History FSO Polonezu 2500 Racing

In 1977, two seemingly unrelated events took place in the Polish People's Republic . Production of the Polonez model was launched at the FSO factory in Warsaw , and Andrzej Jaroszewicz had an accident during the Polish Rally, who crashed into a tree and wrote off his last Lancia Stratos with the inscription "Poland" over the fog lights.

If you are a little interested in politics, the name Jaroszewicz will surely be well known to you. During the years 1970-1980, a certain Piotr Jaroszewicz was the head of the Polish cabinet, and this Andrzej Jaroszewicz, otherwise a relatively successful rally driver , is his son. The racing Stratos was also not entirely worth writing off, or rather repairing its bodywork was almost impossible under the conditions of real socialism , but the technology inside the car miraculously remained virtually untouched after a hard impact with a tree. And what role does the new FSO car model play in this seemingly strange game? Someone high-ranking had the idea to incorporate a six-cylinder Ferrari engine into the body of the Polonez and thus create a "purely" Polish racing machine with which Andrzej would fight on special stages and represent his country in a Polish car as a proud Pole.

So the FSO technicians took one of the manufactured Polonezas, cut off the rear part of the floor and the seats, and instead inserted a 2.4-liter six-cylinder engine from Ferrari for the driver and passenger, together with a five-speed gearbox . The whole mechanism was "protected" by an additionally mounted tubular cage. The unit was originally tuned for 260 bhp, but a redesign of the intake and exhaust system saw an increase to a final 285 bhp . In the front, in place of the original four-cylinder engine, a large radiator from Star trucks moved in, whose main task was to "keep the entire power unit under control". A few other holes for air intake in different parts of the body also helped. And since the thin rear tires of the standard Polonez could hardly transfer such force to the road, they were widened to 350 mm . The wheels fitted to them come as well as the mechanical parts from the Lancia Stratos.

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However, the modifications did not end with the engine and gearbox – the brakes and chassis components were also saved from the crashed Lancia, and everything went into the interior of the Polonez. The finished car, aptly nicknamed Stratopolonez , entered the start of its first competition in 1978 without any significant previous tests and, despite three oversteer skids, eventually dominated the overall standings. Andrzej Jaroszewicz, Adam Polak, Maciej Stawowiak and Marian Bublewicz took turns behind the wheel of the Polish beast, but driving an oversteer car with poor weight distribution and dubious chassis tuning (as recorded by the time) could not have been pleasant for either of them. All the more so when the rear-wheel-drive, mid-engined Polonez 2500 Racing was able to hit 100 km/h in 5-6 seconds and reach speeds between 200-230 km/h (some sources say up to 280 km/h).

Despite all the aforementioned ailments, faults and shortcomings, the "Stratopolonez" participated in races until 1985 and was able to keep up with the Porsche 911 or the Renault 5 Turbo. After his well-deserved retirement, the only example produced ended up in the hands of the Warsaw Museum of Technology and Industry , where it received a careful renovation and displays its curves here to this day.

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Source: banovsky.com, hooniverse.com, drive2.ru