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Japanese Cars Living and Dying in Poland – Part 2

Kamil Kaluski December 10, 2014 Eastern European Cars, Featured 17 Comments

A japanese cars living dying poland

Welcome to another episode of Cars Living and Dying in Poland, as seen through the eyes of Zlomnik.pl readers. Today we will once again look at Japanese cars. At first Japanese cars become known for being more affordable than their European counterparts, but soon people realized that they were made significantly better and lasted much longer. Their simple designs made them much easier to work on than some over-engineered European cars. Icing on the cake was superior fuel economy.

Before they were sold in Poland, they were imported by individuals, usually one by one for private use. This independent importation is what created such huge variety of Japanese cars on public roads. Because so many different models shared many parts, there was less fear about part availability and maintenance costs. For people who had to put up with unreliable and inefficient Eastern Bloc for decades, the reliable and affordable Japanese cars presented a huge sigh of relief.

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Prediction – the Corolla will outlive the Benz.

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Sejfy, a place that sells safes.

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I don’t know if the Murano CrossCabriolet was actually sold in Poland or if it had to be imported, but seeing one there is like seeing one in the U.S. – everyone is like “WTF? why? why would you make this? why would you buy this? I better take a pic and share with all the car dorks I know so that they can see that someone was stupid enough to buy this”*

*I happen to like the CrossCabriolet

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I never see early Preludes anymore. Such fun little cars.

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More deadly at any speed than any Corveir, but I’d still love to hoon one.

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For those not paying attention, the current Outback is the size of a Pathfinder.

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4Runner, except it may not be called 4Runner there or anywhere else in the world. Look at the “new” Toyota badge, as opposed to the T O Y O T A. Wheels from a newer 4Runner look good.

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I guess it’s for sale. With all these cars laying around, perhaps a business model for Poland would be a scrapping/recycling yard. I couldn’t do that, of course, because I’d want to save every car that out there, but someone could make millions.

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Two for the price of one. They probably have manual transmissions, too.

The traffic seen here is due to roads that were never designed for this many cars. Highways are being currently built but with most people still living in cities, it will always be tight.

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Moondiscs make every car gangster.

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Looks like like a driver.

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Lexus SC, likely an import from U.S. I saw a nice one on the road in Connecticut the other day – it’s a really handsome car, aged very well.

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I can’t read what it says on the side, but I want it. I think I like these better than equivalent Land Rovers.

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I drove a pickup version of this in southern Africa many years ago. At the time I didn’t like it because of its Corolla interior.

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There was a ton of these around in 1980s Warsaw when I was a kid.

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Hmmm… Euro headlights, probably OEM.

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Notice the street sign. Soon we’ll have a lesson on Polish street signs.

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If you had to repaint your old Land Cruiser, what color would you choose?

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Suzuki Carry, Zlomik’s second favorite car.

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Let’s pause for a minute and revisit the other articles in this series:

American cars living and dying in Poland

American Cars Living and Dying in Poland (part 2)

West German cars living and dying in Poland

West German cars living and dying in Poland (part 2)

East German cars Living and Dying in Poland

Japanese cars living and dying in Poland

Italian cars living and dying in Poland

French Cars Living and Dying in Poland

Soviet Cars Living and Dying in Poland

Czechoslovakian Cars Living and Dying in Poland

Swedish Cars Living and Dying in Poland

Polish Cars Living and Dying in Poland

Obscure, weird, and random cars living and dying in Poland

The Museum of Communist Polish Cars in Krakow

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Those side markers look like an add on. As do the aux lights.


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It’s a Celica, right? With some home made cabrio conversion?

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Did these Accords come in 4-door hatchback versions in U.S.?

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I don’t see any rust. Shocking.

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I see some rust, not shocking.

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Life guard vehicle.

It’s not quite Bay Watch and I don’t see a young Pam Anderson, either. Or Erika Eleniak. Or Nicole Eggert (OMG, did you ever see her in Blown Away?!). Or Yasmine Bleeth. Or Donna D’Errico. Or Traci Bingham. Ok, I’ll stop now.

