Maluch on the car exchange

The car exchanges in communist Poland perfectly reflected the absurdities and paradoxes of the system of central planning and the state monopoly on the circulation of goods. The exchange prices of cars were even twice as high as the official prices. This was also the case with the Maluch. When the first cars appeared on the market in the second half of 1973, those who wanted to buy one had to be prepared to pay 120,000 zlotys (the official price was 69,000 zlotys).

Photo 1.

Before 1978, the Sunday car market moved for a longer period of time to the area between Marcin Kromer Avenue and Toruńska and Giżycka Streets. The photo shows a Fiat 126p among other cars for sale, December 1978.

Photo by Zbigniew Nowak (collections of ‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre )

Photo 2.

In the 1960s, the Wrocław car exchange was located in Swobodna Street. In the first half of the following decade, it operated in Piękna Street, near the Motozbyt (from 1974 Polmozbyt) outlet in Kamienna Street. At the end of 1975, as reported in the press, the exchange was moved to Racławicka Street.

‘Słowo Polskie’ of 20–21 December 1975, No. 283, p. 2 (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Periodicals Department)

Photo 3.

Find two mismatched items in this alleyway at the exchange in Gnieźnieńska Street in Wrocław in March 1993.

Photo by N.N. (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Documents of Social Life Department)

Photo 4.

A reporter from ‘Słowo Polskie’ reported on the sale of a Fiat 126p for 110,000 zloty at the first February car exchange in Wrocław in 1974.

‘Słowo Polskie’ of 6 February 1974, No. 31, p. 6 (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Periodicals Department)

Photo 5.

The owner of a Maluch did not expect much less when he announced his willingness to sell in ‘Słowo Polskie’ in April 1974.

‘Słowo Polskie’ of 17 April 1974, No. 90, p. 7 (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Periodicals Department)

Photo 6.

Despite the launch of Plant No. 2 in Tychy and a significant increase in the production of Fiat 126p at the end of 1975, the prices of new units reached 120,000 zlotys.

‘Słowo Polskie’ of 17 December 1975, No. 280, p. 6 (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Periodicals Department)