In part 2 of our road trip in Romania you could read about the Concours d’Elegance that was held in Sinaia as well driving on a wonderful mountain road without a destination. To top it off we were accompanied by Alex Sobran from Petrolicious. Our trip turned out to be an enormous success but it was about to get better.
The day that followed had a lot to offer. The first stop was Oldtimer Studios which restores old cars. The idea is that affluent individuals arrive with a bag of money and an old rusty wreck and leave with a “brand new” vintage car. In addition to restoring cars from scratch, small adjustments of the brakes and other safety-related items are done. Customers arrive from all over Europe and are attracted by the lower prices compared to the competitors in Germany and England.
Thereafter, the tour brought us to the car collection of Romania’s richest man – the Tiriac Collection. More observant readers will notice that it was his Cadillac which won best in show at the Concours we attended the day before. His collection is impressive, even by international standards. Among the estimated 400 cars there was a Ferrari F40, LaFerrari, a Jaguar XJ220, the world’s oldest working car, a Porsche 959, a Mercedes-McLaren SLR Stirling Moss and roughly ten Mercedes-Benz 600 which happens to be Tiriac’s favorite car.
However, the most stunning aspect is not the number of cars nor which cars they happen to be for that matter. The most remarkable facet is that Tiriac has a whole team working full-time with both the maintenance but also the restoration of vintage cars. We met one of the mechanics who quickly made it clear that he was one of the last artisans within the occupation. He explained that he does all work without the help of manuals. He simply knows what an American V8 should sound like and used his ears to calibrate the engines. His passion came across in such a candid manner that both Marcus and I were overwhelmed with emotion. The visit at the Tiriac Collection was fantastic, primarily because it gave us hope for humanity. I personally would have hired that mechanic in a heartbeat if I would have the assets to do so.
Finally, the time came to conclude our short yet intensive trip to Romania. When it comes to those predispositions us Europeans have when it comes to the country, none really rings true except for the fact that everyone drives Dacias. One never feels unsafe, and a life of opulence is highly attainable for those who come from more affluent countries. Bucharest has gorgeous neighborhoods, albeit Romania still has some way to go. A road trip through the country in a BMW i8 is something that I recommend wholeheartedly. Partly because the car is unique and truly works properly, but also because Romania is a country which has an unjustifiably bad reputation. With the hope of having thwarted this, I would like to end this feature urging all of you to give the chance in the south-east an honest chance.