Exhibit on display in the Museum of Municipal Engineering in Krakow.
Description written by Szymon Placha
What we see here is a concept car – a prototype – which means that only a few, slightly different models have been built. This Beskid is from 1983. Seven different body types were built for the car in four versions. One car was sacrificed for a crash test.
In 1981, a team of engineers under the leadership of Wiesław Wiatrak began the work on the revolutionary – for that period – shape of the car. Development work continued until the early nineties. Unfortunately, for political and economic reasons, the vehicle never saw mass production, but made its mark in history thanks to its innovative look. To this day, this type of body is being copied by other brands, for example Renault Twingo. Post 1989, the authorities ordered all of the existing prototypes destroyed, but the constructors opposed the decision, thanks to which we can enjoy looking at this car today.
Notice the short bonnet over the engine in the front of the car and its aerodynamic shape. The entire body was designed to minimize air resistance. It’s a bit reminiscent of an airplane wing or a falling waterdrop.
The car has three doors, that is two side doors for the driver and passengers and a hatch over the luggage compartment in the rear, which opens upwards. The doors don’t have regular handles, they have a button, which when pressed, unlocks the door. The interior is modest – the result of limited funding for the research. But despite the spartan conditions, the interior is roomy. The design utilised the equipment from Fiat 126p, popularly known in Poland as Maluch (meaning “the little one”).
The exhibit seen here has been driven by the constructor, Wiesław Wiatrak, in the antique car rally. Considering the difficulties of the rally, one has to admit that the car’s construction is very solid.