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.
There’s lots more to see of Eric’s Autosan H9-21 at Flickr, Brickshelf, and the Eurobricks forum, where you can also find a video showing the model in action. Hop on board via the links above.
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.
This neat Lego Ursus tractor (a Polish-built Massey Ferguson) comes from previous bloggee Damien Z. aka Thietmaier. It’s both beautifully constructed and photographed, and you can see all the images on Flickr here.
This is one of the more unusual vehicles to appear here at TLCB this year, but it’s one of our absolute favourites!
This gorgeous 1971 Jelcz Mielec television truck has been constructed by TLCB regular Karwik. At 9 studs wide it’s one of the largest mini-figure scale vehicles we’ve featured here, and it’s also one of the most intricate.
Every detail of the real truck – which you can find online by searching for ‘Jelcz Mielec’ – has been captured beautifully (unlike a 1970s Polish TV camera) and the build has been completed with the addition of some brilliant custom decals and professionally chromed pieces by Chrome Block City.
We highly recommend viewing Karwik’s excellent gallery on Flickr – click the link above to switch channels.
We found this model too late for Halloween, but it would have been a perfect Frankenstein’s monster for the festival of all things horrible!
Many vehicle manufacturers have sold off their old designs to be re-built (badly) by state-run abominations within oppressive totalitarian regimes. Mitsubishi, Renault, Rover and – most prolifically of all – Fiat, have all seen their retired cars re-borne overseas. Lada, Yugo, Zastava, and FSO amongst others all owe their engineering to Fiat, and they all had one thing in common. They were complete sh*…
Fortunately the people of Poland are now unshackled from both the tyranny of communism and the FSO Polonez they had little option but to drive. The FSO company didn’t last long in the free world after the fall of the Soviet Union, and the factory closed down in the early ’00s.
The FSO Polonez is therefore quite a strange choice for a Lego Technic ‘Supercar’, but that’s just what newcomer Krzysztof Cytacki has chosen to recreate, and in doing so he’s built one of the finest and most accurate Supercars we’ve ever seen.
Underneath the stylish bodywork there’s a perfectly replicated engine, gearbox, interior, steering and suspension system, plus opening doors, hood and hatchback, working windscreen wipers and LED lights. It really is one of the best Technic Supercars ever built.
You can see Krzysztof’s creation in a huge gallery on Flickr by way of the link above – it’s well worth a few clicks.
Flickr’s Karwik is a regular here at The Lego Car Blog, with over a dozen of his beautiful Town vehicles featured here since our inception. Today he adds no less than six more creations to his blog-count with this simply wonderful Star C-28 Car Transporter complete with Polski-Fiat load.
Five Polski-Fiat 125ps feature, with three sedans, one station wagon and even a pick-up loaded onto the ZBNS D-91 trailer. All variants were, er… rubbish, but that doesn’t stop them looking spectacular in Lego form with Karwik’s huge attention to detail evident on each one.
We highly recommend a visit to Karwik’s photostream to see more of the Star C-28 truck, ZBNS trailer, and its Fiat 125p load. You can also view all of Karwik’s other incredible blogged creations by typing his name into the search box at the foot of this page (or at the top right for those viewing on mobile devices). Now, time for us to give a very lucky Elf six Smarties (and possibly diabetes).
After some big posts last week we kick of the new week with something a bit smaller. This beautiful classic Polish Autosan H9-35 bus was built by Maciej Drwiega on Flickr. It may only be ‘Town’ scale but the detail is as intricate as on the largest model we’ve posted here. You can see more of the Autosan via the link above.