A year with a Polski Fiat 125P

Sir,

Car ordered 20.2.1976. On 26.2.1976 the dealers telephoned to inform the the car was ready for collection.

Collected car Friday 27.2.1976. On arrival home, inspected underside, discovered oil leak, appeared to be from the gearbox.

Returned the car to supplier and explained what I had found, confirmed that the gearbox was at fault, old faithful 1300 returned to me for use.

Gearbox removed, fault found to boot oil-seal gone, car returned the following Thursday afternoon.

All seemed well until about due for 1,000 mile service and garage asked to check.

(1) Brakes, as on occasions felt spongy and there was rather a lot of travel in the brake pedal.

(2) Check locking action of front passenger's door.

(3) Exhaust pipe sounded as though it was vibrating against the underside of fuel tank.

t 4) Replaced nearside indicator light cover (never replaced to date).

Brakes Continued to feel wrong, and finally locked-on in Colchester. When freed, drove to garage to complain further about poor braking performance. Servo unit found to he at fault and changed.

3,000-mile service was routine. All is well between this service and the first schedule 6,000-mile service interval, some enjoyable motoring.

At 7,600 miles stop-light switch fails, and alternator decides to stop charging.

Then at 8,400 miles, clutch pressure comes adrift again in Colchester within fifty yards of where the brakes locked up. (On the Avenue of Remembrance-Thou shall not forget) . . . Cost £70.06.

All well again between August and the 12,000-mile service during November. Gremlins struck again just before Christmas at 14,000 miles on route for Liverpool. The solenoid decides it is its turn to develop a loose internal connection, which was held in place by a cocktail stick untill February 1977.

During December to February, I tried everywhere to obtain a replacement. Telephoned the importers, but received no satisfaction, in fact they informed me that they did not know when they would receive shipments of spare parts. With which I wrote to the manufacturer in Poland informing them as to my thoughts with regard to the inadequate supply of minor components. (To date they have declined to answer.) However, success was in sight; I contacted Fiat (Italian) dealers, and obtained a solenoid for the 125 which fitted-goodbye to the cocktail stick.

I decided to purchase the car after reading the various road testers' reports in the national magazines.

My final summary is that although the vehicle proves mechanically reliable this is due obviously from its inherited mechanical components. Unfortunately the Polish workmanship does not appear to do justice to the Italian marque name which it bears.

During the past 16,000 miles the vehicle has been plagued by minor problems of most irritating nature. One does not particularly mind a few problems so long as one can take corrective measures, having at one's disposal a supply of spare parts.

Thanks to a local Fiat dealer (Italian) who has an ample supply of 125 parts, many of which it appears are interchangeable, I have been given access to "off-the-shelf replacement of minor accessories".

Running costs for past year:

Car on the road cost ... . £1,615.36

Petrol £460.45

Service £91.03

Repairs £90.57

Insurance £64.78

Many thanks for an excellent magazine.

Ilford DOUGLAS B. CRESDEE

(In common with other journals, we praised the Polski-Fiat as excellent value for mom, based on a test car which performed faultlessly for our one-week/1,000-mile test. Unfortunately, this Polish-built car scents less satisfactory in more prolonged service. Mr. Cresdee's experiences reflect those of other owners we have had contact with. A Polski owner who has close connections with our publishing company reports serious brake and gearbox maladies and appallingly bad spares availability.. The Polski really does seem a case of "You gets what you pays for"Ed.)