Lamley Single File: Welly Polish Series part 2 – FSO Syrena 105

When the Lamley team discussed the new Single File series introduced by David Kiley, John joked that myself and fellow contributor Graham Heeps would be all over it, given our rather unique collections. And he was right, this feature is a great opportunity to present to you some truly obscure things. My kind of place entirely then!

We have already seen the Fiat 126p of the Welly Polish series in Lamley Daily form, but now it’s time for the even more unique vehicles in the range. We start with Welly’s take on a rather unique vehicle: the FSO Syrena 105.

The FSO/FSM Syrena was first exhibited to the public at the 1955 Poznań Trade Fair, and gets its name from a mythical Siren who is said to protect the River Wisła and the city of Warsaw. Due to a lack of material available, the first model was originally supposed to be made with a wooden frame covered in a waterproof leather-like material. But the design was refined and the pre production cars were built with a steel frame with a wooden roof. However during a 5600km road test, one prototype crashed revealing the wooden roof to be highly unsafe. Subsequently when full production began the construction was entirely from steel.

The Syrena was produced in 6 different variants between 1957 and 1983; 100 through to 105. Differences between models were minor; over the long production run the overall design was barely altered. Power came from originally a 746cc, 2 cylinder 2 stroke and later an 842cc, 3 cylinder 2 stroke. An R20 pick-up variant and a “Bosto” panel van were also avaible. Over half a million Syrenas were made.

Image: FSO via autofakty.pl

The 105 seen in the image above was the most popular variant made from 1972 to 1983 and this is the version replicated by Welly.

This was one of those models that I had to work surprisingly hard to obtain. I’d seen the Syrena listed on Welly’s website last year and set about trying to find one for sale. Ebay and Google searches came up blank. I contacted Welly and a European distributor for information but to no avail. Then from a collectors forum, I found some had been found with a periodical magazine in mainland Europe. But one remained elusive until a collector in Portugal finally tracked one down for me in January.

And I’m really happy to have it in my collection finally. It’s unique in this scale and for a first attempt I think Welly have done a brilliant job capturing the lines of the Syrenka. Simple, well detailed and the classic style wheels working a treat here.

The bumpers and grilles are modelled seperately, a really nice touch. Decals seem to be a Welly strong point and this is no exception; the waistlines are perfectly placed and at the rear it’s possible to read the “105” badging on the bootlid. Criticisms are small: a touch more paint is needed on the head and tail lights to properly fill the casting lines and replicate the big front lenses of the real car (which could be solved with a Molotow chrome pen), and the indicators could use the same treatment as well as a colour change to orange.

But I am really splitting hairs here. The fact that a Syrena exists in this scale is super cool, and I think a rather brave decision by Welly. And as I have said before, the more manufacturers who can add variety to the hobby, the brighter it gets for us all. Keep an eye out for part 3 of my Polish Series articles where I’ll be covering the Polski Fiat 125p.

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Alex Winson

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