The City Museum in Tychy encourages former and current employees of the factory to donate items related to the factory and share their memories. Museum professionals direct their request to people who would like to share stories about works, people, events and who have in their family collections eg documents, photographs or souvenirs with the FSM logo.
Tychy, where the production of Maluch was located, for many years was called the capital of the Polish automobile industry. The former Tychy Small Car Factory today operates under the Stellantis brand (formerly Fiat Auto Poland and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), producing, among others, the Fiat 500, Jeep Avenger and Fiat 600e. Next year – according to previous resolutions – the production of one of the Alfa Romeo models should start at the plant.
The Tychy plant’s most famous model over the years, the Fiat 126p, was manufactured in Tychy for 16 years – until production was moved to Bielsko-Biała in 1991, giving way to the Fiat Cinquecento. The last Maluch rolled off the production line on September 22, 2000. Of the more than 3.3 million Maluch units produced in Poland, less than 2.2 million were made in Tychy and more than 1.1 million in Bielsko-Biała. By 2000, more than 2.4 million of these cars hit the Polish market, and about 900,000. sent for export.
For many years, the Fiat 126p was a common car on Polish roads. Less than 50 years ago, it cost PLN 69,000 at that time, ie about 20 times the average salary, and it cost PLN 110,000 to exchange a car. zlotys. To buy Maluch, you had to have not only money, but also a voucher, i.e. a share.
Maluch was produced in Poland for more than 25 years. In Italy, its production ended in 1980. In Poland, the last copy left the production line at noon on September 22, 2000. More than 30 years ago, small car factories in Bielsko-Biała and Tychy were part of the Italian concern. Fiat, which later became part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group, and now Stellantis.
The first Polish Maluch was collected on June 6, 1973 in Bielsko-Biała from the original parts of Italy. Serial production of this model at the factory in Cassino, Italy, was already underway for almost a year. In October 1972, the first international presentation of the car took place at the Turin Motor Show, and shortly afterwards the car was presented at Warsaw’s Plac Defilad. Officially, serial production in Bielsko-Biała started on July 22, 1973; On September 18, 1975, production began at the new factory in Tychy.
The production of Maluch in Poland was the result of an agreement “on industrial cooperation and license of the small car 126”, concluded by the Polish authorities and Fiat on October 29, 1971. According to its terms, the Fiat 126p is. rear-wheel drive, two-cylinder engine with a capacity of 594 cc, a maximum power of 23 HP and an independent body, four seats and a two-door Berlina body. The car would change many times in later years, but its silhouette remained one of the most characteristic elements of the Polish environment until the end.
The license was not bought with foreign currency – it was paid for, among others, engines and gearboxes made in Polish plants for the 126 model made in Italy and for spare parts. With the purchase of a license to produce a car, former members of the Small Car Factory also received information technologies from the equipment of a licensed car, which has not been done before in Poland. This meant technological progress for many companies from the mining, chemical and electrical engineering sectors.
People from many countries, almost all continents, drove small cars. In the years 1985-1989, for example, more than 23,000 were exported. Small children to China, where they drove, for example, as a taxi. In the city of Wengzhou alone there were 5,000. such taxis. In 1988, the children were deported to Australia and Cuba. Thanks to the design changes, the Fiat 126p also has a rally version. Today, the historical Maluchy are objects of interest among collectors.