Friday, 21 January 2011

Syrena Sport - FSO - 1960

The Polish car industry began in 1948, when National Economic Planning Commission (PKPG) signed a contract to build a car factory Fabryka Samochodow Osobowych (FSO) in Warsaw and negotiated a licence to build Fiat 1400. The progress went well until the cold war intensified and the pressure from the “East” forced the Polish authorities to break the contract with the West. They were offered a free license to build “Pobieda M20”, so in autumn 1949 the agreement with Fiat was called off and in 1950 the proposal from the USSR approved. The building of the car factory finished in autumn 1951 and later that year the first licensed passenger car, called Warszawa M20 was build.

Syrena Sport

In 1953 the decision to design first polish car was made, prototypes constructed and FSO received an official order to develop the vehicle into production. The car was given the name SYRENA (Mermaid) and first official model (100) was released in 1957. Some of the specifications included two-stroke engine of a small capacity, 4-speed manual gearbox, metal body, etc.

There would be nothing exciting about it so far, if there wouldn’t be a Syrena Sport model. This was indeed a spectacular car which was designed and constructed between 1957 and 1960.

A group of FSO engineers fascinated in sport cars from the West spent their spare time to develop a prototype two-seat car on a Syrena chassis. Cezary Nawrot designed a light and stylish low profile fibreglass body. Other parts came from the FSO inventory or were fabricated by the engineers themselves. 

Wladyslaw Skoczynski built a completely new four-stroke engine taking a block of a French Panhard Dyna’s two-cylinder boxer engine and combined it with Polish Junak motorcycle cylinders, cylinder liners and pistons. The result was 750cc with 25HP - called S-16. The tested maximum speed reached 110 km/h.

On 1st May 1960 Syrena Sport was unveiled to the public. The reactions were astonishing. Photos were taken and reached the West. Syrena Sport was voted the most beautiful car from behind the iron curtain.
Communistic government decided that Syrena Sport was too extravagant and imperialistic and needed to be hidden from the public. The only prototype was locked away for more than ten years. In the early seventies the government rediscovered the car and sent a special commission to destroy it.

Wikipedia Syrena - samochod, (, Wikipedia Fabryka Samochodow Osobowych, (, Photos and some of the information: (2007-2010) FSO Syrena Sport, ( 
Although all the content is translated, corrected and written by Poland here, AD

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