When first produced in June 1973 it was priced at 69,000zł (approximately three times the average annual wage), and became the first popular family car in Poland, despite being the size of a small refrigerator. Throughout communist times the car could only be purchased by joining a lengthy waiting list, though diligent workers would often be rewarded with special vouchers allowing them to jump the queue. Though production came to a halt in 2000, the surprisingly reliable cars have achieved a remarkable staying power, and you’ll still find plenty of them zipping around PL's cities and villages, coughing up smoke as they go.
When we first wrote about the Maluch circa 2005, it was possible to buy one for as little as 500zł, as few people wanted them. Today, however, they've become collector's items and a well-kept Maluch goes for at least 4,000zł, hitting the tens of thousands for rebuilt models. Among their fans and admirers, the Maluch can count Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, who, following a visit to Budapest in 2016, added a photo of himself in a Maluch to Twitter. It went viral, of course, and a local from Bielsko-Biała - where the car was originally manufactured - started a charity campain for a local children's hospital, called 'Bielsko-Biała dla Toma Hanksa' (Bielsko-Biała for Tom Hanks) with the dual goal of buying a Maluch and sending it to Hanks in the U.S. It worked, and he received the car in 2017 (see the video below).