Polski Power

This 1993 Polski Fiat 126p now resides in Ramsgate, Kent with its owner Dan Marren (Who also owns a rather nice Mini Mary Quant).

After being imported to the U.K. in 2016 it was modified by its previous owner. Now featuring a 654cc air cooled engine with a sports exhaust, producing in the region of 10-15bhp (Almost enough to pull the skin off your custard..).

It has been lowered on BBS alloy wheels with a tasty bit of camber.  Dan openly admits It has next to no suspension what so ever, making it a rather stiff ride. Aside from the modifications it does still retain a lot of its original features including its original spare wheel, tool box, jack, fire extinguisher and with its beautiful original seats and unaltered interior it really does make this little car stick out from the rest.

This car is becoming very rare now in the UK and turns many heads as it bounces along the streets of Kent.

Dan’s future plans for the Fiat include fitting a disc brake conversion to the front, making it a little safer for modern day motoring and possibly a respray in the long term. But for now, drive it and enjoy it. Look out for it at 2018’s #OhSoRetroShow if not before.

History behind the 126.

First introduced to the world as a small & economical city car back in 1972 at the Turin auto Show. The 126 shared a great deal with the Fiat 500 (which it replaced) with its rear engine set up but featuring a new look inspired by the Fiat 127.

In 1977 the engine was upgraded from a 594cc air-cooled unit to a fire breathing 652cc again air-cooled engine. The power that the engine produced was claimed (note the word claimed), are you ready for it… 23BHP… Mind blowing, isn’t it? Maybe not. A larger 704cc engine was later introduced in 1987.

Although Fiat is an Italian based company the production of the car was shipped out to Poland under the name Polksi Fiat. In the 80’s due to its low price it was one of the most popular cars sold in Poland. Apparently, they even prototyped a 126 van called the ‘Bombel’ (Bubble) and an off road tracked version powered by Caterpillar tracks, this sounds mental and we would love to see one if anyone knows anything about them?

Sadly, as all good things do production of the Fiat 126 ended in 1993 in Italy when it was then replaced by the Fiat Cinquecento which are almost all now painted yellow with one red door.

Over the 21 years in production the 126 has been given some rather amusing and frankly odd nicknames, here are some of our favourites..
In Poland it was called ‘Maluch’ which roughly translates to ‘small one’ or ‘toddler’.
In Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia it was known as the ‘Peglica’ meaning ‘little iron’.
In Slovenia it was known as ‘bolha’ which again loosely translates as ‘fast and loud’. (I’ll have 3 of whatever they were smoking..
And last but not least the most obvious of nicknames comes from China where they called it “大头鞋 (dàtoúxié)” which literally translates as “big toed shoe” I mean why wouldn’t you…

Words by Lee Collier & Photos by Nick Simmo Photographer

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