Double-decker bus in Arad (1915)
A replica of the double-decker bus of the Hungarian Automobile Company of Arad (MARTA), the first Hungarian car factory, produced at the beginning of the last century, is to be built in Arad (present-day Romania) for tourism purposes.
The replica of the vehicle, produced in the early 20th century, will be built and assembled in the current workshops of Arad county, once famous for its automobile production. Once completed, it would serve cultural tourism, running on a predetermined route in the county capital.
Ovidiu Balint, manager of HUB cultural mARTA (cultural center), recently met with representatives of car manufacturing companies from Arad, representatives of the Aurel Vlaicu University of Arad, and an entrepreneur at the Arad City Hall in the presence of Deputy Mayor Ilie Cheșa. They discussed the details of the rebuilding of the Westinghouse-MARTA double-decker bus, reports Nyugati Jelen.
The project, initiated by the HUB cultural mARTA, continuing the heritage of the former car factory, would be implemented over the next two years through cooperation between the county’s factories, universities, and entrepreneurs, Ovidiu Balint told Romanian news agency Agerpers. He said that they are currently working on a partnership agreement signed by several car parts manufacturers, who have agreed to contribute to the creation of the replica. The project also involves the Faculty of Engineering and Design of Aurel Vlaicu University of Arad, the municipality, and several NGOs.
Deputy Mayor Ilie Cheșa told Agerpres that
one of the main objectives of the project is to promote the history and heritage of Arad.
The model bus was produced by the first Hungarian car company, the Hungarian Automobile Company of Arad (MARTA), founded in 1908 in Arad, which initially operated as a branch of the American company Westinghouse in Le Havre, France. It also produced trucks, buses, and a passenger car called Marta until 1914. In 1912, it was bought by the Austrian Austro-Daimler company, and later the Arad company produced the first buses for the Royal Hungarian Post Office and the first 150 taxis in Budapest.
After the First World War, the factory was transferred to Romania, where it was also one of the first car manufacturers. After it was merged with another car factory, the plant continued to operate under the name ASTRA, and in 1926, production was relocated to Brasov.
The office building of the former Arad plant was declared a historical monument and has therefore been preserved.
The plant was donated by Astra Rail Industries to the city in 2021 as the owner of the site, with the aim of creating a cultural center in the Art Nouveau building. The industrial monument is now in a state of disrepair both inside and out. The building is under the stewardship of the mARTA cultural center, which has developed several plans for its renovation. The estimated value of the project is EUR 11 million, part of which would be covered by non-refundable EU funding, Agerpres writes.
Via MTI, Nyugati Jelen; Featured image: Fortepan / Jurányi Attila