Homemade cars from Poland circa 1960

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The February 1960 issue of Popular Science has an article titled "Car-Hungry Poles Build 'Em from Junk."

On the far side of the Iron Curtain, the smell and glitter of brand-new cars and auto showrooms is almost wholly unknown. Even there, however, mechanically minded young men have shown themselves willing to trade ingenuity and hard work for the dreamy joys of actually owning a car.

Pickings are poor in Polish junkyards; little is thrown away until it reaches the absolute end of the road. Blacksmith chassis parts and hand hammered sheet-metal are often necessary. Finding a repairable motor and transmission is usually the hardest job of all. Many of these labors of love produce strange looking vehicles. Frequently they show the influence of American car design. Shown here are some of the finalists in a recent contest to find the best homemade machine. Sponsored by Polish magazine, it attracted some 180 entries.

Car-Hungry Poles Build 'Em from Junk


  1. As a proud person of the Polish persuasion (on my dad’s side of the family) it’s nice to see Polish people featured in a positive light! Some of us Poles DO have a certain amount of know-it-all and basic ingenuity! Thanks, Mark. This is fun to look at.

    PS – this feature reminds me of the situation in Cuba, where ancient cars (from before Castro’s time) are cobbled together and kept running even today, despite all laws of physics and common sense. Perhaps the custom hot rod craze of the 1960s didn’t start in Southern California, but in Poland.

    1. “despite all laws of physics and common sense.”

      And, quite often, using lawnmower motors. Dishwasher, even.

  2. the three-wheeler with the rear wing and rudder steering that goes 100 mph is bananas.  just…  bananas.

    1. Yes, I would salute it, as I gave it a rather wide berth while it passed me on the freeway.  

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