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Spotted: the Polish car industry was bigger than you think

November 25, 2022

Earlier this week you may have already read the report of our visit to Youngtimerworld. There, yours truly was not simply. In fact, the visit was combined with the general membership meeting of the Elk Merk Waardig association. More on that association later. The meeting was held in conjunction with lunch at Polish restaurant U Górala. This turns out to be a very interesting place for car enthusiasts.

Upon arrival, all around the property appear to be classic Polish cars. The history of the Polish car industry is not very well known here anyway, let alone that all those cars are also still here in the Netherlands on Dutch registration plates. It may come as no surprise that the restaurant also has a Polish owner. By the way, although Poland is not necessarily known for its cuisine, we had a delicious meal at U Górala.

From Żuk to FSO

In front of the door we are already “received” by a 1986 FSC Żuk, which has been on Dutch registration for a little over a year now. With this year of construction, this specimen is not even a very late one. The Żuk was produced from 1958 to 1998 without too many changes. On the other side of the building was also a gray one with single cab and open cargo box.

Next to the Żuk is this 1994 FSO Polonez, which has been in the Netherlands since late 2020. When was the last time you saw them? Well, shortly before at Youngtimerworld, an almost identical one even. But beyond that?

A whole collection of FSOs and more

Around the corner, it turns out that next to the restaurant is a (unfortunately somewhat dark) garage full of even more special stuff. How about a 1968 FSO Warszawa 223, which has just been registered in the Netherlands for two months? Or an FSO Syrena? Behind it is another FSO Syrena, a 1982 105L. That year of construction is simply correct, the model was in production from 1957 through 1983. In the very back corner is a Polski Fiat 125p. Also very special in this part of Europe: a (ZSD) Nysa 522. This particular type was introduced in 1968, but remained in production through 1994.

Vehicles up to the restaurant

Even in the restaurant there are vehicles. The pickup is an FSO Syrena R-20 (the designation for the pickup version). Of the many motorcycles, we have not looked up all the makes and types, but they too are undoubtedly all Polish types. Also very nice is the wall decoration with historic Polish street scenes. To make it complete, there are also many other historical utensils in the restaurant.

The association Every Brand Worthy

As mentioned, the visit to Youngtimerworld and the restaurant was combined with the General Membership Meeting of the Elk Merk Waardig association. That is an association for unknown and misunderstood cars. In doing so, the association ties in nicely with Youngtimerworld, although certainly not only youngtimers are welcome. Anyone with a car that is somewhat unusual or colors outside the lines may apply as a member.

Of course, the members present came to the meeting with matching transportation. Below is just a sampling of the cars in the parking lot where the gathering took place. It would go too far to treat all the cars individually here, but some highlights are surely an original Dutch Zastava 1100 from 1983, a never officially delivered in Europe Nissan Stagea Aero Limited from model year 1996 or a 1990 Austin Montego 2.0 GTI also very rare in the Netherlands. There is much more beauty in the parking lot, for example. The assembled cars give a nice picture of the great diversity within the association and its members.