Polish Snapshots

The differences between Poland and Germany take many forms.

FSO Polonez, Gubin, Poland.
FSO Polonez, Gubin, Poland.

Fighting in 1945 meant Guben (Germany) and Gubin (Poland) both experienced near total devastation. They stand on the Niesse river that divides the two countries. Today Guben has a city centre and Gubin has some apartment blocks, a ruined church and a lot of trees. Essentially, the Poles didn’t rebuild. Among this lot I found a lovely FSO Polonez in what looks like late-model trim. 

The front end hid in the bushes so I can only show the tail.

Not as common as Trabants or Wartburgs.
Not as common as Trabants or Wartburgs.

And while German customers are denied the Punto as a saloon, Poles adore them. Here’s a Linea:

2007-2015 Fiat Linea
2007-2015 Fiat Linea

Fiat builds Euro-spec Lineas in Turkey, Russia, India and S. America. The Tipo replaces it.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

4 thoughts on “Polish Snapshots”

  1. I’m greatly enjoying these lessons in liminal geography. Is Świnoujście on the itinerary? It’s a sort of Polish Berwick upon Tweed, a Polish town on the German side of a border-defining river. Rather dull carscape; a handful of Daewoo Ticos, one 126, and a well kept Jelcz fire engine. The surprise was the number of US imports, usually low-grade Big Three hire-fleet fodder. Even the FSM 126 is near-extinct.

    Międzyzdroje was the limit of my exploration, and provided a five star Polonez spot – a 1.4 GLI Twin Cam 16V, with the Rover K series engine.

    As an aside, I’m convinced that the Polonez’s stylist Zbigniew Watson (sometimes Wattson) is a desecendant of the 17th century Scottish mercantile invasion. Somewhere between 20,000 and 60,000 Scots emigrated to Poland at the time, when it was a European trading and military superpower.

    Watson’s talents were never properly realised at FSO. He left us in March 2010 at the age of 72. The other member of the Polonez team at Italdesign was one Walter de Silva. No idea what became of him…

  2. At Schwedt I had to stop: either the fatigue of 4 days on a bike or the disappointment of not seeing any more Wartburgs. In every case, the Polish part of the trans-Niesse or trans-Oder towns featured more untidiness and less evidence of maintenance and development. One could be forgiven for thinking that eastern territory was called “Zigaretten” as this word always stood prominently on signs at the border with Germany. I learned that a packet of 20 cigarettes cost €3. Little wonder Guben had no cigarette vendors.
    I didn’t know about the Scottish migration to Poland. Some of their descendents might have remigrated to the US or indeed back to the UK.
    Apart from small Fiat saloons I saw predominantly German cars. Baseball-cap-wearing youths favoured large Swabian saloons. The Vectra A is a popular form of mass-transportation (not Mondeos or Passats). Citroen? Peugeot? No sign despite Poland’s strong cultural links to France.

  3. If you had travelled a bit further north to Usedom and Rügen you’d have found Wartburgs aplenty, along with the inevitable Trabants, and the odd well-kept Robur truck. Quite a few Barkases too: they seem to have a following with those of an Ostalgic inclination. The star exhibit was a fine black and orange 311. Very Isabella-like, the timing’s about right if the East Germans worked quickly.

    More on the Scottish migration to Poland here:

    Click to access AForgottenDiaspora_tcm4-685616.pdf

    I blame the late 16th century Hansexit…

    1. Thanks for the link.
      I saw one old Wartburg in Bad Muskau and a Knight too. Photos are pending.
      The Hanseatic League really interests me. It’s nice it’s remembered in the designation HB and HH for Bremen and Hamburg. In due course my bookseller will have to get me a volume on the topic. I notice the Hanse towns’ churches use a characteristic large red brick.

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