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What was the difference between these and early Hyundai Pony/Excel?

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That looks a lot like a Alfa. Gawd I hope that’s not an Alfa, or I’ll get yelled at by some commenter from Hutchinson, Kansas, who knows their stuff.

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Don’t ya just wanna hug it?

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I think I have seen one Pulsar with this attachment on, and none with the hatch removed. Cool car.

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I just saw one of these on the street in Boston, was going to take a pic for V.I.S.I.T. post but it pulled away way too quickly.

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I need this!

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That’s so racist.


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Stanced or broken?

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Typical road in Poland where highways haven’t been build yet. Heavy traffic, one lane in each direction with passing zones and speed traps. Drivers are generally good, with a few crazies and some drunks at night. The issue used to be, and still is, that these roads were shared between horse-drawn farmer carriages and 500hp Audis. It’s not the speed that kills, it’s the change in speed.

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This was called Stanza Wagon in the U.S. It’s shocking [sarcasm] that a vehicle that’s part wagon and part minivan didn’t succeed in the U.S. I think it came with AWD, too, making it part wagon, minivan, SUV, or what we commonly call CUV – the most popular kind of vehicle in U.S.

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SVX version 1.0.

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I want to say that alcohol was involved in the accident and the driver may currently be locked up, or is at least without a license or money for the repair.

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This generation 929 pretended to be luxury by bloating up.

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The world needs more square diesel cars.

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Probably a U.S. import. Lexus owners abandon their cars like asshats.

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Lots of patina on that one.

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These came with 4-wheel steering. The new Acura TLX also comes with AWS. What’s with Honda and AWS? I just don’t think it’s at all needed.
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What do you think the top speed of this is?

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It’s amazing how many body configurations this little rascal came in all over the world. It seems like it’s been loved all over the world, too, except inthe U.S. The Samurai left such an impression on Americans that there still are people who see a new Wrangler and think it will roll over like three of these did in 1985. Sigh.

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In case you’re wondering where all the early Lexus SC’s have gone.

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They sure seem to love their SC’s in Poland, eh?

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Without license plates, its days are numbered. When it does not disappear without license plates, someone will open the gas cap and call the fire dept. Then those guys will come and declare it unsafe and have it removed.

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Not so sunny.

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How come Toyota never sold big square wagons in the U.S. in the early 80s? It was the obvious market.

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Not sure who is pulling who.

The story goes like this: in high school I had this awesome black lab named Zoey. I’d walk Zoey everyday after school. Some days I would see this ridiculously hot chick (my crush, out of my league at the time) walk home. One day Zoey was particularly active and she was pulling me like crazy, so we were running. Hot chick sees me and says “hey, who’s walking who?”

And then two years later I was like “holy shit, that was an insult!”

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No one can keep RX-8s alive.

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Stay WINning!

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I used to think that these would be great Lemons races but now, few races in, I prefer something with more sheet metal around me.

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No one can keep 3000GTs alive.

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My, what big bumper you have…

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Toyota Blit with Russian plates. Wikipedia says it’s RWD but I have no idea where it’s built and/or sold.

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Every SC ever made is now in Poland!!!

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Look at that, umm, beauty? It looks mint and original.

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626s always seemed sportier than Camrys.

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It zags, but I’m not sure if it zigs.

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Furious Maxima.

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I guess a lot of these survived.

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Someone should be able to keep a Surpa alive.

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Sweet tow truck!

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Where’s the rust?

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For sale!

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I’m Jumping Jack Flash it’s a… not a GAZ. GAZs are Russian. This is a Corolla.

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You could probably sell this for like $6000 in the U.S.

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From Poland with Love, Muthalovin.

10/10, would drive from Toronto to Toruń.

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It’s not a Kia, it’s a Daihatsu Charade. Daihatsu Charades were probably the most popular early Japanese cars in Poland. Lots of repeat buyers too, because their popularity remained strong for years.

