In 1901, 12 automobiles, including a Buick - a world celebrity - were running through Bucharest. It was on board the Buick that George Valentin Bibescu made an unprecedented race from Geneva to Bucharest, in 73 hours. The whole 1,827 km route had been made at a 25 km/h speed - a world record at that time for the motor tourism. That marked the first Romanian victory, and at the same time the beginning of European tourism. In 1905, motorists George Valentin Bibescu, Leon Leonida, Mihai Ferekide, accompanied by two women, Marta Bibescu and Maria Ferekide, and by the French writer Claude Anet, made the first world intercontinental motor-trip, leaving from Galati and reaching Ispahan, the old Persian capital.
*Ion Maican opens the series of the performances achieved by Romanians in international competitions, in 1906. He took part in the Chateau-Thierry race, comming the third from 90 contesters.
*The first rallye-auto in Romania took place on June 16, 1907, and was actually a race between automobiles and one baloon. The baloon had three officers onboard, and the automobiles had to follow its flight and reach the landing site before it. The winner was a motorist.
*The first driving exam took place on January 10, 1908, at the order of the Police prefect of Bucharest. The license could be obtained after a speed test had been passed, during which the examining officer was throwing a pillow in front of the car, and the driver had to put the brake instantly.
*The courses of the first drivers school opened on January 10, 1910. The morning classes were dedicated to automobile theory, and the afternoon hours to practice. The theory included two important chapters: Mankilling, and Smoke exhausting by cars.
*Alexandru Racovita, who left Bucharest on board of a Steyr, and George Ghica, who left Brussles on board of a Buick, were at the start of Monte Carlo rally, in 1927. Racovita came the fifth, and Ghica the 30th at general tests, and the first at comfort. In 1928, Henri Manu was winning the First prize in the coast race, and was ranking 11 in the general classification. In 1936, Petre Cristea together with Gogu Constantinescu and Ionel Zamfirescu won the Monte Carlo Rally on a Ford prepared by the three, marking the first victory of Ford company at this famous rally.
*8 symultaneous records - the most amazing performance achieved by a Romanian abroad was Matei Ghica's qualifying first in 8 tests at Monthery, France, on July 13, 1928. Running on a specially built car, which he named Cosette, he broke the following world records: (five kilometers during driving), (five miles during driving), speed at 50 km, 100 km, 100 miles, one hour.
*In May 1927, George Fernic from Galati ran on a Bugatti in Indianapolis, comming 11th from 49 contesters in the Grand Prix.

©Valentin Bradateanu