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.

General Comments:

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

1976 Dacia 1300 Berlina 1.3 from Romania


Definitely a first car - you learn everything :)


I can't list all the things that have gone wrong with the car, this car requires constant maintenance. Small things, sometimes bigger things, the worst was an engine rebuilding, but I have to admit I forced the engine too much so it's my fault.

Note: the car stood in the garage for 9 years (after my father died) and I replaced the battery and the car started with that old oil/gas... imagine that!

General Comments:

You have to know that this car is a people's car in Romania. Everybody knows how to service the car and men usually service it for themselves. It's a different world from the USA. Very different, but not necessarily worse... here you have all the comfort, but you also depend heavily on servicemen.

This car is VERY cheap if you think in terms of US dollars, a complete engine rebuild cost me $250 and that is the biggest repair you can have on the car.

Although an old car with only 1.3L engine with a modest 57HP I managed 137kmh when the car was 26 years old, that's not far from the manufacturer's listed 140 km/h (87.5 mph) max. I could regularly go with 120kmh although for overtaking you have to think ahead because at high speeds you have really low acceleration :)

My suspensions are very old still the car can turn well and maintains a good handling. You have very good field of view in all directions, you see where the car ends and starts (unlike US cars), maybe the A column can bother you at sharp turns. My heating did not work very well, but that's a common problem... that was the worst thing actually about my car it gets pretty cold in Romania during the winter (-20C or around 0F) and you would really want heating, but oh well you just need to dress up a bit better. (don't dream about having anything power or AC in this car if you add it it will fail you the engine is not strong enough). I've seen custom added heating systems that worked really fine (using the car's cooling system (water cooled engine) ) so with a minor investment you could end up solving that problem too.

I managed a 7L/100km (35 mpg) on highway and in city it's usually 10L/100km.

Nobody wants to break into your car, it does not stand out of the crowd etc (advantage).

Biggest advantage: because it's so cheap to maintain, you can drive off-road and not worry much I driven past 4x4 new shiny Toyota's stuck in mud (you would be amazed where this car will take you) and the other thing: the whole suspension setup is modified so it takes well the usual bumpy Romanian roads, you will have less problems with bearings and stuff (anyway they are cheap even if you have to replace them).

The car is faithful if you service it it lasts, it does not break down randomly, just regularly.

I think that if you don't care about looks and want a cheap car in Romania, go for it. Expect servicing though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th September, 2003

21st Nov 2005, 17:02

Extremely well written, not abundant in details, but offering the most important ones and depicting an accurate image of this automobile "as is".The author, if I may say, is a bit "in love" with it, and this is a common status amongst Romanians, for whom Dacia meant a lot in so many ways!

I admit I am one of them myself!