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The guy driving this will fix your furnace. No thanks.

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U.S. import. I don’t think that Infiniti came to the European market until Seb Vettel started selling them there himself.

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There, I fixed it!

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U.S. import. I can see how someone would think that a two door sedan is a good idea, except that it isn’t. At least the Solara looked different.

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Yea! winch, n ‘all!

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Blinkers serve a secondary function as parking sensors. When they make noise, you’re too close.

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I never knew that a Suzuki Carry was a popular vehicle in Poland.

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Those, with a 6-speed manual, which this may be, were very cool.

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Woah, that roof! Those panels look like they pop up or maybe even come off.

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Currier. Great choice of vehicles for that job.

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That’s an Audi Q7 next to it. Amazing.

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And finally, an Isuzu!!!

  • The Celica cabrio is a "Sunchaser." Coachbuilt model sold through Toyota.

    The white car you IDed as an Alfa is a Toyota Corona.

    • Woohoo, I did something right!

  • peugeotdude505

    Fun fact: First car I ever owned was a Corolla LiftBack SR5 ( TE51 model, 1977 ) like the 2nd pic from the top.

  • Feds_II

    Hey Kamil, there is at least one Delica like you've pictured in the greater Boston area. I visited with the guy when he came to pick it up in the summer.

    Maybe you should hook up and do a review.

    • Yes! Do you have contact info?
      I haven't seen it around.

  • Vavon

    That little black car with red wheels looks like a Kei car, but it isn't… It's not Japanese either…
    It's a little Italian car called the Lancia Y10, It was also sold as the Autobianchi Y10 by the way…

    <img src="http://aebergon.perso.neuf.fr/photos_Lancia_Fiat/MAJ_juillet_2004/Y10_Ego.jpg"&gt;
    I hope my correction didn't bruise your ego Kamil 😉

    • Andy

      Why do I see a link on a a 80/early 90 ad?

    • mike

      Technically, it's an Autobianchi Y10. It was sold as the Lancia Y10 everywhere except for Italy, France and Japan.

    • I'll live, at least you didn't call me names. 🙂

    • Also, what happened to Italian design if it cannot be differentiated (by me) from Japanese?

  • ptschett

    It’s shocking [sarcasm] that a vehicle that’s part wagon and part minivan didn’t succeed in the U.S.
    These went just a little bit more on the wagon side and seemed to do alright.
    <img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1b/2006-2009_Chrysler_PT_Cruiser.jpg/800px-2006-2009_Chrysler_PT_Cruiser.jpg&quot; width="500">
    (Image source: Wikipedia/IFCAR)

  • Drives Dead Marques

    "What was the difference between these and early Hyundai Pony/Excel?"

    The Dodge/Mitsubishi Colt was never a Hyundai Pony. The Mitsubishi Precis was, however.

  • Sjalabais

    A lot of rare vehicles here. I think I have never seen the last 929 before it morphed into the Xedos 9. Also, a Tercel pulling away too quickly for anything says all about local traffic, and little about the Tercel.

    I am currently visiting family in Berlin. Yesterday, an old lady parked next to the restaurant we were at in an early, black, pristine, unmolested pointy nose Civic. I think I haven't seen such a nice one for at least half a decade. At the same time, I'm sure a polling of the entire restaurant would have revealed: Hardly anyone cares.

    On a side note: Big European cities are great fun for car spotters. Saw a Wartburg 1.3 stop right next to a yellow-and-black-stripes Challenger at a red light yesterday. Hand my hands full, so no photo.

    • Next time you drop everything and you take the damn photo!!! or face a lifetime BAN!!!

      • Sjalabais

        It's all about incentives, haha! 🙂 A bit strange though how the 'verse has invaded my offline life. I keep thinking "This would make a neat VISIT", but I'm juggling too many kids on this trip.

  • crank_case

    AW11s and Kei Vans, two of my favorite things.

  • Polish NSX just sounds dirty.