First plans of starting a polish company with a sports vibe began shortly after regaining Poland’s independence in the head of poor magnates’ descendant and WW1 veteran who was named Bogusław Antoni Skrzyszowszki, but due to inflation and a general mess with creating stable, modern Poland they were not realized and delayed in time until 1933. At this day, Dawid Skrzyszowski (Bogusław’s youngest son) had won a designer competition at the age of 15 - it was the day when plans of Sportomot S.A. (early name of planned Airborne) were brought back to the daylight and the development of a supercar named Tarnovia was begun.
In 1937 young Dawid became the leader of the Tarnovia project, therefore he would later be a CEO of the planned company and partially replaced his dad, who had constant problems with heart.
In 26th August 1939 Tarnovia was finally finished - Dawid was very proud of it, his dad too, along with whole family and Dawid’s three brothers and a sister. This car was actually a family project. It’s presentation was planned for 3rd September 1939, but those plans were successfully axed by Third Reich’s aggression and Tarnovia was never presented.
World War II
The family of Skrzyszowians (their “nickname” in Tarnów and the surroundings) managed to get out of the city at 4th September 1939, 4:30 AM with help of Dawid’s school friend from Germany, Heinrich Koelner (who was thrown in Wehrmacht by force and sent with his troop to Poland) and his soldiers. The escape took a whole month due to the family having only the speed-limited Tarnovia and Bogusław’s old Ford T to transport themselves, both overloaded with people and baggage.
In the day of 24th September (about a week to leave Poland for good) Dawid had his personal tragedy when staying in Brest: He has seen his beloved mother humiliated and brutally killed on his eyes by Soviet soldiers. This was the day when he made a promise to hate communist system and support USA and it’s allies as much as he can, therefore it explains Airborne’s political efforts in Cold War, as well as Dawid’s emotional neutrality to pain and caused his disability of fear, which was also visible in company’s policy.
Skrzyszowians left Poland from Gdańsk with help of Koelner’s Wehrmacht troop (which had left with them too, because those people were diehard opponents of Hitler and his ideology) at 2nd October 1939 on stolen German ship and went to USA.
In 1945, at the very end of war, Dawid Skrzyszowski had met a billionaire named Richard Haight at one of the racing events in the region of Chicago. Those men had talked about pre-war plans of Sportomot and Haight made a proposition for the young polish immigrant, which was:
If you will win next race, I’ll finance your car company here.
Dawid nodded as accept, got in his tuned Chevrolet and indeed won next race. After two years, first prototype named Type 1 was ready and Skrzyszowski named his newborn company Airborne Motor Company.
The company had it’s better and worse moments. While expanding rapidly in 50s and 60s, it had collapsed in 1973 due to bad management of the lineup and waking up too late with fuel crisis, but the company was established by Dawid once again officially in 1974 with name of Airborne Automotive and it produces cars under this name to this day, despite tragic death of the founder in 1976.
Airborne was also quite active politically; it had never accepted USSR’s influence and PPR’s creation after 1945 and therefore took USSR as enemy due to this fact and due to Dawid’s personal experiences from 1939. This foe-ish relation kept up to the late 80s when Michail Gorbachev became USSR’s leader and Airborne actually wanted to help him with planned changes to the system. However, the situation that actually had shocked news redactions all over the world was Airborne helping USSR in 1991 with food supply to Moscow, showing that along with Cold War the disagreement between company and the biggest military power in the world is history.
The only episode however when the relations got somehow warmer was from the need: 1966 was the year that has marked 1000th anniversary of creation of Poland and Airborne actually had forced politically Gomułka and Brezhnev themselves to import almost 1000 capitalist cars from US and put them legally on sale for PLNs in PPR.
At 23rd December 1976 Airborne lost it’s founder, Dawid Skrzyszowski in a terrible accident on Bonneville lake: one of company’s prototypes, the Hades blew up at the speed of 310 km/h, becoming a huge fireball and instantly killing it’s driver. From this event, company had some temporary problems related to actual administration which led to a need of the loan from US government to keep the production higher and higher after the 1973 bailout.
From 1989 on, Airborne Automotive is based back in Poland - first in Warsaw, then the HQ was moved in 1990 to Tarnów. In meanwhile, during late 80s Airborne Motor Group was formed - it initially was made of Airborne, non-existant from 1987 Haight Industries and partially RZ Automobili, which was still in communist Yugoslavia.
The group however got it’s full swing from mid 2000s, when Haight name was brought back from the dead as superluxury manufacturer, RZ was well after civil war in Yugoslavia and already was producing civil cars and in 2006 Airborne had bought a japanese manufacturer Nakashima Automotive.
In current post-communist history Airborne had two major economical problems: one, around the year 1993 due to PLN inflation and second in late 2000s caused by the world crisis and Airborne’s central government stagnation and overly conservative policy.
In 2017, Airborne’s design center was moved from Tarnów to Sopot at the request of Madoka Matsusaka (main body designer from 4.05.2017), who had noticed that hot temperatures of Tarnovian land are too much for the clay designs, which are melting down.
Currently, whole Airborne Motor Group tries to focus on gathering to most of people’s tastes and are mass selling cars on 4 continents - whole Europe (except Belarus and Ukraine), south-east of Asia (Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and others), North America (USA, Canada) and Australia.
Early days and WW2 history taken from Adam Skrzyszowski’s “Memories” book written at the end of his life in 1990.