The ARO IMS is an off-road vehicle built in Romania.
The first model was the IMS-57; a
total 914 vehicles were built between 1957 and 1959, mostly handcrafted. During
World War II, on the site of a paper plant belonging to Letea company from
Campulung-Muscel, the production of plane propellers and shooting equipment for
airplanes produced by IAR Brasov was organized. After the production was
abandoned, a group of workers begun building the first Romanian motorcycles in
1953. The design(from Russian GAZ type) and production of the first Romanian
land vehicle IMS-57 begun in 1957, using the parts that were produced as well as
upgrading. The 914 IMS-57 produced had the following characteristics: coachwork
with two doors and tarpaulin, 3,260 cc gasoline engine, 50 HP/2,800 rpm, 80
km/h, 24 l/100 km consumption. The construction was handicraft: the equipped
chassis in functioning condition were tested on the route Campulung-Colibasi
where they were bodyworked, painted and finished in the Pitesti Motor-car
Plant. The tin parts were made on wooden lasts. Among other oddities, the
IMS-57 had manual windshield wipers.
In 1959 the IMS-57 was replaced
by the M59, which was a substantial improvement over its predecessor.
Launched two years later, the new type M-59 signified a step forward compared
to IMS-57: its engine had 56 HP, a maximum speed enhanced to 90 km/h, the
manual wind screen wiper replaced with an electric one. The cars were
bodyworked (2 doors, 4 doors or pick-up), painted and finished in Campulung.
During the four years in production (1959-1963) the number of vehicles built
jumped from 803 (1959) to 3222 (1963).
A new model, the M461, was
started in 1964. The design was similar to the previous models and also to the
original inspiration, the GAZ 69, but
every panel was different and the cars are clearly distinguishable. It showed
look and finishing improvements, and a redesigned mechanics. Its engine had
four in-line cylinders, 70 HP, a maximum speed of 100 km/h, and a 17 l at
80km/h consumption. The export of that type begun in 1965, to China and Colombia
(2,000 pieces). The M461 was a very good performer for its time, having won a
few international competitions: 1970 Forests Rally (Belgium), 1973 Sons of
Beaches (Oregon). With improvements in their technology and performances, some
80,233 M461 land vehicles were produced by 1975, out of which 46,549 were
exported and more were used by Romanian Army. About 3000 M461s are still on the
road in Romania, with a very active owners' club. Many of the cars were until
recently used by the army. Late versions were known as M473 on the German