Zlomnik.pl is a Polish website dedicated to old and not-so-old, interesting and not-so-interesting, cars from the last thirty years of the twentieth century, give or take a few years. Its readers send in pictures of various cars they see around the country for a weekly, give or take a few days, “miks” (mix) post.
While zlomnik.pl completely mixes all of cars together, I like to divide them by their countries of origin. To make things more interesting, seeing as all the cars post are post-war models, I have divided them up into two major groups; Axis Powers and the Allied Powers In the past we have seen Japanese and Italian cars that are living and dying in Poland. We then attacked the German cars by splitting them into the post-war configuration of West Germany and East Germany.
Today we look at the first of the Allied Forces, which also happens to be the last to get involved in the conflict, the United States. American cars have been mostly absent from the streets of Poland until the early 1990’s when their importation became popular due to the low cost and abundance of used cars in the United States. The most fascinating thing about these cars is the random selection of makes and models. One would think that fuel efficient, or reliable, or large status cars would be the most popular, but no.
I rented one of those in 2001; what a horribly, almost scary, handling vehicle. Awful interior, too. Notice the lights.
In the mid 90’s, while in high school, I used to work at a little radio store doing automotive installations. One day, a weird-ish middle-aged guy in a very cheap suit came in with a newly purchased super mint late 80’s one of these (I assumed he just landed some kind of a traveling sales job). He wanted a CD player installed, which meant a new single DIN radio in place of the factory DIN-and-a-half radio. Fine, no big deal… Until I realized that this installation would require the removal of more than forty torx (I think) screws! And half the dash.
That sucked. I had about ten screws left over when I was done and no idea where to screw them into. To make things worse he had to come back the next day because I wired the illumination wire wrong, oops. When he left the second time I had about fifteen screws in my hand. The dash felt solid though, or as solid as late 80’s GM car could be.
Euro plates come either as a long rectangle or double-stacked into a square, neither of which fits into the oddly-shaped, compared to the rest of the world), North American space.
Who’s Zeb? Zeb’s dead, baby.
Look at the way it takes that corner, it’s almost majestic… must be going at least 10mph. 10/10, would LeMons.
Question: was this Saturn such an amazing vehicle that you would pay at least half its worth to ship across the world?
“Krysia, I imported for us the newest car from the newest American car company – it’s the future!”
Europe had its own Ford Escort, so why would anyone ship an American one?
I’d also say that the Euro escorts were much better than the American escorts. Same goes for the Fords.
“I imported myself a Cadillac!!! Check it out, Zbyszek!”
“Why does it look like my cousin’s Opel?”
There you go, that’s a proper American car to import into Eastern Europe. But why is it dying like this? Lack of proper standard tools?
“Jacek, but it’s a two-door sedan, it’s completely pointless!!”
“Nie, Grzegorz, this is the fast one, it has black trim and a spoiler!”
To be fair, I don’t think European Ford offered a two-door sedan, so importing these POSs could have made some marketing sense.
No, it didn’t.
“Zbyszek, Mitsubishis are crap, that’s why I imported myself an Eagle!”
“With our newly found freedom I found individuality, too, and I didn’t want to be like everyone else, driving a Suzuki”
Europe did not have many full-frame vans that also worked well as comfortable family vehicles, so I see the appeal in those.
It’s parked in a specially fenced off part of urban parking lot, to protect it from thieves.
There you go, this guy was doing it right! The trunk could swallow up two Fiat 126s.
‘Murika! Kurwa Jea!
Importing a mint Pinto must have been done as joke or on a dare. Ran when parked. Nice face pixelation. Nice Scoobie!
Connoisseur of ’91-’95 Chrysler minivans, which is completely understandable.
I used to have a Matchbox of one of these when I was a kid, and had no idea what that ugly thing was. Yellow plates means that it’s registered as antique.
One thing Europe did have was cool wagons, so why bring this over? Well, it was cool/futuristic-looking when it was new, it was American, it was bigger than most Euro wagons, and had a third row folding seat.
These were sold in Western Europe too, and this looks to be one of those. They were available with a diesel engine (not sure which) and a manual transmission.
Until I was seven years old I had no idea what a Camaro was. I got a model kit of this generation Camaro and instantly fell in love. It was so unlike anything I ever saw in Europe, a large sports car! The bumper grill design was so different than the typical grill-above-the-bumper, and it had blinkers on the inside of the headlights!! Insanity!
I instantly fell out love when I saw one up close.
Limo driver was a popular occupation for Polish immigrants in America; my step father did it. It only makes sense that some of them realized the business potential of stretch limos in Europe, where such cars were only seen in movies. This looks like a parts car.
Connoisseur of ’89-’97 Thunderbirds. I liked those a lot, wanted to buy one. With a slick BMW 6-esque shape, good power, independent rear suspension, BMW-esque interior, these were the most Euro cars American Ford offered.
I can see the appeal of affordable small truck-based SUVs. I am surprised that more small pickups were not sent over, perhaps because other small Euro vehicles were simply more functional. The appeal of pickup trucks is somewhat lost on me even these days.
I did not understand these at all. How did anyone at Ford thought that this would be a good idea? I think they sold like forty total.
Deuce and a half? I am not sure. How did get there, into a government organization? Perhaps it was donated? Left over from war?
Bottom of the pic, Peugeot wagon. I think. And a Passat. I think.
There were a lot of U.S. military vehicles left over from WW2 and restored… but this looks to be a later model. Now that I look at it, it may not even be a U.S. Jeep.
