We do not know exactly what thoughts were swarming in the head of the party leader, but he gave a concrete signal to his subordinates. Impressed by the grandiosity of the Soviet giants BelAZ, Ceausescu clearly outlined the direction of development: to create something similar, but ours, Romanian. Fortunately, there were already capacities for this - the ROMAN plant, which produces various trucks, was successfully operating.
On the design layouts, he resembled the Belarusian "colleague". Photo: youtube.com
As in any well-established authoritarian state, everything began to spin quickly and purposefully. Engineers developed projects, workers put them into action, officials reported on the successful progress towards the goal. Well, the Romanian leader was a dictator, but patriotic impulses cannot be taken away from him either. It took about 10 years for the successful implementation of the grandiose project.
120-ton competitor of the BelAZ dump truck
The work, begun at the end of the Brezhnev era, was completed at the height of perestroika, when the communist system was cracking at the seams, and the stupidity of the anti-alcohol campaign became clear even to its zealous supporters. It was in such a politically unstable time that the birth and development of the Romanian legend took place.
The DAC 120 DE introduced turned out to be a large mining truck designed by this company and manufactured by Mecanica Marsa in 1988. The prototype was the American Lectra Haul.
The Romanian strongman was considered one of the largest dump trucks in the world. The DAC 120 DE had a dead weight of 90 tons and a maximum payload of 120 tons. Other parameters of the car were as follows:
✅ 10 meters long
✅ 5,4 meters high on the dome
✅ wheel diameter - 3,2 meters
The model was powered by an 8-ton 65-liter diesel engine with 1040 hp. With. This in turn drove two Electroputere Craiova traction motors on the rear axle. The maximum speed of the truck was 70 km/h empty and 55 km/h fully loaded.
The designers installed two fuel tanks in the giant to match him: 1600 liters each. This allowed a fully loaded Romanian dump truck to travel around the quarry around the clock for a whole week. The cost of the DAC 120 DE truck was about US$300, five times cheaper than other models made in the 000s.
Even empty more than 70 km / h in a career, he did not accelerate. Photo: youtube.com
This is not surprising, because the labor force in the manufacturing country was one of the cheapest in Europe at that time. Plus, there is state regulation of prices and the entire production process. In such circumstances, you can underestimate the market value of the product to infinity.
A comical case at the acceptance and permission for production
Considering that we are dealing with a state order, without the go-ahead from the first head, the production mechanism simply could not be launched. Therefore, to receive the novelty, Nicolae Ceausescu himself granted. He was very proud that his country was able to create a gigantic truck. After all, the “one hundred and twentieth” was not inferior in width to one lane, and in height - to a two-story building. The leader wished to personally climb the ladder and get unforgettable impressions from the grandiose technology.
And he succeeded in this to the fullest. As one of the plant's engineers, who was present at the event, later recalled, the gesture of the country's leader almost ended in tragedy. Adrian Novak noticed that Ceausescu, climbing the high stairs, suddenly turned his back on her.
This staircase almost became fatal for Ceausescu. Photo: youtube.com
Perhaps he wanted to admire the surrounding picture from a height, or maybe he did not want those present to see only his back. But from a high altitude, a 70-year-old man briefly lost coordination. He lowered his head and everyone was afraid that the grand opening would turn into a tragedy. But he coped with neurological problems, and the holiday continued.
Yes, the vehicle, in which the driver climbed a ladder with a railing and was 2,5 meters from the ground, was given the green light. It is clear that there was no talk of mass production, but only of the assembly of several copies of the giant. To better understand the enormity of the task, I will give one example. Tires manufactured by Michelin were installed on the dump truck. I mentioned their size already above, but the cost was a tidy sum - 10 thousand dollars. It took at least half an hour to completely fill a huge balloon with air, but its reliability was simply fantastic.
Electrical equipment of a huge truck
DAC electric motors did not allow him to move faster than 55 km / h when loaded. This figure was obtained as a result of practical tests on the only exit of a huge DAC between the Rulmentul and Tractorul factories. Public roads were already beginning there, so it was not without delight and surprise of casual onlookers.
Imagine, not far from you, a huge more than 5-meter colossus with 120 tons of cargo in the back is moving at top speed. The picture is not for the faint of heart! Therefore, some of the passengers of the trolleybus passing nearby were baptized in horror, while others left the public transport with curiosity, fascinated by the majestic giant.
Huge wheels worth $10. Photo: youtube.com
A 1200 volt diesel generator provided the electricity needed by the truck. The generator was powered by two tanks of 1600 liters each. The electric mammoth was equipped with two brake pedals: a safety pedal (when pressed, the wheels were completely blocked), and a pedal for dynamic braking. The process was based not on the force of friction, but on the release of kinetic energy.
Monsters went to consumers, and production was stopped
Despite the relatively low cost, the truck was valued at $300. If we add to this the complexity and very high labor intensity of its production, then we should not expect thousands of copies. Based on the available data, only 15 copies of 120-ton cars were produced in three years.
Most of them remained to work in their homeland, and five went to distant Australia, to the Mc Caimy Monster Pilbara iron mine in the western part of the continent. In Romania itself, they worked in various local quarries:
✅ 8 - at the Roshia Poieni copper mine
✅ 3 - at the Mahmudiya limestone quarry
✅ 2 - on the section of the Danube-Black Sea canal
In all these works, mining dump trucks have earned a lot of flattering reviews, both from the leaders and from the drivers themselves. They also released a very rare version of the DAC 120E with a 1200 hp diesel engine. With. and standard transmission.
More than one bucket was placed in such a body. Photo: youtube.com
But the history of the Romanian supergiant was nearing its end, as was the era that gave birth to it. At the end of 1989, a coup d'etat took place in Romania, which ended with the execution of Nicolae Ceausescu himself and his wife. For many, the huge truck seemed the personification of a dark era, so the very next year, after the change in the political course in the country, its production finally ceased.