Former Romanian dictator Ceausescu's 4x4 sold at auction

Bucharest (AFP) –


A 4x4 vehicle which belonged to Romania's former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was sold at auction Friday by tax authorities, just days before the 30th anniversary of his removal.

The grey-blue vehicle was the same one that Ceausescu and Mikhail Gorbachev travelled in during the Soviet leader's visit to Romania in 1987. They waved through the sunroof to crowds thronging the streets of Bucharest.

The vehicle was made in 1977 by Romanian carmaker ARO and had 72,453 kilometres (45,000 miles) on the clock.

It sold for almost 40,000 euros ($44,000), almost double the asking price.

The buyer's name was not made public.

According to local media, the car is one of only four its kind ever made by ARO for Ceausescu and his security detail.

The company went bankrupt in the 2000s.

The vehicle had previously been sold at auction in 2002 along with the three others but it was confiscated by tax authorities several years later after the businessman who bought it was given a jail sentence for fraud.

It's one of a host of objects belonging to Ceausescu and his wife Elena which have been sold off in the past 20 years, among them luxurious gifts from fellow heads of state.

In January 2018, the Artmark auction house put a lot under the hammer which included clothes, photos and even carpets adorned with the face of the "nation's beloved son", offered to Ceausescu on his birthday.

Auctioneers report continued strong interest in such objects from collectors as well as those nostalgic for the communist era.

Born in 1918, Ceausescu become president of Romania in 1974 and built up an intense cult of personality which ended with his overthrow in the anti-communist revolution of December 1989.

Ceausescu was arrested along with his wife and executed on December 25 of that year after a summary trial.