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Soviet Cars Living and Dying in Poland

russian cars living and dying in poland

World War II started on September 1st, 1939 with the German invasion of Poland, everyone remembers that from their high school World History class. What many may not remember is that in addition to the attack from the west, Poland was also invaded by the Soviet Union, under the direction of  Joseph Stalin, from the east, on September 17th. At the end of that September, Hitler famously said “Poland never will rise again in the form of the Versailles treaty. That is guaranteed not only by Germany, but also… Russia.”

Stalin would soon learn that he shouldn’t be making deals with the devil, as Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Red-faced Stalin pushed back, switched sides, and in the end help to defeat the Axis Powers. In the process of Stalin’s flip-flops, 40 millions Russian lives were lost and millions of Polish people were either killed or forcibly transferred to effing Siberia. While victorious in the defeat of Germany, the Soviet Union never regained the trust of the western world. The potential of U.S. versus USSR war existed as early as May of 1945 and continued throughout the Cold War. Things are clearly different today (sarcasm).

Following the war, and the division of Europe, Poland fell under the control of the Soviet Union. The signing of the Warsaw Pact (comically called the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance) between the Russian-controlled Eastern European countries put Poland further behind the Iron Curtain. As if centuries of fighting were not enough, now the people of Poland had to deal with this communist bullshit for almost fifty years. Fed up with it, the fall of communism began in Poland in 1989. The Berlin Wall fell in 1990. The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

For those years when Poland was under Soviet control, it was limited to the kind of cars it could produce and import. Of course only cars from other Eastern Bloc countries were imported and sold. Today we look at the Soviet cars that are currently still living and dying on the streets of Poland. As always, all of the pictures were taken recently in Poland by the awesome readers of Zlomnik.pl, a site which them complies them into sort of a monthly V.I.S.I.T. post. Big thanks and much love to them!

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Fantasy Finds Friday: 2003 Unimog U500

Unimog fantasy

In the perfect world I would have a huge condo in a big city, a house on a beach, and another house in the mountains. That mountain house would be close to lakes for the summer, and ski resorts for winter fun. Naturally each house would have its own fleet: the city would have the Tucker, the winter house would have this Unimog, and something for the beach house.

I’ve been told that Unimogs are essentially tractors and I that they drive like them, too. Don’t matter to me, I think they’re super awesome and I have an unexplainable lust for them. It’s not often that one comes up for sale in the United States, so when it does ya gotta act on it. Since I’m a bit short of the $109,500 asking price, I am acting on it by writing this here post.

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New Conversion Vans Are Alive and Well

ram-promaster-sherry-van

The height of the vanning craze was somewhere in the late 1970s. By the late 1980s, like so many automotive trends, it dwindled down to a handful of companies that converted cargo vans into some of the best family vehicles. One of the first vehicles I ever drove on public roads was my family’s a ’91 Dodge Ram B-150 hightop. It served us well for many years, on many trips.

Nowadays families mostly stick to CUVs/SUVs and minivans. However, there is a van revolution going on that is easy to miss. Ford is ditching the E-series in favor of the Euro-flavored Transit, GM is killing of the 1500 vans, Chrysler sells re-badged Fiats as ProMasters, Nissan is in the game with big and small NV-series vans, and there’s everyone’s favorite Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. The few remaining conversion companies and taking notice and are already outfitting the new vans.

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Fantasy Finds Friday: Big Dream Tucker 48

fantasy find tucker 48

Those who have been reading my automotive writings over the past few years know that I tend prefer reliable, reasonably priced, and/or purpose made vehicles. Fantasy Finds Friday isn’t about that being reasonable, however. This is about cars that speak to us in a way that we may not be able to explain. It’s about cars that awe and inspire us.

The history and significance of Preston Tucker’s automobile is so great that Hollywood made a movie about it, and therefore it does not need to retold on these pages here. What needs to be said is that one of these fantasy cars will soon be offered for sale via RM Auctions. With the auction price ranging between $1.4M and $1.6M, it is slightly out of my price range, but that does not stop me from dreaming about it.  

