Couple circumnavigating the globe in a classic, Soviet-era car
CALGARY — A Polish couple travelling the world in a refurbished, Soviet-era car arrived in Calgary as the snow fell Monday.
Pawel and Joanna Poterski wanted to explore the world after they met and opted to combine their passion for travelling with Pawel’s love of classic cars.
Their vehicle of choice, a refurbished Polski Fiat 125p, is a classic, Polish-made car, sometimes called the Pride of Poland.
"We always wanted to travel around the world, so we thought why not in this car?" said Pawel, before listing off all the reasons most of us would not want to do it.
"It's very slow," he said. "The economy of the car is poor, the acceleration is extra poor, and the handling is tragic. If you want to wind down that window, it just falls down into the door!"
The model began production in 1967 and manufacturing ceased in 1991, after a total run of approximately 1.5 million cars.
The car being used for the Poterski’s trip was built in 1990, making it among the last Polski Fiat 125p's ever produced.
The couple stocked up on spare parts before departing Poland.
"It has lots of issues, but we like it anyway," said Pawel. "It has the atmosphere of the days that are already gone."
Canada is the 15th country on their trip. So far they’ve checked off Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia, covering more than 24,000 kilometres before the couple landed in Vancouver in early October.
Despite being a road trip of epic proportions, the pair said they haven't had even a minor spat along their thus far, 24,000 kilometre journey.
"It's good to have passions together that we can share," said Joanna. "Besides, he (Pawel) does all the driving, and mostly I get to sleep."
While singling out poor road conditions, especially in developing countries, as their biggest challenge, the couple said their biggest logistical hurdle was transporting the vehicle to Canada from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
From Canada, the pair will drive to the United States, after which the car will then be shipped to Portugal to continue the last leg of their journey in Europe before they reach home later this year.
"And there's another reason why we are in a hurry," said Joanna. "At the beginning of March, we will be a bigger family."
Joanna discovered she was pregnant while the couple were driving through Norway. The Poterskis admit that after their daughter is born, they likely will have to invest in a new car.