WARSAW – The southern Polish city of Bielsko-Biala shipped on Monday an iconic 1974 vintage car, built in the city, to Los Angeles as a special gift for Hollywood actor Tom Hanks after he posted a photo of himself posing beside it.
The car, a Fiat 126, with a rear-engine and a top speed of 105 km/h, was originally unveiled at the 1972 Turin auto show by the Italian carmaker, substituting its 500 model.
“We hope to hand it over to him by early next week,” Monika Jaskolska, spokesperson for the initiative, told EFE.
The vehicle was produced in Poland under a Fiat license between 1973-2003 at the FSM Bielsko-Biala facility.
Over 3.31 million vehicles were built there and, for decades, it became one of Poland’s most popular cars.
Hanks’ Polish gift would arrive in Warsaw on Monday and would then be sent via air-cargo to Los Angeles, where he resides.
The unusual idea came into being last year, when Hanks posted on a social network an image of himself taken in the Hungarian capital Budapest posing beside what he jokingly described as his new car.
“We couldn’t miss such an opportunity so we decided to get the US actor one of these Fiats, as a way of showing him the history of Poland and of our city,” added Jaskolska.
Nowadays, the Fiat 126, known as “Maluch,” or “small one” in Polish, has become a cult object and remains enshrined in the nation’s pop culture.
Hank’s vehicle was purchased in January for its restoration prior to being sent to the United States.