Lamley Single File: Welly Polish Series Part 4 – FSO Polonez Caro

With this Single File post, we’ve finally got to the end of the Welly Polish series, a surprising addition to the Chinese brand’s catalogue. And the last vehicle in the series is the most modern; the FSO Polonez Caro Plus.

Based on the platform of the Fiat 125p and with Giugiaro help on the design work, the Polonez was a car that in one form or another ended up on sale almost all over the world. Over 1.1 million were sold, not including pick up and commercial variants and the Polonez became the last domestically designed and manufactured vehicle built in Poland when production ended in 2002. The Caro Plus was the last of the line introduced in 1997, by which time FSO had been bought out by Daewoo Motors.

It’s certainly a left field choice to bring to the 3 inch diecast market and like the Syrena, I’m so glad it exists. It’s well detailed and well formed. The decals can put the major US brands’ quality control to shame. They’re well aligned and sharp enough to read. The FSO emblem on the front and Polonez badging on the rear are easily seen.

The only thing that really lets the model down are the wheels. They wouldn’t look out of place on a locomotive. But for a casting as unique as this I can just about look past that.

For a brand that are seen as sitting at the more budget end of the diecast spectrum, it’s a well made model. And the prices you can pick these up for remain relatively small. I picked mine up via Ebay for €5. This means it’s great value for money. And for diecast customisers in Central Europe, I’m sure the chance to strip one of these down is strong!

I think it’s admirable that Welly are taking on castings like those seen in the Polish Series. Commercially it’s a brave choice to replicate cars that had a very small market like the Syrena, but the hobby is such a better place for it. I hope Welly continue to take on other unique castings from Europe and grow their range. But I also hope they begin to distribute and advertise a lot better than they currently do. It’s very hard to get information on new releases and distributors so it may mean to bag some of these models you’ll need to do some detective work. But they’re worth it, and if you enjoy the hunt (or like me you just really like your European oddities!) the results are always good.

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Alex Winson

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