Nostalgia and Price Tag Lead to 1974 FSM Syrena 105L
Owner: Slawek Ciurzynski
Year, Make, and Model: 1974 FSM Syrena 105L
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Photographers: Kasia Czajczynska and Slawek Ciurzynski
Mr. Slawek Ciurzynski has been a car guy since his youth but has always favored smaller brands. The Syrena is particularly close to him because he learned to drive in one and took part in his first competitive rallies in it as well. He also likes how its public perception has gone from “not very highly regarded, through years of intentional destruction in the ’90s to collector’s item status in recent years.“ It was built by FSM, or Fabryka Samochodów Małolitrażowych, a partnership between FSO (of Poland) and Fiat to build licensed Fiats in Poland (editor’s note: the Syrena was not a licensed Fiat, rather a car that began production under the FSO brand in 1957).
Additionally, he thought that “it would be funny to own something unique, something different from dozens of Porsches, BMWs, Corvettes, and Cobras, something that would draw the attention of other car enthusiasts who have never seen anything like this before. And it does.” According to Slawek the Syrena prompts inquiries and brings a smile to people’s faces wherever they see him driving it. And to his surprise many children pay attention to it and like it. He thinks it’s because it resembles a toy car to them. “Of course there was another reason why I chose this car over other famous classics: the price tag,” Slawek plainly admits, “and probably a little bit of nostalgia also played a role.”
He bought it a few years ago, sight unseen, online. The FSM was located in Poland and after purchasing it, his friend picked up the car and drove it almost 700km to the nearest port where it was shipped to Slawek in Canada. He likes to drive it all over but particularly on country b-roads with good scenery. But Slawek does take it on long drives too, his favorite, last year to Colorado, to drive the famed Pikes Peak route. He’s also taken the Syrena to many car shows but his favorite is the Grand Prix Festival in Watkins Glen, NY. In 2011, his Syrena won the Grand Prize in Concorso Speciale (back then called Concours d’Lemons) which was part of the festival. “To give you a better idea of the concourse criteria and how difficult it was to win let me quote a few excerpts from the official rules:”
“This concours […] is open to all cars that have been turned down, ignored or laughed at by other concours d’elegance events. [We celebrate] the oddball, the rare, and truly amazing of the automotive world. If it’s special to you, it will be greatly appreciated by our tifosi.” And,“…judging will be performed in a completely arbitrary and capricious manner by our very own event specialists. Their decisions are final and irreversible except through bribery.”
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