25 March 2013

FSO Polonez Rally Car - Dancing To A Different Tune

The 1978-2002 Polonez is effectively a rebodied Polski Fiat 125p that Fabryka Samochodów Osobowych (FSO) built under license from Fiat. The internal components, including the 1.3/1.5 litre engines, the chassis, and running gear, were from the Polski Fiat 125p, but the body was an entirely new hatchback design penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro.
For a car that was designed as basic transport and is largely forgotten elsewhere, the Polonez is having a major renaissance in it's home country of Poland. It's never going to set the world on fire in standard form, but enthusiasts of the car are building examples that would certainly make a lot of modified car nuts self-combust.
The car was meant to be equipped with Fiat's 2 litre DOHC engines in the 1980s, but FSO's financial problems at the time made the purchase of a license from Fiat impossible. There were also factory-developed Polonez rally car in the 80's (The Polonez 2000 Rally) which sneakily had a lot of Abarth-developed rally bits as used on the Fiat 131 Mirafiori such as that cars 2-litre twin-cam engine ; now the car pictured isn't the real thing, but a brilliant homage to the original.
Built by a Polish company called MP Classic, it was seemingly built to be used in classic rallying. While it doesn't feature the iconic Aurelio Lampredi-designed twink, it probably goes one better by having the latter development of the engine as used in the Lancia Delta 16v, but breathing through Twin Weber 40 DCOE carbs instead of a turbo and injection. The body has been seam welded and fitted with a roll cage for strength, while the running gear has been presumably beefed up to not only take the extra power, but also to justify the well-executed all-steel arch extensions covering 15" OZ wheels and 195/50/15 tyres.
Wish we had more info on this; it's certainly made converts of us to the Polonez; for a car supposedly named after a Polish dance, it's certainly picked up it's tempo.

This was the base car which MP started with; inspiring much?

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