This caravan is for Polish fans of camping what Fiat 126p had become for Polish drivers. N-126 till this day is the most popular caravan in Poland, though now, we rather buy there kebabs, than sleep.
Recently, Niewiadów has definitely experienced lean times. The only Polish manufacturer of caravans for a long time has been a bankrupt, until the company was sold on a tender basis. New owner - the company Boro from Tomaszów Mazowiecki - bought the company for 8.3 million PLN. In September 2013 a new company was formed – Trailers Production Plant “Niewiadów”. Soon we will find out, whether caravans are important for the new manufacturer. So far, Boro company has been dealing with manufacturing tow trucks and goods trailers.
1973 - year of "maluch"
Niewiadów is a huge piece of the history of the automotive industry and one of the few examples of Polish caravanning. Niewiadów is a place, where the first caravan was successfully manufactured, and then gained popularity on a mass scale. Although already in 1966 the production of Tramp caravans has started, and in 1970 the caravan Romi was manufactured, a breakthrough year was 1973, when a famous model N-126 came into the production.
What does the name mean? It’s a reference to Fiat 126P. The caravan from Niewiadów has been conceived as a touristic addition to Poland’s most popular car. And although the caravan didn’t match the popularity of "maluch", during the first five years the manufacturer produced up to 15 thousands copies of this caravan. It’s worth mentioning, that previously the biggest popularity belonged to the caravan Romi-23, but there weren’t even 600 copies of it manufactured.
The popularity of N-126 consists of several factors. The most important of them is the date - June ‘73 – when the production of Polish Fiat 126P began. Since then, more and more Poles had a car, and without that, it was difficult to speak about fashion for the caravans at all. Secondly, trends, that were already popular on the West in the ‘60s, started to reach Poland. The caravan available at a reasonable price gave a chance to explore Poland (and sometimes even world), and besides it provided a sense of independence without incurring huge costs at the same time. The success of N-126 also resulted from the fact, that for the Polish people caravans from abroad were simply unavailable.
Polish export commodity
This doesn’t change the fact, that the caravan from Niewiadów was quite a successful design. The standard version weighed 290 kg, A-version - 320 kg, and B-version - 380 kg. N-126 had the same wheels as those of "maluch". The caravan was 280 cm long, 190 cm wide and 170 cm high. There was a pop-up roof, providing enough space for adults to straighten up. Pop-up roof is also an important element of effective ventilation.
In standard, the caravan had two sleeping places for adults and a double bed for kids. Later also appeared an option with 3 beds. In the kitchen there was a stainless steel sink and next to it - a gas stove with two burners. There was also a place for a 10-liter water container, as well as for cabinets and wardrobe. The first version had no electrical installation 220V, nor the external gas cylinder, and the walls weren’t isolated. These shortcomings, however, were completed in later versions. For example, a 13-millimeter layer of polyurethane foam insulation appeared. Thus, the problems with water condensing on the walls had ended, and besides, the caravan got warmer.
The manufacturer began selling the caravans to the West already in 1974. Versions equipped better, than those offered in Poland were sent for the export. They had an overrun brake, better suspension and opening windows.
The living legend
After many modifications, the caravan N-126 is present in the offer from Niewiadow till this day. N-126d caravan measures 388 cm, it has a width of 194 cm and a height of 218 cm. The equipment currently consists of Dometic refrigerator and gas stove Cramer. Optionally, the caravan may be equipped with an electric boiler for hot water and heating.
Nonetheless, the competitors offer much more nowadays. Thus, there’re not too many people willing to pay for a vehicle that has been in the production for over 40 years now. As for now, we can only wait for a proper successor. Maybe a new owner will restore a faith in the Polish caravanning?