In addition to taillights being a colors from blinkers, some lights, such as reverse and rear fog-lights, had to be mounted a specific distance from the road surface. There are a bunch of regulations like that in Poland, and surprisingly most people very aware of them. When I have friends or family visit me in U.S. they always question weird things that are completely normal to me, such as the fact that you don’t need a special license to drive a bus-sized RV.
Note the Euro trailer hitch. I think you can get one on a Land Rover in U.S. Lately US-style hitches are gaining popularity in Europe because they allow the use of bike rack and other such accessories. Relating to the above and specific regulations, each such hitch attachment I saw, being it a bike rack or a cargo tray, had taillights on it and the license plates moved to it, probably because both had to be at the extremes of the vehicle.
I don’t think this is Poland, but it’s a great picture so I included it.
This must have been so intimidating to the ton of small cars on the roads.
“Pontiac make amazing sport sedans, that’s why I imported this”
I would park this in my garage, next to my 2005 Thunderbird.
No, no I wouldn’t… but there is something appealing about this.
One of the worst Mustangs ever, in mint condition, with historic plates. Don’t matter, own a Mustang. ‘Murika!
Is that a supercharged badge? If so, I need a transmission from it for my Regal.
I believe the headlight covers were disabled or even removed because of these very specific Euro regulations. If you think U.S. DOT is strict/weird, you wrong… we have it easy.
This looks to be a Middle East import as I have never seen these vans equipped similarly in U.S., but do see them on news casts from the Middle East with those bars and lights.
I think that’s a camper shell in the back of that Zuk.
Another U.S. spec two-door sedan. Who wouldn’t want a two-door Cary that’s identical to the sedan? I’m disappointed that they stopped making these.
Tak, kurwa, ‘Murika!!
(headlight flappers looked to be removed… damn communists!!)
G G G Geo!!!
“Oh honey, Zbyszek, I love that Buick, it’s ssoooo ‘murikan!! Please, let’s import that! Just think how impressed everyone at church will be”
Funny thing happened… when I was first exposed to the classic American van I though that they were inefficient in terms of space layout; big on the outside and small on the inside. I wondered why Ford wouldn’t import the amazingly popular Transit which would likely kick Econoline’s ass. Well, now they are. And now I feel a bit nostalgic about the classic American van. We used to have a ’91 Dodge Conversion van when I was a kid… loved that thing.
I liked this slightly more rounded/update Grand Marquis. Family friend had one, I want to say that it was an ’88 or ’89. We drove it from NYC to Niagara Falls; six people and truck full of stuff… MB S-class had nothing on this.
Furious, not fast. T-tops, another thing Europe did not have. Gawd I miss t-tops. We have now have coupe, we have roadsters, and we have convertibles? Why can’t we have effing t-tops!??!?!
Special delivery for Zach Bowman.
Baruth says that dealers couldn’t unload these things.
I always thought the Astros were great; foot print of a car, frame of a truck, capacity of a full-size van, and available AWD. They sold well, too, I think. No wonder GM killed them.
The forward-control truck is a Polish FSC Star truck. Like most Polish state-owned companies, it was bought out by a western company once communism fell, MAN is this case. They should have kept the name… MAN STAR!
OEM replacement soft top.
This is amazing… a U.S.-spec Peugeot, with California plates… in Poland!!!
This man’s answer to “what would be your ideal vehicle to drive around the world?” was “Peugeot 405, of course!!”
Connoisseur of large American ko-oo-pe-s.
‘Murika, tak kurwa!!
“Honey, I know Zbyszek got that Buick for his wife you saw at church, but really, this is better! Pontiac is known for its sport cars and only old people drive Buicks, trust me!”
Side pipes!!! I can’t believe they didn’t forced these to be removed. Remember when the Dodge Viper was first sold on European soil? The side pipes were gone… but leg burns remained.
When I was first exposed to U.S. spec car I did find it odd that one bulb was used as a taillight, brake light, and a blinker. That’s a lot of eggs in one basket.
Two for the price of one! Must be an American car connoisseur.
Well, that’s unexpected. I love how it’s casually parallel parked on the street.
Pontiac made amazing mid-engine sport cars and this connoisseur knows it.
“Marcin, this is so much better than Jacek’s car, it’s a beauty!… look at those sexy lines….ohh, and it’s the Sport version, must be fast… nice!!!”
- No one ever
“No honey, I did not buy an Opel! It’s a Pontiac, a superb sports sedan… just look at the name,
Has anyone ran a Pontiac LeMans in LeMons yet? Seems like the most obvious choice.
Dafaq are those headlights? Dafaq are those wheels? And the square plate in front, why?
The black plates means it was registered before European Union regulations, back then each country had different color license plates. Or before Poland was part of EU, not sure.
What is that thing next to the gas filler? Natural gas filler? Those conversions are popular there.
Dying, if not already dead.
Hey Lincoln, take the existing Mustang Chassis, add a few inches, make it pretty, and bring Lincoln back! Just don’t call it MKC.
That’s not a wagon, that’s a wagon!!
Another connoisseur. Obviously the Pontiac is faster than the other two.
I’m willing to bet that the current owner has no clue what the flag signifies.
My driver’s ed car was a POS just like this.
“Yes, Ivonka, I imported the Mercury because it’s the upscale Ford, much nicer all around, more powerful too… and I got a proper sedan, not one of those two-door discount sedans like Jacek”
Pontiac built Excitement!
“Wanda, I imported a proper sports sedan, a Pontiac…”