Polski-Fiat 125p Coupe by Duda Garage
A communist-era licence-built Fiat 125, produced by Polski-Fiat (FSO) in Poland, doesn’t sound like a show-stopper. The beige Polski-Fiat in question wasn’t quite a run-of-the-mill 125p though and was undoubtedly one of the highlights of this year’s NEC Show.
Now a rare sight even in standard four-door saloon form, this 125p had been very carefully handcrafted into an elegant two-door coupe with a lowered roof line by the ‘Wheeler Dealers-esque’ star of Polish TV; Duda Garage. Sitting on a Polish classic car club stand alongside an 1972 FSO Warszara – the first of these ungainly ex-Russian GAZ Volga saloons I had ever seen in the metal. Such is the notoriety of Duda with the Polish community living here in the UK, the pre-announcement of the 125p Coupe’s presence at the NEC helped to sell a welcome number of additional tickets to the event, for Polish-language TV fans to come and see the car for themselves.
Taking ten weeks to convert from an early Series 1 Polski-Fiat saloon, this striking 125p Coupe was so well done and looked so good, that it could have convincingly passed for a factory-built car. This begs the question as to why Fiat in Italy never offered a two-door coupe version of this model. Pleasingly spot on from every angle, this modified Polski-Fiat was shod with colour-coded Fiat Barchetta wheels (to cleverly retain the Fiat connection) with a skilfully considered lowered vinyl-covered roof.
The interior of this one-off Coupe was suitably (and tastefully) retrimmed, with the standard strip speedo instrumentation retained, but with its engine moderately tuned.