FSO Cars 125P (1967 – 1991) Review

FSO Cars 125P (1967 – 1991) At A Glance


+Roomy and cheap, estate version really useful

-Shoddy build, dangerous to work on, ponderous handling and steering, unrefined, ugly, prone to corrosion, slow and noisy

The FSO 125P - or Polski-Fiat 125P before 1983 - probably won't be remembered too fondly by British car enthusiasts. Although it was launched in its homeland in 1967, it wasn't until 1975 that it went on sale in the UK, as part of a big export drive by the Polish industry to generate much-needed hard currency. The car was crude even by the standards of 1975, which is a shame, as it bore more than a passing resemblance to the Fiat 125, a very fine car indeed.

But in order to become a Polski-Fiat, the 125 received new running gear based on that of the Fiat 1300/1500 - and that meant the tragic loss of the donor car's wonderful twin-cam engine line-up. In the UK, the 125P was sold at a bargain basement price - the large-bodied saloon and estate easily undercut its rival the Lada 1200/Riva, but compared with its Soviet rival, the 125P was crudely made and even more horrible to drive. Of course, it's easy to mock, but starved of government funds and with limited resources, FSO did well to build any at all at times. Continued until 1991, when it eventually fizzled out, supplanted by the equally long-lived Polonez.