Put on your party hats and crank up your funk spindles, because exactly 45 years ago, on June 6th 1973, the first Polski Fiat 126p rolled out of FSM in Bielsko-Biała, Poland! Woooo!
The little guy stayed in production all the way ‘till 2000, undergoing slight updates along the way; ones that failed miserably to keep it modern in any way, shape or form.
Initially sporting a 600 cc, 23 horsepower motor, the little Fiat that (mostly) could propelled Poland into the age of the affordable motorcar. Now, affordable is a relative term as the 126p initially cost the equivalent of almost 2 years worth of average pay. Despite that, thousands upon thousands of Poles diligently paid into their dedicated 126p savings accounts every month, in hopes that one day they too could be lucky enough to receive their own ticket to the world of motoring.
My 126p is a much later one, made in 1999, it features the upgraded 650 cc powerplant, producing a staggering 24 horsepower, some slightly sleeker body panels, an updated interior, and even electronic ignition! However, despite all that, the driving experience hasn’t changed in the slightest. It’s still that same tiny, slow, loud, dangerously tippy, extremely rough deathtrap it always was. But, that also means it’s kept the same pep and moxie it had from the very beginning, and that’s exactly why I love it!
Happy birthday, you little old git!