Drawn Car’s History #1 - FSO Polonez

title says it all

The Polonez was made by Fabryka Samochodów Osobowych (FSO, english: Passenger Automobile Factory) in Poland, Warsaw. The car was produced from 1978 to 2002. The name of the car comes from the polish dance, polonaise. The car was also produced in Egypt as Nasr Polonez and AAV (Arab American Vehicles) Polonez (1983 – 1992) and China as Dongfangkong Yituo (1990 – 1995).

The body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, Walter de Silva and FSO’s designer Zbigniew Watson. Polonez was originally introduced as a 5-door hatchback, but there were versions like: Sedan (also called „Atu”, introduced in 1996), Station wagon (1999), Pick-up called Truck (1988), Cargo LAV (minivan, introduced in 1993), Threedoor and Coupé. The car was mass produced only with rear wheel drive.


In 1970, when Fiat launched a prototype called ESV (European Safety Vehicle), in 1974, FSO decided to choose the concept as a base for their vehicle. FSO’s designer Zbigniew Watson joins Giorgetto Giugiaro and Walter de Silva to convert ESV project to size of Fiat 125p floor and design the interior and all body details. The project was known as „Type 137”. In 1975, Fiat prepared prototypes of Type 137 named „Polski” and sent them to FSO. In 1978, Polonez made its debut.

Technical Information

The car offered following engine options:

• 1.3 Litre OHV Inline-4

• 1.5 Litre OHV Inline-4

• 1.6 Litre OHV Inline-4

• 2.0 Litre Fiat DOHC Inline-4

• 2.0 Litre Ford SOHC Inline-4

• 1.9 Litre XUD9A diesel Inline-4 (pickup)

• 2.0 Litre VM HR488 diesel Inline-4

The least powerful option was the 1.3 Litre Inline-4, which generated only 65 horsepower, and the most powerful was the 2.0 SOHC engine, which generated only 112 horsepower. Polonez was also offered with 4-speed and 5-speed manual transmission. The car weighted from 1,115 kg (2,458 lb) to 1,140 kg (2,510 lb) (Curb/Kerb weight).


Polonez cars began rallying in February of 1978. The rally version of the Polonez 2000 equipped with 2.0 Litre Inline-4 engine generating 180 horsepower had its debut in Rally Monte Carlo 1979. The car was homologated in group IV, II and B. The car used laminate elements of the body and structural elements from the Fiat 131 Abarth. There was also a Group B only car, the Polonez 2500 Racing. The car was equipped with 2.4 Litre V6 engine known from Ferrari Dino and Lancia Stratos generating 285 horsepower, mounted at the middle. The car accelerated to 60 mph (100 kph) in 5 seconds, and the car reached top speed of 155 mph (250 kph).

MR’91 – MR’97 (Caro)

In 1991, FSO made a new generation of the Polonez. Production of the FSO branded Polonez cars ended in 1997. From 1997 to 2003, the car was produced as Daewoo-FSO Caro Plus. The next generation Polonez offered following engine options:

• 1.4 Litre DOHC K16 Inline-4

• 1.5 Litre OHV Inline-4

• 1.6 Litre OHV Inline-4

• 2.0 Litre Ford SOHC Inline-4

• 1.9 Litre XUD9A diesel Inline-4

All was offered only with 5-speed manual transmission. There were also some prototypes based on the Caro, such as: FSO Analog 4WD (a light off-road car with 4-door pick-up bodywork), FSO Polonez Kombi (station wagon) and Sedan (later produced as „Atu”).

This post was made by our fellow editor and writer Mateusz Warzocha, the pics were also drawn by him

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Comments (4)

  • The polonez is a car that should’ve got Global recognition but sadly it didn’t.

      2 years ago
  • I was learning to drive on something like that.

    Because I was small kid I had to fit pillow on the seat to be able to see anything in front of the car.

    I also was having a cigarette in my mouth while cruising with my friends around the village.

    Childhood was different 30 years ago ...

      2 years ago