Home CitroŽnŽt home

Site search powered by FreeFind
Do NOT include 'Citroen' in your search terms


For more information on the Oltcit story (and other CitroŽns built outside France), buy a copy of Gilles Colboc and Jean FranÁois Ruchaud's superb book, "Les CitroŽn du monde".


Ceausescu’s regime collapsed after a series of violent events in Timisoara and Bucharest in December 1989 and on Christmas Day, Ceausescu and his wife were condemned to death by a military court having been convicted on charges ranging from illegal gathering of wealth to genocide, and were executed in T‚rgoviste.

The legacy of the Ceausescu government left Romania with major economic problems and the new government of Ion Ielescu (comprised in the main of former Communist apparatchicks) continued the policy of limiting movements of hard currency out of the country and maintaining the principles of state interventionism in industry. 

Obviously this state of affairs was unsatisfactory as far as CitroŽn were concerned and in 1990 they withdrew from the arrangement. There were disputes with the Oltcit management over the unauthorised use of Dacia components in the cars and of the withdrawal of the marque from Eastern European markets.  Oltcit ceased manufacturing the two cylinder car because CitroŽn had not provided Oltcit with the requisite technology to enable them to manufacture the engine.  In 1991, production plummeted to just 20,000 cars. Control of the Oltcit venture reverted to the state. 


A relaxation of the state control occurred in 1994 and a new, privatised company was set up, accompanied by a name change to OLTENA. 

Oltena developed some five door prototypes on an extended platform which never went into production.


Later that year a joint venture between Oltcit and South Korean industrial giant Daewoo called Rodae (Romanian Daewoo) was set up to both sell the Oltena and import Daewoo cars.  The Oltena was restyled at this time and given a new nose (right) which looked not unlike that of the Talbot Solara and Samba.  Two versions of this car were built – the 11 E (powered by the 1129cc engine) and the 12 E (1299cc).

Photo courtesy of Gilles Colboc, Jean FranÁois Ruchaud
Oltena cabriolet

A prototype Oltcit was also produced in Romania in 1986, Called Olda (Oltcit Dacia), this made use of the Dacia 1300 engine and transmission but there were major problems in getting the ensemble to work but some of the ideas found their way into the RM.

With the withdrawal of CitroŽn, there was a change in logo as evidenced on the Oltena brochure above.


In early 1996, there was another name change to SC Axa SA Craiova and the decision was taken to end production of the Oltena since each car was sold at a loss of $1500.

SC Mecatim SA Timisoara, producer of the Lastun car indicated that it wanted to transfer the manufacture of the Oltena to its factory in Timisoara but to the best of my knowledge, this never happened.


A commercial variant of the Oltena was also available, called the Cargo or 12 CS, this was a pick up.   The first prototype was built in 1988 and used the floor pan of the proposed five-door version (see above) but due to high development costs, this was abandoned in favour of a version using the three-door Oltcit floor pan.

Picture courtesy of CITROExpert

Oltcit had developed a cabriolet but was unable to get this homologated for road use – there were major structural problems which were not helped by the lack of a roll bar and the use of a horizontal piece of veneered wood between the rear wings did not do much for rigidity.

The Oltcit World Car
According to Gilles Colboc and Jean FranÁois Ruchaud's excellent book, "Les CitroŽn du monde", in the mid nineteen eighties, US automobile manufacturer Chrysler, having sold its European operations to PSA found it needed a new small car to distribute in the USA and Canada.  Chrysler was put in touch with Oltcit’s Romanian management and an American delegation visited Craiova where they were astounded to discover an up to date automobile factory; more modern than anything the company owned in the USA.  The Oltcit management decided to adapt the Oltcit to North American norms but experienced great difficulty with achieving the requisite emissions from the air-cooled boxer.  A prototype was fitted with a Magneti Morelli monopoint injection system and catalytic converter but this failed to meet either US or European emissions standards.

Technical Specifications (Oltcit)

Special 11 R & 11 RL 12 TRS
Number of cylinders 2 horizontally opposed 4 horizontally opposed 4 horizontally opposed
Cubic capacity 652 cc 1 129cc 1 299cc
Bore & stroke 77 x 70 74 x 65,6 79,4 x 65,6
Compression ratio 9,5 : 1 9 : 1 8,7 : 1
BHP @ RPM 34,5 @ 5 500 57,5 @ 6 250 61,5 @ 5 500
Torque @ RPM 5,0 mkg @ 3 500 8,1 mkg @3 500 9,8 mkg @ 3 250
Cooling Air Air Air
Gearbox 4 speed manual 4 speed manual 5 speed manual
Clutch Single dry plate Single dry plate Single dry plate
Front Inboard discs Inboard discs Inboard discs
Rear Discs Discs Discs
Front Double wishbones with longitudinal torsion bars Double wishbones with longitudinal torsion bars Double wishbones with longitudinal torsion bars
Rear Trailing arms with transverse torsion bars Trailing arms with transverse torsion bars Trailing arms with transverse torsion bars
Tyres 135 SR 13 145 SR 13 160/65 R 340 TRX
Maximum speed 125 kph 150 kph 157 kph
Fuel consumption 4,9 litres/100 km 6,0 litres/100 km 7,7 litres/100 km
© 1996-2006 Julian Marsh/CitroŽnŽt/Gilles Colboc/Jean FranÁois Ruchaud