Good News! It’s The Dacia 1310!

Although we’ve never had the privilege to drive one, [skaarj] tells us Dacia made some terrible cars. The Dacia 1310, a communist clone of the Renault 12, was cheap, had sixty-two horses under the hood, and was easy to maintain. The cabin, by all accounts, is a bit lacking, giving [skaarj] the opportunity to improve the instrument cluster and dash. He’s not throwing a stereo in and calling it a day – [skaarj] is upgrading his Dacia with retro-futuristic components including a vacuum tube amp, a CRT computer display, and an unspeakably small dumb terminal.

[skaarj]’s build began with a hit and run accident. With most of the body panels on the passenger side of the car removed, [Skaarj] ground some rust, rattle canned some rust proof paint, and bondoed the most offensive corrosion. Work then began on the upgraded dash, with a few choice components chosen including an old Soviet television, a hardware neural network to determine hardware faults, and a bizarre implementation of a CAN bus on a car without any of the requisite electronics.

This is one of those projects that can go on forever; there’s a lot you can do with the dashboard of a car if you’re not constrained by a suffocating desire to appear normal. In that respect, [skaarj] has this one locked up – he’s got a vacuum tube amplifier and enough CRTs in this car to add retro satellite navigation. It’s a great entry for The Hackaday Prize, as something cool is sure to come out of this project.

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30 thoughts on “Good News! It’s The Dacia 1310!

    1. As a fellow romanian guy, this is my view on people that do/did this to old Dacias. 1310s are absolute rust dinosaurs.
      Of course the HHO is infuriating, as you would get better mileage by farting and having the intake inside the car.

      I choose to look at this as a form of post communist cyberpunk, very common in eastern europe.
      Unless you think CRTs in a vehicle are a good idea as well :)))

      1. I was going to troll this post by calling those Nixie tubes, but visions of a car powered by farts threw me off of my chair!

        Truth is you know someone has tried that though. Damn cows and their impressive methane production.

    2. Brown’s Gas. Produced more efficiently with added sonification, by tuning the exhaust system to be resonant at the optimal frequency. That frequency being the Brown Note, of course.

      DAMMIT FARNSWORTH, get outta my head.

      1. The Brown Note could be replaced by a broad-spectrum device that works at nearly all engine speeds, but of course would create a lot of brown noise and might affect the steering…

    3. Oxy-hydrogen is NOT for gain in mileage.
      It is for reducing the pollution.
      Someone here did not read the entry in clear, just presenting his personal thoughts.
      Of course – generating the required amount of oxy-hydrogen/brown gas/HHO requires some extra power which consumes more gasoline, which outputs more polluting agents.
      So if this will not work, a pressurized hydrogen tube will be used instead.
      Or I will just drop it dead.
      But pollution reduction is possible. Read both “science time” update logs. There are no such claims of gaining mileage. Instead there’s a full set of warnings saying why you should not do that.

    1. The Trabant is much older then this, has a 2-stroke engine that was crap even by Eastern-block 60s standards and last but not least, the 1300 series Dacia is licensed from Renault, the Trabant was an indigenous design.

  1. This is far too complicated a build to be pulled off alone. He might make some progress but I highly doubt he will achieve even 50% of his desired goals. I’m not trying to pessimistic, just realistic. When you start fabricating stuff to be true to the time period of the car, especially electronics, you eat up a ton of time. Sourcing parts takes awhile. Designing the circuits takes time too. If it were me, I’d sick with modernizing the car, ditch all the neutral network crap and adding a crt television. The HHO part is also garbage and makes me think this guy is actually trolling us.

  2. Have anyone read the article together with the scientific references?
    The hydrogen-oxygen part is for reducing pollution only.
    Generating it on the road takes more gas and outputs more pollution.
    If it will not work, then a pressurized hydrogen tube will be used instead.
    Or I will just drop it.
    It is better to allow the academic expertise of the judges to further decide.

