Caterpillar Half-track Citroën in Romania – 1936

Citroënvie member Bruce Turner, who lives in Vancouver, has neighbours, Adam Rosza and Simona Hera, with an interesting Citroën connection. They recently discovered this photo of Simona’s great-grandfather, Nicolae Labes, in front of a half-track Citroën bus.

It is extremely rare to see one with an enclosed back like that! Bruce wanted to know the story behind the photo and so he asked Simona to probe a bit further into its origin. For that she contacted her aunt who lives in Germany, but still has the family place in Romania and may have more photos. For the time being though, here’s what we can report:

Mr. Nicolae (Nicolas) Labes (pronounced Labesh) was both the mechanic and driver of this Citroën half- track bus in Brasov Romania in the mid 1930s. He was trained at the Citroën plant in France.

The picture was taken in 1936 at the Poiana Brasov ski resort in Romania. The bus was used to take tourists (in 1936 skiing wasn’t a thing in Romania) to the Poiana Brasov resort (also known as Schuler – by the German community who established it first) from the city of Brasov – Romania (Brasso-Hungarian; Kronsadt-German) on what is is called to this day “the old road” by the locals; too steep for any other vehicle of the day.

Bruce also found a photo online of Nicolae with his Citroën half-track bus though somewhat ruined by Romanian text (stating what we have mentioned above) that was put over the photo, probably published in a local newspaper.

“Bus with caterpillar track serving the Prund-Poiana Brasov route – 1936 – Driver Nicolae Labes of Schei.”
(Schei is a neighbourhood in Brasov).

We hope to show you a few more pictures of Nicolae and the Citroën half-track bus if they can found when Simona’s aunt returns to Romania.

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