PCH, Ceauşescu Versus Krushchev Edition: Three ARO 244s or One GAZ 69-M?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Last time, the '72 Stutz Blackhawk blackjacked the Buickborghini and stuffed it in the trunk, for disposal in a hole in the desert later on (the way so many Blackhawk owners in Vegas solved their problems back in the day), according to the 71% of you who voted that way in the Choose Your Eternity poll. Today we're going to go with a couple of choices that allow me to use not-often-seen-in-PCH flags in the poll: Romania versus the Soviet Union!


1989 wasn't such a great year for Romanian strongman Nicolae Ceauşescu, but, even as the rabble beat down the jeweled doors to his palaces, he could console himself with the inspiring thought that the "Romanian Jeep," the ARO 244, was available for sale throughout the world. Even in the evil, decadent United States, a truck shopper could march right into a seedy office above a taxidermy shop in New Jersey an ARO dealership and obtain the product of the glorious workers of Câmpulung. Sadly, few did so, but don't fret about your ARO-less state; we've managed to find you not just one but three 1999 ARO 244s (go here if the ad disappears). You see, even after the fall of the Ceauşescu regime, the ARO-American dream was kept alive, and these trucks were brought over in order to try to get EPA certification for legal sale in the United States. One is equipped with '97 Mazda MPV running gear and allegedly runs (though it "needs some TLC work from bouncing NY roads"), and the other two seem to be parts trucks. You'll have one good one running fine in no time… at which point you'll discover little-known sections of your state's Vehicle Code, as you attempt to register it. Thanks to Aircooled_Poirot for the tip!

If you're going to buy a commie Jeep, you might as well buy a serious commie Jeep, from the home of the revolution itself: the USSR! Yes, the GAZ-69, which served as the main light off-road vehicle for the Red Army for decades. You've got to figure that anything built for the Red Army is going to be simple and sturdy, like a good pair of Russian winter boots, and that you'll be able to use tallow, mud, or even nothing at all as an engine lubricant in one. We'd all like such a hammer-simple machine to take off-roading, but where could you possibly find a GAZ-69 here in the home of retrograde imperialist capitalist warmongering? Why, Hemmings Motor News, of course, where this 1961 GAZ 69-M may be seen in all its glory and fame. Fame? That's right, the makers of the last Indiana Jones movie used this truck- which was allegedly driven by some famous actress or other in the film- and now it can be yours! The price tag is ridiculously somewhat steep, no doubt because the seller believes the aura of such a glamorous cinematic appearance multiplies the truck's value by a factor of three, but just let him or her sweat out a few more weeks of recession and you'll likely be able to score it for a far more reasonable sum. Supposedly it "RUNS AND DRIVES FANTASTIC" and there are probably other details in the description, but they've been rendered indecipherable by the CAPS LOCK FAIRY, who has sprinkled her headache dust all over the words. We're guessing that it ran and drove well enough for 17 seconds of filming, and that you'll be on the phone to Semyon, grumpy sales rep for a truck-parts house in Vladivostok as soon as you take delivery, calculating how many rubles you'll need to get this thing back to Red Army specs.