The Polski Fiat 126p will last 1000 years. Or so says the caption on this video, which looks to be a compiled footage of Fiat 126ps rallying in Poland in 2020. The footage comes from Rally Park Kaczyce, where a privately organized series of rally events in the village of Kaczyce pits the little Polski against other cars.
Now watch as these mad Maluchs tear up the stages in what is possibly the most adorable rallying I’ve ever seen:
If you’re not familiar with the little Polski Fiat 126p, it did not have the most sterling reputation where reliability was concerned. The car’s gremlins were ostensibly a result of the hardships inherent in postwar Eastern Bloc production, but the Polish factory still managed to produce the 126p from 1973 to 2000. That’s a production run of nearly 30 years.
The Poles called it the Maluch, which loosely translates to “little one” in English. The nickname was so widely used that in 1997 Polski Fiat officially recognized the car by its colloquial name, giving it a Maluch badge.
We can only guess how many years later it was that this clever rally driver appropriated BMW’s tricolor “M,” using it to signify not motorsport, but Maluch. As a lifelong fan of the Bavarian M division, I don’t know whether I am deeply offended or honored. Probably one, then the other.
We don’t have much insight regarding the output figures of these specific rally Fiats, but even if they were tuned to double the output of a stock 126p, that would get us only to somewhere in the vicinity of 50 horsepower. Although, we suspect these 126ps could crank out more than that, given that 4-cylinder engine swaps are common for the Maluchs running in these events.
Obviously, I would be just as eager to get behind the wheel of a rally Maluch as I would to be to drive a WRC GR Yaris.