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Project Car SOTU: The ’95 Acura Integra GS-R

Kamil Kaluski July 16, 2014 Project Cars

95-integra-gs-r front

“I have nowhere to park it, nowhere to drive it, and no time to spend on it”

That’s what I said about this bone stock Integra when I bought it back in November of last year. In the nine months I have owned it, I’ve put exactly forty eight miles on it and I am not proud of that. But that’s all for bad news, because the good news (I think) is that I have thrown a lot of money at it!

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Craigslist: 1987 Land Rover Defender 90

lr1

The more time I spend around the JK Jeep Wrangler, the lower my desire and lust for Land Rover Defender becomes. Simply, the modern Jeep seems to be able to do everything that the old Land Rovers did but in a better, more civilized, way. They are also cheaper to own and more reliable. Yes, they are missing the charm, a proper rear door, and a bunch of questions from grown-up men wherever you stop, but not much else. So the question becomes, which to buy?

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Hurricane versus Jeep – Jeep Wins!

jeep tree 1

This article was written and submitted by Miles Branman of milesperhr.com. Hit the jump for a video. -KK

Hurricane Arthur worked its way up the east coast late last week, leaving a trail of destruction from fierce winds and rain. Among the victims was Chris Scutti. Well, more like Chris’s beloved 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Just before midnight on the eve of the 4th in Arlington, Massachusetts, Chris’s father stepped onto his porch to watch the rain barrel sideways down the street. At the same moment, a huge tree gave in to the forceful winds and was pushed over like an unbalanced toddler. The tree navigated straight towards Chris’s house, more specifically right at Chris’s father, but his Grand Cherokee proved to be the family’s night in shining two-tone gray armor. Parked right in the tree’s path, it absorbed the weight of the tree by acting like a wedge.

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Rant: All Cars Are the Same!

all cars are the same

My mother is currently shopping for a new car and the whole process is completely frustrating her, as it would most people. Unlike most people, she knows exactly what she wants so that should makes things simpler, but it does not. The problem is that no one makes what she wants, because everyone makes the same damn thing!

[Image: Auto Guide, Motor Trend, Pickup Trucks.com]

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Craigslist: 2002 Audi S6 Avant

2002 audi s6 avant

Around here, we all love fun/fast/interesting wagons: we have the project Wombat, Tim’s now sold Ford Country Sedan, my own old E39 525i, and a handful of others that I am forgetting. We are split on some German wagons, however, mostly because of the great pricey unknown that comes with them. Bradley, who owns a C4 S6 would say that it is one of the best vehicles he has ever owned, but his other car is an old Porsche Boxster, so he may be biased… and he may enjoy pain. After owning six BMWs I’ll be ok if I never own one again. 

Today’s Wagon Wednesday Craigslist find is a 2002 Audi S6 Avant. The thought of twelve year old German wagon with an unnecessarily complex 40- valve DOHC engine, automatic transmission, and AWD system will have some people cringing and other grinning – which one are you?

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Hooniverse Asks Bonus: What is the best* dash cam?

dash cam

I have made a decision to purchase a dash cam for my family car for many obvious reasons. But, it’s damn difficult to figure out what’s what, what size, etc.

Here are my requirements:

  • Fairly affordable, under $150, hence the asterisk in the title.
  • Small, dark color, don’t want to look too much like a dash cam.
  • Permanent (-ish) installation.
  • Auto on/off recording with ignition on.
  • 30-60 minute video capacity, maybe more.
  • Maintenance free – basically I don’t want to touch it unless I have to get the video off it.

Does anyone know anything about dash cams? Pros, cons, what’s best, etc? Any help would be appreciated. Some of my friends recommended this.

Thanks!

[Image source: 9thgencivic.com]

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