I know what you’re thinking, as a partial side effect of all the lead dust I’ve inhaled: you’re thinking, hey, why don’t we see more pictures of cars taken in Poland on Cold Start? Well, calm down, okay, I hear you. And, luckily, my absurdly tall friend Chris was living in Poland for a while, and sent me some pictures from a little car show that happened there, in a little town. We’ll start with what I always think of when I think of classic Polish cars (well, other than a Polski Fiat 126), an FSO Syrena! That’s the one on top there.
Syrenas are really charming little cars, looking like a friendly cartoon of a ’50s-type of car design, with an eager, grinning face and wide eyes. Designed in the mid-’50s, these were in production, looking pretty much the same, from 1957 to 1983! The one seen here is a Syrena 105, the last of the line, made from 1972 to 1983. You can tell because it doesn’t have suicide-type doors, but really looks pretty much just like its predecessors otherwise. These had two-stroke inline-three 842cc engines– I wonder how DKW-inspired those were?
Here’s something else we don’t see in America very often, a Czech Skoda 440 or maybe 445 – I’m not too up on my Skodas. Somewhere between 1955 and 1959. What I do know is that it looks a lot like the Octavia that came after it, but has that upper “moustache” which is how I could tell it was the earlier one. These had 1.1 or 1.2-liter engines and made a respectable 45 hp or so for the time. Plus, look at that green. Holy crap, that car is downright verdant.
Here’s amore familiar shark-face: a Citroën DS! Being in Europe, it’s blessed with those European headlamps, with the steering inner lights. A DS is always a welcome sight, anywhere, anytime, I think.
Even more familiar is this Beetle; It appears to be a ’73, and it’s a Super Beetle, or, as they called it there, a 1303. I like how the passenger assist strap on the B-pillar has been employed as an umbrella hanger, and here’s a detail about Euro-spec Super Beetles as opposed to ours: they kept the tiny, ’68-69-style front turn indicators instead of the huge ones with integrated side marker lamps that we had in the States.
There’s a nice Citroën Traction Avant in the background there, and if I wasn’t running late on this I’d figure out what that lovely wine-colored car with the semaphore turn indicators is, but I am running late, so I’ll leave that to you smart readers.
Okay, back to unfamiliar to Americans: a Wartburg 311! These were East German two-stroke cars, sort of the upper end of the market compared to the Trabant. I actually drove one of these once! Look!
If you’re unfamiliar with Wartburg, the badging can be confusing:
The Eisenacher badge is because the factory was at Eisenach, and is perhaps most famous as the BMW factory caught on the wrong side of The Wall after WWII, and became the EMW factory, making, confusingly, a former DKW car now re-badged as an EMW. We’ll have to go into all that in a bigger article sometime, but for now, just trust me this thing is a Wartburg.
Let’s wrap this up with a bit of trivia! Did you know Poland is the only European country that allows crows to own and ride bicycles? They have to pass a test and pay a fee, usually in bits of string and seeds, but they can have bikes! There’s proof right there, a picture of a proud crow and his bike, painted to match his gothy look.