Remember when not so long ago Poland was a hot bed for the very best in automotive technology?
No, Poland didn’t produce Mercedes-Benzes…
… Alfa Romeos
or Pagani Zondas…
…or hot McLarens.
These cars weren’t yet on Poland’s radar. But Poles did do some mean cruising in…
The Maluch, the Syrena, the Polonez and Trabant – remember those slick warriors of the Eastern Block roads? They bring back so many good memories.
Primarily created by the Fabryka Samochodów Osobowych (FSO) (Factory for Passenger Automobiles) in Warsaw, these little bad boys ruled the streets of Communist Poland.
Here’s a flashback to the best of the best:
The first Polish car built after WWII. It was manufactured in 1951 under license from the Soviets. It made for a great taxi because of its sturdiness.
Six years later, the Syrena hit the market. It was named after a mermaid but weighed just about as much as an elephant – 950 kg.
This East German made speedster was originally supposed to be a three-wheeled motorcycle. It hit the streets in 1957 and was named after the Soviet space satellite Sputnik.
The Fiat 125p
In 1965, the Polish government partnered with the Italians and license agreements with Fiat to manufacture the Polish Fiat. They started with the Fiat 125p. Nicknamed the “Kredens” (cupboard), “Kant” (edge) or “Bandyta” (bandit) it was most commonly know as “Duży Fiat” (the big Fiat)
The Fiat 126p aka The Maluch
In 1973 FSO introduced the Polish Fiat 126p. The iconic car of the Solidarity era. It was quickly labeled the “Maluch”, which means “the toddler” some also called it “Kaszlak” (“cougher”) because its engine’s sound resembles a cough when it is started.
The Maluch was versitalile…
…easy to maintain…
…great on gas…
And the girls loved it!
Finally,there was the car named after a Polish dance – The Polonez (named after the polonaise)
Introduced in 1978 it was also exported to Chile and Colombia (where it was used as a cop car and taxi)
And if you’re familiar with the 80’s Polish cop show 07 zgłoś się (07 come in) you’ll recognize it from the series.