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Thai fso polonez


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Hi all,

Not been on for a while, my account had disappeared into the ether and it looks like my content isn’t coming back so I thought I’d start a new thread, I had tried some time to find a good rhd mark one polonez. I managed to rescue a couple from banger racers but they were both rather rough so the hunt went on. After trawling google it became clear that the uk wasn’t the only rhd market the polonez was exported. I knew of a rough one in Cyprus and heard of cars on Malta but I’d never seen any photos. I decided to cast the net further and look toward Asia, I knew approx 170 cars had made their way to Thailand, some in ckd kit form which were then put together locally and some that were built in Poland and then exported.

from hunting around on Facebook i became aware of a chap calling himself the Thai car hunter.  I messaged him and asked on the off chance he could find me a polonez. He said that he would try but that it would not be easy. I didn’t think there would be much hope but around a year later Chris got back to me and said he had found one for sale. He showed me some pictures, it looked pretty good, I’ve always liked yellow, the only down side was the car now had a Mitsubishi engine fitted. This wasn’t the end of the world a replacement  fiat 1500 engine could easily be sourced. This one wasn’t meant to be however and it slipped through Chris fingers. Alas they say good things come tho those who wait and he found another much better original one that arrived at the barn a couple of days ago. I’ve paid the dues and demands, it now has an mot thanks to uk fso guru Steve caz and I’ve sent the nova paperwork off to the hmrc. It’s had a new weber carb, some new headlights, steve had to do a fair bit of work on the electrics and it had a small patch of welding at the front where the radiator had leaked in the past.


heres a few photos of some polonez 





























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Brilliant, well done mate, are any of those pictures your new one?

My mate at work has a really tidy 1500 polonez back at his house in Poland, he also has a t shirt with one on. I can probably get a couple of pics of his if you are interested?.

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1 minute ago, Iamgroot said:

Brilliant, will done mate, are any of those pictures your new one?

My mate at work has a really tidy 1500 polonez back at his house in Poland, he also has a t shirt with one on. I can probably get a couple of pics of his if you are interested?.


Yea the one in the bottom picture is the one I ended up importing, yes I’d like to see pictures of your friends polonez cheers 

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5 minutes ago, Rod/b said:

Can he get hold of one of the later ones with the Rover k-series engine? 

As far as I know the k series engined cars were not sold in Thailand, if you aren’t bothered about lhd they are readily available in Poland. 

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What happened to the ones you rescued from racing? There used to be a few of these around when I was a child, usually white or grey and with white 8-spoke Wellers. You've gone to a lot of effort to find one, I hope you get some enjoyment from it. Haven't seen one in the wild for ages, the last couple I saw were being raced at Standlake about ten years ago and even then they were unusual. 

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It's great that these have such a following now.  Back in my youth I used to race bangers and when these appeared on the scene they carried a certain kudos- they were known as the Polish Westminster due to their strength, they could absolutely pulverize a Mk5 Cortina.  They seemed to have an amazingly short life cycle, some were on the scrap heap or on the track before their third or forth birthday, low values,  corrosion, build quality issues and a lack of spares making repair uneconomic. I was given a Polonez, a 125P and paid £30 odd each for the others I had. Good times. I seem to remember three of them had number plates that ended MOB, weirdly. D218MOB was one I think.


All of a sudden they vanished, none on the roads, none in scrapyards, none available to race. Is there such a thing as a mint UK registered one? 

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I doubt if many mk1s survive.

Thinking about it, the most likely to be preserved are the ones bought as a Sid and Dorris retirement car "to see me out" .

If the ol fella bought a 1984 Polonez at 65 then he would be knocking on 100 by now so his garage would have been cleared out years ago.

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Back in the dim and distant past (mid 80s) I knew the dealer of FSO and Lada in the Plymouth area. I had a few customers who were excited by the prospect of a new car for the price of a bag of Humbugs so I used to buy a few from this chap. Best customer was, my Father in Law! First he had a Lada Riva in white, a special edition (they all were?) with quite a good specification and alloy wheels etc. He drove that for a bout 3 years until he came home one day with a steering wheel that would do nearly a full turn before anything happened. He'd clipped a kerb and the steering box had bought the farm...

