Maluch good for everything

The Fiat 126 was designed as a city car. In Western European countries in the 1970s, cars of this size were often the second car in the family, making it easier to get around the increasingly congested streets of large cities. In communist Poland, the Fiat 126p had to play the role of a family car that could take the whole family on a two-week holiday at the seaside.

Photo 1.

Owners of the Fiat 126, regardless of the cramped cabins and the microscopic size of the boot, used them for holiday trips. The photo shows an Italian Fiat 126 somewhere on the Polish coast in the summer of 1973.

Photo by Wiesław Sroka (collections of Piotr Sroka)

Photo 2, 3.

 ‘What is the Polish Fiat 126p like?’ was the question that the editors of ‘Słowo Polskie’ tried to answer for their readers when they were given a car to test in December 1975.

‘Słowo Polskie’ of 3 December 1975, No. 268, p. 6 (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Periodicals Department)

‘Słowo Polskie’ of 31 December 1975 – 1 January 1976, No. 290, p. 6 (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Periodicals Department)

Photo 4.

The Maluch performed best in city traffic. The photo shows a Fiat 126p at the junction of Toruńska Street and Marcina Kromera Avenue in Wrocław in December 1978.

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

Photo 5.

In September 1981, ‘Słowo Polskie’ reported the birth of a baby in the cab of a Fiat 126p. It was certainly the smallest delivery room in the world, but it was mobile…

 ‘Słowo Polskie’ of 11–13 September 1981, No. 176, p. 1 (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Periodicals Department)

Photo 6.

Car park in front of the Lubin mine in 1980. Workplaces of particular importance to the economy, such as the Copper Mining and Smelting Combine, were generously supplied with vouchers, enabling them to buy a small Fiat out of turn.

Photo by Krzysztof Raczkowiak (collections of the Historical Museum in Lubin)

Photo 7.

The Maluch also motorised the Polish countryside. The picture shows the modernised FL model introduced at the end of 1984 in the backyard of a farm in Marszowice near Oława, 1987.

Photo by Henryk Jachym (collections of ‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre )

Photo 8.

In the People’s Republic of Poland, the small Fiat was used as a family car, and the boot on the roof increased its transport capacity considerably.

Photo by Czesław Kowalski (private collections)