In the early 80s there were just about no American cars in Poland. Growing up in the capital city I may have seen one random American land-yacht and perhaps a van near the embassy row, but that’s about it. The cars seen in movies and TV shows were the typical, and almost-mythical, big police cruisers and smaller, but still big by Fiat 126p standards, sports cars. Think Smokey and the Bandit, Bullitt, Blues Brothers, Hill Street Blues, Kojak, and similar.
From behind the iron curtain, a kid such as myself had no idea what cars in North America really were. I really did not know that vehicles such as the F-series pickups or Suburbans even existed, never mind the fact that they could be so popular. Same thing with big family station wagons and their amazing tailgates and OMG rear-facing seats. The idea of non-American cars in America did not even cross my mind – why would it, when you have all this awesomeness, right?
In the late 80s and early 90s all hell broke lose. Communism was out and people of Poland were finally able to buy whatever cars they wanted. Importing cars from the United States meant huge shipping costs and tariffs, but so what? Who wouldn’t want a big, comfortable, Chryler or Chevrolet over a crappy Audiwagen? It was a lot more than a car however; it was the idea of choice, it was TV Land becoming reality, it meant, in some far-reaching but realistic way, freedom.
I have introduced Zlomnik to Hooniverse before: We looked at cars around my old neighborhood, the country as whole, and even a junk yard in Norway. Today we look at the North American market cars that were imported to Poland in the late 80s to mid-90s, or so. They’re interesting choices to say the least. Next time we’ll look at the French cars. As always, checkout zlomnik.com; use google translate or just look at the pictures like I do.
Why bother with a VW van when an Astro conversion comes with plush captains’ seats?
Big American land-yachts, it’s the stuff dreams were made of.
I have no idea why anyone would import that.
Conversion vans, minivans, sometimes conversion minivans. They’re becoming scrap now, victims of poor part supplies, non-metric tools, and poor gas mileage.
This was once a dream, while a Lada Niva was reality.
The bigger, the longer, the better.
Station wagons! Stretch limos were the thing to get married in, as opposed to a Maluch with two baloons and a bow.
Headlights were changed to meet some weird Euro spec.
Judging by the plates, it’s someone who works at an embassy or a consulate. Weird choice to ship overseas, but during my travels last year I saw a newer Chrysler Sebring with Minnesota plates – WTF Americans?
Back then few would know the difference between the 4-cylinder and the V8 – it was a Mustang and roads it was on were crappy at best, 70mph was fast.
“Ford Aerostar is the best vehicle ever made”
Why anyone would import this is beyond me. The same car could have been had in the domestic market, perhaps without the leather seats. Note the required add-on rear fog-light.
Again… I don’t even…
Why bother with a common Nissan when you can have an exotic like this American Mercury Villager?
Note the color of the taillights. Turn signals must be amber.
One reason any big American cars don’t work well in Europe, parking. It’s not uncommon to see cars parked at a 45-degree angle on sidewalks. The van fits, the American coupe, not so much.
Why was this car packaged and shipped 5000 miles to live there?