Maluch in capitalism
The Polish Fiat 126p was a thoroughly socialist enterprise. It was the state that decided to launch production of the popular car, bought the licence and selected the contractor, built the factory and organised the system for selling the finished vehicles. But the Maluch survived the change of regime and was produced for more than a decade under Polish capitalism, eventually returning under the wings of the Western group that designed it.
On the eve of the contract parliamentary elections, Maluch cars dominated the streets of Wrocław. The number of all cars registered in the city exceeded 100,000 that year. The photo shows the corner of Błogosławionego Czesława and Oławska Streets during the election campaign for the Sejm elections scheduled for 4 June 1989.
Photo by Ireneusz Hasik (collections of the ‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre)
One of the characteristic phenomena of the early 1990s were Roma children looking for a livelihood. They specialised in washing car windscreens, but usually chose cars better than a Maluch.
Photo by N.N. (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Documents of Social Life Department)
‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ of 29 May 1992, no. 126, p. 1 (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Periodicals Department)
At the end of the 1980s, the financial situation of the Small-Engine Car Factory deteriorated drastically. Exports of the obsolete Fiat 126p to western markets collapsed. FIAT took an interest in the bankrupt giant. The privatisation agreement – widely criticised for under-valuing FSM’s assets – was signed on 28 May 1992.
‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ of 29 May 1992, no. 126, p. 2 (collections of the Ossolineum Library / Periodicals Department)