Communist Polish manufacturer FSC – makers of vehicular magnificence such as this – also made something not terrible. FSC’s Star truck line began in the late 1940s, and despite the shackles of the Iron Curtain produced reliable, cheap and reasonably powerful heavy duty trucks for a variety of markets until it was swallowed up by MAN in the 1990s. This is one such truck, the Star 660, as created really rather wonderfully by previous bloggee [Maks]. Ingenious parts usage, clever building techniques, and a custom mini-figure are all worth a closer look, and you can follow the pole star on Flickr via the link.
This is a ZSD Nysa 522, a Polish communistical van based on the FSC Zuk, only a little nicer (hence our terrifically amusing title!). The Zuk was itself based on an FSO, which was based on a GAZ, making the Nysa the last link in effectively one long chain of Iron Curtain automotive misery.
Said Iron Curtain meant the Nysa 522 remained in production – unbelievably – until 1994, by which time the newly democratic Polish government could elect to import vans that weren’t based on the design of a Russian passenger car from the 1940s.
This lovely Model Team recreation of the ZSD Nysa 522 comes from previous bloggee and weird-Eastern-European-communist-era-specialist Legostalgie, who has captured its characterful styling beautifully. There are opening doors, including a clever sliding one on the passenger side, a detailed engine, and a lifelike interior, and there’s much more to see at Legostalgie’s ‘Nysa 522’ album on Flickr, where a link to building instructions can also be found.
Click the link above to take a look, and the link above that to see all of the weird-Eastern-European-communist-era vehicles from Legostalgie that have appeared here at The Lego Car Blog to date. All are fantastic, but we think this one is even a little Nysa…
This is an FSC Zuk, a Polish one-ton truck based on an FSO based on a GAZ from the ’50s. And we love it. Because it’s crap.
Like pretty much everything from behind the Iron Curtain, the Zuk was cheap, simple, and produced for far longer than it should have been. It’s TLCB of trucks.
This lovely Model Team recreation of the FSC Zuk in curtain-sided flatbed form comes from Soviet specialist Legostalgie of Flickr, who has captured the Polish workhorse beautifully. Expert detailing and some rather clever building techniques make this one of our favourite vehicles of the year so far, and there’s lots more of it to see at Legostalgie’s photostream – Click the link to make the jump.
The European Bison is one of Poland’s national animals. Hunted to extinction in the wild (as late as the 1920s – surely we knew better by then?), the heaviest land animal in Europe has now been reintroduced successfully across multiple countries, led by Poland, and has progressed from ‘Extinct’, through ‘Threatened’, and is now classified as ‘Near Threatened’, which has got to be a win for nature.
Cue this rather formidable looking classic combine harvester by Flickr’s Montgomery Burns (no, not that one), a Polish machine which shares its name with their national animal. The whirly thingies, spikey thingies, and the tube out the side (we’re not farmers…) are all accurately recreated in brick, and there’s more to see at Montgomery’s photostream. Click the link above to take a look.
Following the phenomenally successful 500, Fiat followed up with another rear-engined, rear-driven design, the near five-million selling 126.
Much of the 126’s technology was based on the 1950’s 500, which – considering it was produced in Polski-Fiat 126p form until the year 2000 – is both an astonishing achievement and rather frightening.
It’s the Polski-Fiat version we’re featuring here today, a car that mobilised Poland, although only if you were prepared to wait years or had communistical connections. Recreated in a fetching ‘hearing-aid beige’ / ‘baby-sick yellow’, Legostalgie‘s Model Team replica of the 126p captures the real car wonderfully, with a near perfect exterior, detailed interior, plus opening doors, front trunk and engine cover, with a realistic two-cylinder engine underneath.
Legostalgie has presented his model beautifully, and there are more top-notch images available to view at his ‘Polski Fiat 126p’ album on Flickr – click on the link above for all the drawbacks of a 1970’s Porsche 911, but none of the thrills…
Italy, no stranger to maniacal despots itself, had a nice little business selling its old products to scumbag dictatorships in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. The most famous of these is probably the Polski-Fiat 126, built under license in Poland alongside the Italian made, and actually quite good, Fiat 126.
The two cars were almost identical in the 1970s, with the Polski version using a few lower specified components but otherwise being indistinguishable save for a little ‘p’ on badge.
The Italian-made 126 ceased production in 1980 after an eight year production run, however the Polski-Fiat version, with its Communist standard long waiting list (with Poles largely dependent upon coupons from the Government to buy one), survived for another twenty years, by which point it really was a turd.
This wonderful model of the Polski-Fiat 126 isn’t a turd at all though, being a thoroughly excellent recreation of the humble Polish peoples’ car. Built by previous bloggee Dornbi of Flickr it captures the real 126p beautifully (and is pictured above alongside an equally good communist counterpart Trabant).
Head to Poland (via Italy) sometime in the 1980s at Dornbi’s photostream by clicking on the link above.
We like a good tractor here at TLCB. We even like a not very good tractor, which – knowing little about this Ursus C-360 from 1970s Poland – today’s one may well be. It is a lovely build though, coming from Flickr’s Thietmaier (aka Damian Z) who has recently updated his previously blogged design with LEGO’s latest parts. He’s also built a plethora of farming equipment to accompany it, including whatever that green thing is above. See more of it and the fabulous tractor pulling it at Thietmaier’s Ursus C-360 album by clicking here.
This rather lovely looking automobile is the CWS T-1, the first serially-produced car to be manufactured in Poland. The T-1 was a clever piece of design too, with the entire car using only a single bolt size meaning just one was tool was needed to take it apart completely.