    1. Generating HHO from a solar panel will produce almost nothing. Electrical power is more “valuable” than chemical energy. Someone once referred to the concept as “exergy”, dunno if that’s the right word. Of course since your car doesn’t have electric propulsion, you’d be better using the electricity somewhere else. Simply sending it to the battery will take some load off the alternator, which will take load off the engine, reducing fuel use.

      Of course it’s not as much fun as messing with piping hydrogen in… But that does sound pretty dangerous, splicing into vapourised fuel is asking for an explosion eventually. To do it in any way I could think of, would likely be illegal in any sensible country.

      1. I already have a full working PDP11 communist-cloned mainframe in my house, and I will install it inside and on top of the car as soon as I will find a place to build my lab (temporary, just to move it there). So why the effort to build a RasPI emulator for it?

        1. Well you go for it. I did not know you had a PDP-11 hanging around.
          I would go with the pi if for no other reason than to keep the old hardware safe but as I said go for it.
          BTW the PDP-11 was not a mainframe it was a mini computer. The PDP-10 was DECs mainframe system and even then some people say it is mini

  3. Maybe electric conversion would have been more useful in the long run. It is likely that emission standards might disallow the driving of those old cars in the future.

    1. This is one of the many reasons I still keep that ancient car – electric conversion. I have this plan in mind for a long time. I just don’t feel comfortable yet to carry a ton of batteries in the trunk. In the mean time I keep it in working condition, pay taxes, insurances, trying to build a small shelter to keep it out of bad weather.

      1. Great thinking. Maybe you don’t need a ton of batteries: I have been thinking for a long time that the actual battery/motor requirement for old and light East European vehicle, driving bellow 100 km/h is much lower that would be in N. America. Once you throw out the gearbox, muffler, and some other ICE junk. Curb weight for this guy, with ICE engine and all, is only 640 kg: For additional batery weight savings, a solar panel on the roof would work as well. I recently bought 40W panel for $100 Canadian.

  4. There seems to be a lot of criticism of the build of the car regarding how it has rusted but… I’ve owned 3 Chevys a Jeep and a Hyundai. After even 10 years it is hard to keep the rust off them! Maybe if I lived some place w/o road salt I’d feel differently but I don’t know…

    1. Fact of life in areas with a lot of salt (beach, lots of snow, et c.). When we lived in upstate NY, almost everyone started with project cars that looked like that. If you wanted a clean shell you had to drag it up from a southern state. Major bodywork (i.e. full floor pan replacement) wasn’t that expensive and there were plenty of body shops that would do it.

  5. As a kid, I had family in Romania (in Arad). We used to spend the summers there. My uncle had one of these cars and it was messed up pretty bad. Back in the days you could not get anything for fixing your car because of the communism that made sure everyone will have nothing so buying parts and fixing cars at garages was something only rich people could afford. My uncle used to fix this car about half the time he owned it to make sure it keeps running using nothing but stuff he managed to find in junk yards or fabricate on his own using a minimal set of tools. He is such an inspiration for me and reading this brings back great memories from when I used to watch him work. My uncle also had 4 broken down motorcycles from which he assembled one that is working! Now they live in Hungary and things are much better. Now he drives a ford focus :)

  6. When I saw the vacuum tubes in the photo, I was hoping for a Nixie readout on the dashboard (sigh!).
    Maybe he should mount the vacuum tubes on the hood (bonnet, Jeff) like Doc Brown did in Back to the Future III.

    1. Well, guess who’s “his” finance manager? If she agrees, it may be possible to follow the nixie tube suggestion but most of the chances are to receive a frying pan snapped over my head. As for the tubes on the hood/bonnet, not quite possible. In the places that car goes (job issues), the road (horrible) state causes things to fly around sometimes and break/smash sensitive stuff such as exposed vacuum tubes. Not always normal roads. It will look retro but this will require some strong safety measures – for both the driver and equipment.

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