Szczecin, once Stettin is known among classic car aficionados as the former home of Stoewer. But there were cars built there after the War reports Piotr Pluskowski.
In the 1950s the Polish auto industry was at its infancy, with FSO producing the Warszawa. So it is no wonder that there were plenty of attempts at building cars at home. There were magazine articles assisting and encouraging builders of SAM (Samochód Amatorski Motoru / Amateur Automobiles). Adam Słodowy, a Polish do-it-yourself expert who built three cars even published a book on how to build an „amateur car”. Additionally there were attempts by a few companies to offer simple small cars.
Here we look at examples made in Szczecin.
In 1946 the former Stoewer factory became a Polish enterprise, which produced parts for Ursus tractors. With the onset of the Cold War and being close to the German border, it was decided that the Polish plant should only produce “neutral” goods so from 1950 it supplied beds, dentists’ chairs etc.
In 1955 another policy change occured. The plant became the Szczecin Motorcycle Factory (Szczecińska Fabryka Motocykli) where production of the Junak motorcycles commenced. Production of the M07 and M10 lasted until 1964. Later the factory was converted back to a parts supplier as Fabryka Mechanizmów Samochodowych POLMO. In 2012 the plant closed today. Today there is a shopping center in its place.
Beside motorcycles, Junak also produced a three-wheeler mini transporter in small quantities. Called the M10 B-20 it had a load capacity of 300 kg. Later the cargo box was rearranged and put in the front. This was version was called the B-21. At the same time the old version got a closed driver’s cabin.
Gryfia was not the only passenger car conceived within the Junak motorcycle factory. Though sources differ, it is understood that 17-25 units have been built between 1957-1959. This was a promising design, looking a bit like the Zündapp Janus in Germany. It was powered by a Janus M07 motorcycle engine and could accomodate 2 adults and 2 children.
The Smyk was developed by the Automotive Industry Design Office (BKP-Mot.) In Warsaw. The entire front part of the car can be opened. The vehicle did not have a trunk. The dashboard was simplified to the maximum: speedometer, battery charge indicator, light and turn signal switches and a starter button. There are two gears: forward and backward. The spare wheel is located in the opening front doors. The weight of the vehicle was 470 kg. Maximum speed of this micro car was 70 km / h. The vehicle had a power of 17 HP, burning about 5 liters of low-octane gasoline. More prototype vehicles were built. The first of them had a body made of sheet metal, and the last one was made of laminate. Serial production never materialised as the government favoured the Mikrus
1. „Classicauto” nr 97 z października 2014, Robert Steć, „Polska w miniaturze: Gryfia”, s. 48-53.
3. Tomasz Szczerbicki, „Prototypy. Samochody w PRL-u, rzecz o motoryzacji i nie tylko”, Vesper, Warszawa, 2020, s. 212-215; 97-107.
4. „Horyzonty Techniki” Nr 9 (133) z 1959 roku. (Opis Junaków B20 i B21).
5. Andrzej Zieliński, „Polskie konstrukcje motoryzacyjne 1947-1960”, WKŁ, Warszawa, 1985, s. 21-24.