Unfortunately the T-1 had a relatively short life as CWS were swallowed up by the Polish state in 1930, who then signed deal with FIAT. FIAT didn’t like competition much and requested that production of the T-1 cease, and the Polish state agreed, giving FIAT a monopoly that eventually led to such abominations at this and this. Oh well.
This mini-figure scale recreation of the long-forgotten Polish pioneer comes from Mateusz Waldowski of Flickr and there’s more to see of his excellent CWS T-1 at his photostream. Take a look via the link above.
This beautiful little Ursus C330 tractor was found by one of our Elves on Flickr today. Built by Thietmaier aka Damian Z it deploys a brilliantly chosen array of tiny pieces to give a wealth of detail to the build. See more on Flickr at the link.
Flickr’s Jakeof_ is back, with this beautifully constructed MTZ-82.1 tractor – complete with hot dogs for wheel arches – towing a pair of Autosan D-732 trailers. Lovely detailing is visible throughout and there’s much more to see of this superb threesome at his MTZ-82.1 / Austin D-732 Flickr album. Click the link above to visit Jakeof_’s farm.
Founded in 1893 by a team of seven engineers and businessmen the Ursus factory began producing exhaust engines and trucks. In 1930 the company was nationalised during the Great Depression and Ursus switched to making vehicles, machinery and arms for the Polish military. Not enough of them sadly as Germany (and the Soviet Union weirdly) successfully invaded and then annexed Poland in 1939, triggering the start of the Second World War.
The Ursus factory, now under German control, was forced into producing arms for the German military, building Panzer II and Wespe tanks. Following the Allied victory in 1945 Ursus returned to making tractors, copying designs from Germany and working with Zetor of Czechoslovakia to dramatically increase tractor production in Eastern Europe.
It worked too, with a combined 120,000 units produced across both brands annually at the firms’ peak. However, the Cold War loomed, and an over-ambitious state-sponsored expansion programme in the late ’70s and 1980s led to Ursus (and many other Polish businesses) incurring massive amounts of debt in the push for modernisation. Although up to 80% of these loans were eventually written off Ursus production was crippled, and now numbers around just 1,500 units a year.
Builder Marek Markiewicz (aka M-longer) remembers happier times at Ursus when orders were c60,000 a year with his gloriously accurate 1980s Ursus 912 4-cylinder tractor. Using the wheels from the LEGO Technic 42054 Claas Xerion set has enabled Marek to build his Ursus big and as such it’s absolutely packed with detail. An opening ventilated roof and a pendular front axle also feature and there’s a whole lot more to see courtesy of Marek’s Flickr photostream and via the Eurobricks discussion forum. Follow the links in the text above for the full set of images of Marek’s brilliant Ursus 912.
This absolutely beautiful creation comes from previous bloggee Eric Trax, and it’s a near-perfect replica of a Polish Autosan H9-21 39-seat intercity bus produced from the 1970s until the early 2000s.
Powered by a 6.5 litre turbodiesel the Autosan H9 only had 150bhp, but it was reliable, easy to repair, and could handle near constant use on poor quality roads, making it an ideal export around the world, carrying passengers in the USSR, Eastern Europe, North Africa, South America, Korea and China.
Eric’s wonderful Model Team version of the popular Polish bus recreates the exterior and interior brilliantly in Lego form, and the model also includes remote control drive, steering, a 2-speed gearbox, opening doors, a detailed engine under the raising engine cover, and opening luggage compartments.
This neat recreation of a Poland’s finest 1 ton truck comes from previous bloggee Thietmaier and it’s a beautifully built little thing. Unlike the real Zuk A11B, which, well… wasn’t.
Based on an FSO Warszawa, which was itself based on a ’50s Soviet GAZ-M20, the Zuk A11B was produced right up until 1998 with almost 600,000 built, mostly for state organisations (yay communism again…).
Thietmaier has added one more Zuk to that number, and you can see more of his excellent 6-wide canvas-covered flatbed version on Flickr at the link above.
This beautiful machine is a Stalowa Wola L34 front loader, built from the mid-70s until the 2000 in Poland and now recreated in stunning accuracy by Zbiczasty of Brickshelf.
Featuring Power Functions all wheel drive, articulated steering and a pneumatically operable front bucket Zbiczasty’s model is much more than a detailed display piece. Zbiczasty has also created the Stalowa Wola L34’s front-mounted grab which can be fitted in place of the bucket, allowing the vehicle to become a foresting tractor.
There’s lots more of this hugely impressive model to see via Zbiczasty’s Brickshelf gallery, where there are nearly twenty spectacularly good photographs available. Click the link above to make the jump to Brickshelf.
After a few deeply cool and exotic vehicles TLCB has returned to its place in the automotive gutter, a spot we seem to inhabit rather frequently. This is an FSC Zuk van, and it’s hideous in every way. It comes – as most vehicles of this type seem to – from behind the Iron Curtain, and was produced using leftover bits of FSO and GAZ vehicles from 1958, when it was probably a passable purchase, until a scarcely believable 1998. Yay communism. Thankfully after the fall of the Soviet Union the Zuk died a relatively quick death, but with over half a million units produced many can still be seen in its native Poland.
This Technic recreation of the communistical horror-show isn’t hideous at all though, and features some most excellent engineering, including remote control drive and steering, opening doors, and working suspension. Previous bloggee damianple is the builder and there are more images available on Brickshelf – click the link above to see the full gallery.