In 1957, the Automotive Industry Construction Bureau (BKPM) in Warsaw introduced the Smyk, intended as a practical solution for the standard Polish family of parents and two children. Featuring unconventional design elements, such as front-mounted doors swinging away with the steering wheel and control panel, the car showcased innovation. To access the rear seats, occupants had to lower the front seats first. Powered by a Junak M07 motorcycle engine generating up to 15 HP, the 470 kg car could reach speeds of 70 km/h.
However, its intriguing design translated poorly into practicality. In the event of a head-on collision, the blocked forward-swinging doors posed a significant safety hazard. With most of its front end hollow and critical components, including the engine and fuel tanks, situated in the rear, passenger protection was minimal.
Additionally, the incorporation of a special gearbox to compensate for the motorcycle engine’s lack of a reverse gear resulted in a cumbersome system with four forward and four reverse gears. Unfortunately, this setup proved inefficient and unreliable, with some parts failing after just 1,000 km of use.
Regrettably, the Smyk never progressed to serial production. Only a handful—no more than 20—were manufactured, with many either scrapped or relegated to museums.