), that seemed to be a copy of BRC-60 (some says that, in fact, it was the military version of the civilian 4x4 car GAZ 61, some others say it's a copy of Bantam: First Russian Jeep GAZR-1 is a Bantam copy).
GAZ range of 4x4 cars evolved up to GAZ 69, in 1952 (GAZ-69 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
The Romanian army and Romanian Police had, at that time, a lot of GAZ vehicles so, it was decided to start at the IMS factory (Intreprinderea Metalurgica de Stat) the production of spare parts. After IMS succeeded to produce most of the spare parts for the GAZ 69 it started to produce the car itself (at that time, between comunist countries there was no need for patents or licenses), called IMS 57 (Site oficial al ARO M461 CLUB ROMANIA - Sectie a Retromobil Club Romania).
In 1959, a new car was produced, the IMS 59 (Site oficial al ARO M461 CLUB ROMANIA - Sectie a Retromobil Club Romania). This was more than an improved version of IMS 57 (from wich, at the beginning, it inherited the shape - but not the dimensions - engine, transmission and axles but, lately, a new engine was developed, etc). The chassis and the body were slighty different from IMS 57.
In 1961, a new model was introduced, the IMS M461 (Site oficial al ARO M461 CLUB ROMANIA - Sectie a Retromobil Club Romania). This was a redesigned version of M59. It had a completely new engine (2.5 liters, 70hp), new brakes, new gearbox etc.
From the first years of production it proved to be a real success. The car was extremely reliable, extremely capable off the road, this leading at "massive" (for that time) exports all over the world - more than 53.000 cars in 55 countries (the Egiptian Army used ARO M461 until recently).
The model was produced untill 1975 (from 1969 it was called ARO M461C - it was for the first time the name ARO was used, mainly from marketing reasons - especially for the export markets): Site oficial al ARO M461 CLUB ROMANIA - Sectie a Retromobil Club Romania
Even now, there are a lot of enthusiasts, in Romania and abroad, that own these cars, either in restored original shape, or modified ones: Site oficial al ARO M461 ROMANIA - Sectie a Retromobil Club Romania

A very important event in ARO's history was, in 1971, the Romanian Trans-African Expedition.

A sales brochure (in French): ARO M461 brochure

The more modern era of Aro will follow soon.....

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