A rare Romanian-produced plane and an Iranian-made car that once belonged to dictator Nicolae Ceausescu sold for many times their starting price at an auction on May 27. Now their owners need to figure out what to do with the items.
This Iranian-made car sold at a Bucharest auction on May 27 for 95,000 euros. The starting price was just 4,000 euros.
The car was gifted to Nicolae Ceausescu, the authoritarian ruler of Romania, by Iran's Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1974.
A spokeswoman for the Artmark auction house in Bucharest that sold the vehicle told Reuters that an Iranian bidder “was narrowly outbid by a Romanian buyer by...5,000 euros.”
Most of the online bids came from Iranians hoping to return the car to the country where it was produced. The limousine is still roadworthy, with a top speed of 145 kilometers per hour.
After the car was sold, the "jewel" of the auction -- another vehicle previously owned by Ceausescu -- went under the hammer.
Artmark claimed in their auction listing for this passenger jet that it was "used for the official flights" of Ceausescu. The aircraft was part of the communist dictator's presidential fleet, but a pilot quoted by AFP said Ceausescu usually flew in a Boeing 707 jet. The plane's starting price was 25,000 euros, but it sold for 120,000 euros.
In the 1980s, nine Rombac one-eleven jets were built by Romaero in Bucharest, under license from the British Aircraft Corporation. Gheorghe Marica, a retired military pilot who used to fly the Romanian-made plane, told AFP: "We were proud of this type of aircraft, which at the time included cutting-edge [features]."
Because of the plane's "national heritage" status there are strict rules its new owner must follow. The plane cannot be "dismembered or modified and, above all, cannot leave Romanian territory," AFP reported. Due the the loud scream of its engines, it will need to be "re-engined" in order to be authorized to fly.