The Romanian tax office will auction off former dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu’s favourite ARO jeep, impounded from a former businessman jailed for money laundering.
ARO, once the pride of the Romanian industry was built between 1957 and 2003 as an entirely domestic product and a total 380,000 were made, with two thirds of those exported to some 110 countries around the world.
The ARO 304 up for sale was built for Ceaușescu in 1975 and only some 30 percent of its parts were identical to those of the production model. Six of these have been built, no two of them exactly identical.
The one being sold now got its headlights from a model U650M tractor, its rear lights from the Romanian-licensed Oltcit (a Citroen copy), it has leather trim, a longer wheelbase and can sit seven. An off-road vehicle in name only, it has rear-wheel transmission and was actually meant for city parades.
With its 2.5 litre petrol engine it is severely underpowered, with a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). The few who actually drove it said it handles like an overweight cow.
This is the second attempt to auction it off. The first one this January failed because no one was willing to fork out the $34,000 asking price.
Title image: Former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu’s and his wife Elena riding the ARO 304 at a Bucharest parade..