In Romania, the Dacia 1300 is considered one of the cars responsible for democratizing private vehicle use. Such was its success that more than two million units were sold throughout its 35 years of commercial life.
In Romania, neither Volkswagen nor the Beetle has become household names. Instead, the 'people's car' title is for the Dacia 1300. Between the 1970s and 1980s, this model gave thousands of Romanian citizens access to all the freedoms provided by using a private vehicle. Mihai, a Renault Technologies engineer at the Titu factory, is one of the many fans of this iconic model. Proud of having fixed and restored his father's Dacia 1310, he accompanies us on a journey aboard his precious unit while he tells us his story.
As one of the most iconic cars on the Romanian automobile scene, the Dacia 1300 left its mark on drivers' memory for more than three decades. A car for all audiences that was even used as a taxi in many territories. As Mihai points out, "the Dacia 1300 is a robust, simple and comfortable car; qualities faithful to Dacia's DNA". At the beginning of the 1970s, the Dacia 1300 was not only the most modern car in Eastern Europe but also the most economical. With a sale price that today would be equivalent to about 3,200 euros, the Dacia 1300 soon became a genuine best seller.
Mihai owns a 1.3-liter petrol Dacia 1310 TLX that his father bought in 1992. Known as the Dacia 1300 between 1969 and 1979, an identical copy of the French Renault 12, it would later become the Dacia 1310 until 2004. Mihai clarifies that "the two main differences between the 1300 and 1310 are the new design at the front with four lights and black central grille and the rear optics".
In the mid-1980s, 98% of Dacia car parts and components came from local production lines. Over the years, this situation has facilitated the repair and restoration of classic models with original features. For example, Mihai was able to restore his Dacia 1310 TLX to its original condition with the support of the regional grid of Dacia fans: "As time goes by, there are more and more Dacia fans in Romania. And every year, there are more Romanians who discover the Dacia 1310 model".
Beyond being a collector's item, Mihai usually drives his Dacia 1310 daily. As a result, the Romanian engineer has many memories of this model: from his first vacation to his first steps as a driver. But beyond all this, Mihai takes pride in driving a car that he considers a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation.
Between 1969 and 2004, Dacia managed to sell more than 2 million units of this car. Throughout these 35 years of commercial life, the Dacia 1300 underwent no less than six evolutions. In 2006, the iconic Romanian model said goodbye to welcoming the Dacia Logan. Beyond its local market, the Dacia 1300 also reached other territories in Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.