1976 Dacia 1300 Sedan 1.3 from Romania
Very good car if you service it properly & buy good parts, not all junk cheap garbage parts!
Not many things consider I drove it very recklessly. The water pump was a piece of garbage and did a strange noise + it didn't turn the propeller right, so I had to replace it with a better one (not a big deal).
My engine belt failed, broke because it was very old, but I managed to tie it on the side of the road and drove another 50km until I found a new one that I replaced myself.
I bought it, and a week later I made a 3000km trip, no problems with it, but the car was kinda slow and the highest speed I could reach was around 130km/h. I mean it had 197.000 km - original factory engine - but it was pretty slow so I thought the engine was at the end of its life. Took it to the service place and the problem was the clutch; after I replaced the clutch disc and whatever, it felt like I had a new engine in it. Took it on the highway and reached 140km/h no problems. Also all the service bill was around 100 dollars with parts and all.
The car is pretty reliable if you put good quality mechanical parts on it.
The car sat from 2001 to 2011 in a "shelter"; it was so dusty when I saw it I couldn't even tell what color it was. I talked to the owner and told him if the car starts and runs OKish (consider it sat 10 years) I'd buy it. Put a new battery in it, poured some gas in, cranked the engine, and it started 4th try; ran like a dream, couldn't believe my eyes.
Took it to the service, had to do the brakes on it, changed oil + filters and whatever it needed. And it surprised me every time; in the winter it had good heat on longer trips. Also you can easily pass those newish cars with all their 4x4 and electronic AWD assists and so on, even if the Dacia has only FWD (I'm guessing this is because the car weighs only 855kg when empty). So it's lighter, and also the ground clearance is very good; on bumpy roads you won't have problems with it even if you "fully load" it with people and luggage. The suspension is good and it is a very stable car on all types of terrain / roads, even at higher speeds.
The only downside of it, it's the engine, which has only 54 horsepower, and when the car is fully loaded, it struggles when trying to overtake or let's say if you go in the mountains and you have to go uphill, you'll usually use only the 2nd and 3rd gears (has only 4 gears).
I drove it 15k km after I bought it (first year), and the second year I bought a new engine set for it (because I found it very cheap) and replaced the original engine set because it had started to eat some oil. With the second engine set I drove the car for 78-80k km with no problems, only the normal, usual maintenance.
Also the consumption on it was OK, for a 45 year old car:
Urban: 8-9 liters / 100km.
Extra: 6-7 liters / 100km.
Other than these I am pretty impressed with it. I sold it a few months ago to some car collector guy for a pretty good price because now they are classic cars and you can get good money for it; if you can believe I bought it for 300 USD and sold it for 900 USD after I used it so many years and with so many miles on it, but it was in original shape (most of it), although rust appeared on some parts. Now I have a new Ford; it is an automatic and I have to tell you that sometimes I really wish I hadn't sold the Dacia. I think it was one of the best cars I ever had, very cheap to maintain, and reliable. If something did "break" you could still run it on its wheels to the closest service location.
BTW I am not Romanian; I came to Romania from China. Salut toti romani! Romania is a very nice country with very, very nice people; very helpful and beautiful. They are honest people and very smart. They helped me and my family a lot when I came here. Now I want to buy the new Dacia, which comes with an automatic gearbox for my wife; it is a very good reliable car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th September, 2018