The Polski Fiat 125p was the horrible car everyone dreamed of
Like so many of the cars produced behind the Iron Curtain, this Polish sedan was originally built under a license from Italy’s Fiat. Named after the Italian Fiat 125 on which it was theoretically based, the 125p was a significantly different, watered-down version of its Italian relative. Like all the cars of communist Eastern Europe, it had immediate issues and poor reliability. By the time production ended in 1991, the 125p was hopelessly out-of-date—the first three-box sedan rolled onto the streets in 1967.
Despite its faults, the 125p was hugely popular in Poland in-period, and not because of its sleek design, desirable features, or amazing power. The petite sedan won over buyers due to its accessible price and wide availability—and even that was a challenge. In communist countries, a car of any kind was a luxurious commodity.
One way to obtain a 125p was to win a lottery that allowed you to purchase a vehicle, when that vehicle was available. You could pre-pay yourself or, more typically, your whole family would chip in to buy the car once it became available. It was a sound investment, too, because a new Fiat 125p could be easily flipped for significant profit on the black market. Private automobile sales were not exactly legal.
Things changed once communism was overthrown in Poland. The market was immediately flooded with cars imported from the West, and demand for the 125p and its kind plunged. It was then, in the mid-1990s, that the adventure of one Polish YouTuber, Zbigniew Łomnik, with the 125p began.
Being young and broke is not ideal for any connoisseur of fine automobiles. Zbigniew was looking for his first car, and back then the 125p was the cheapest of them all. He ended up buying something else for reasons that will soon become evident. In this video he takes us on an interesting, sad, funny, and factual adventure that is his story with his Polski Fiat 125p.
Zbigniew’s channel is extremely popular in Poland. Unfortunately, most videos are in Polish, but some have English subtitles. The channel is full of interesting and weird cars. Each is presented with a generous dose of fact and wit—and who among us wouldn’t like to know more about the Seat Ronda, Peugeot 305, Opel Manta, or a Lada 110? I therefore asked Zbigniew to make more videos in English, ensuring him that his linguistics skills are superior to that of many Hollywood actors.