IMS – The First Automobile Produced in Romania

© – Romanian automobile IMS

The automotive industry of Romania has its roots in the early 19th Century when Ford opened a representative office (1931). After 4 years, the first auto assembly line was produced, but World War I brought the Soviet influence and cars produced under Gaz brand were seen on Romanian streets. Still, Gaz models were released under Ford license.

Întreprinderea Metalurgică de Stat (IMS – Romanian acronym for State Metallurgical Company)  started to produce parts for Gaz cars and,  finally, the entire automobile. Thus, IMS Romanian car was born, very similar to Gaz 69 model. The first model was bearing the name IMS 57 (abbreviation of the name of Câmpulung Muscel plant and the year of manufacture). Some of its features were: total weight of 2265 kg, 50 horsepower, top speed of 80km/h, body executed on blocks of wood, 3-speed manual gearbox. As they were improved year after year, the next IMS models  were IMS 59 A (with a reduced weight of 70 kg, electric windshield wipers, modern board, spare wheel, V8 engine – from Ford V8 model etc.) and the next IMS 59 B. After these 2 cars, there was produced the M 461 prototype with 70 horsepower, top speed of 100 km/h, synchromesh gearbox and car body, windscreen and chassis executed in series production technology.

At the end of the ‘60s, Romania was the 6th European country producing and exporting SUVs (off-road vehicles) due to high production rate and quality models. In 1973, 10.000 cars were destined for export, and, in 1975, approximately 46.500 cars.

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Many of IMS models were used for military and defense purposes, specially designed for rugged terrain (such as ARO M 461 – the Carpathian Bison or ARO M 461 C, models “disguised” with khaki colour, Romanian flag on the car doors, camouflaged lights, flexible antenna and so on). Car lovers from Romania, especially those who worked in the army or other national defense institutions, are reconsidering these traditional vehicles and turn them into authentic jewels after restoration. Of course, every car lover should keep up with the latest jewelries on four wheels, the finest restorations of old cars and many more, reason why one must visit Salonul Auto Moto București (Bucharest Auto-Moto Salon), opened from the 3rd to 7th of April in Piața Constituției, near the House of the People.

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