So he had a new FSO Polenez 1500 SLX(?) 5 speed with a sort of bodykit and fancy cloth seats. It cost me about £1200 brand new, bright red and he loved it. Had that car until he retired and I swapped him for a BMW 7 series! God, he used to cost me a fortune... but he was a good bloke :)  I borrowed the Polonez a few times and to begin with, I utterly hated it as it was crude and agriculteral and had all the style of barn door but none of the build quality. After a couple of days driving it, I saw the light! While it was never going to be a threat to Western motors, it did the job with no problem at all, warm, dry and relatively comfortable, decent stereo and nothing dropped off or failed.

Actually damn good means of transport but zero street cred (back then) and the old fella loved it. Did about 30,000 miles in it and apart from 2nd gear synchro getting a bit 'crunchy' it was as good as new. Absolute bastard to sell though, even at three years old it was a hard sell even at a grand.

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I love the look of these and I'd love to see what a good one drives like.  I've driven two, nearly bought one but they were both utterly knackered.  The firewall in the second one was so rotten that the pedals moved about an inch when you put any load on the steering...and it had 11 months MOT!

I always thought they were great looking cars personally.


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Interesting car - sold all over the place so they must be reasonably hardy. Assembled in Egypt even.  Lots of body styles too. 

Even sold in France - even one for sale at €500 now. No CT and a Peugeot diesel engine. 


Looks like a county use car. Highish kms.



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13 hours ago, Lankytim said:

.....they were known as the Polish Westminster due to their strength, they could absolutely pulverize a Mk5 Cortina.  ....

Wikipedia reckons they were the only Eastern European car built to pass the US crash tests.

Just seen a photo of the later Kombi estate - actually looks quite good in a sort-of Fiat Tempra SW way.

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Oh wow! I think this called for some of interesting* tidbits in delectable* English sentences. (Surprised no one told me about this thread yet!)


I believe I've actually sent the link for 9ง-0023 to hairnet months back. So this is where it went! (Quite amazing to think about it). The yellow one I've seen too and maybe I did brought to attention to a certain hairnet.


These FSO Polonez was sold during the 1980's, I also believe they came in as CKD kit and locally assembled in the same factory that did Fiat 131. (Kannasut Fiat, today is better known for construction projects as Italian-Thai) The reason for this was because of Thai's punitive taxation on imports car which means after 1978 you have to pay 600% tax on any imported cars. And after 1985 any imports of complete vehicle were outlawed. At one point FSO Polonez was the cheapest car available on the market.


9ง suggested this car was registered in around 1980-1983 (quite difficult to find the exact year before 1988) and must've been to some really important person as 0023 is quite a special number and very sought after especially with older prefix (These get xx prefix which later went to 1 xx, (the 1x is obsolete and the gov will always try to get you to change to xx prefix), my Corolla is 7ช) we don't have personalise plate system before 2004 so the number sequences are really the only thing people can wish for). I reckon the plates alone is worth a 700-800 quid to the right people. But the car need to stay within Thailand with full MOT and tax so I guess that's out of the question now.


I personally don't think there's more than 8 Polonez left over here. We don't have howmanyleft, of course, so it is just a guesstimate.  As you could've guess, they didn't sell very many back in the day. So thanks for reducing that number by one. ?

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16 hours ago, Shep Shepherd said:

Bloody hell! ?

I'd love to find a Polonez Prima special edition, but they are probably extinct now.

Take a look at my avatar (defore I change it again, lol).  Nearest the camera is my 1986 Prima.  The other car was my dad's, which meant I got to drive it a lot; although 2 years younger, it had less equipment and a 4-speed box compared to the 5 in mine.  My parents loved these for being high enough to get in and out of with arthritis (less of an issue now with all the crossovers and mini-MPVs available) and actually, very comfy once you were in.  OK they weren't fast, but an 8 year old Polonez or a 12 year old Marina?  No contest!  This was 25 years ago mind...


Benno, top work!  Totally well done.  Can I have the grey one please?

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