Thursday, 12 June 2008

Automotive miscellany

Cars from the depths of the communist era are rarities in modern Poland. So seeing a 1960s FSO Warszawa 204 filled me with delight - and in such good condition too. Note the yellow 'zabytkowy' licence plate only issued to rare old cars that meet stringent conditions.

The Warszawa 204 was a modernised version of the original FSO Warszawa, a licence-built Soviet GAZ M-20 Pobieda (the forerunner of the M-21 Volga that I used to own in 1980s London). The main change is visible in this rear three-quarter view; the fastback styling of the original has given way to a 'notch-back' and conventional boot.

More common on Poland's roads, though disappearing rapidly, is the FSC Żuk ('beetle') pick-up truck, photographed below in Zamienie on the road between Nowy Podolszyn and Zgorzała. Very much an icon of rural Poland. More than half a million were produced between 1958 and 1998. The Żuk has a most characteristic shape not seen on the roads of western Europe. It was also assembled in Egypt as the Ramses.

And a propos of old cars, our 15 year-old Nissan Micra hit a nice round figure - one hundred and eleven thousand, one hundred and eleven point one miles (below). Average mileage isn't that high, but for the past six years its barely ever ventured outside Warsaw's city limits. Fuel consumption is still excellent (42 mpg on last tankful), given the car sits in traffic jams much of the time (when it's not bounding up and down over the unasphalted ul. Poloneza). I believe the Nissan Micra K11 will too have iconic status. I do love my one for its character, reliability and willingness.

This time last year:

The weather was stormy (contrast with this year!)
Setting suns, south of Warsaw

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