PZS - 1976 Mistral II

Hold your phone however you like, this should look and work correctly anyway.
Temporary picture of the PZS logo
PZS ("Polskie Zakłady Samochodowe" - "Polish Car Works") is a Polish budget car brand established in 1948 by the state and since the 90s being a part of the Aquila Group. Throughout its history the brand focused on practical cars offering good value for money. Nowadays PZS products are also class leaders in terms of efficiency and reliability which make them the perfect choice for long-term ownership or business purposes.

(OOC: think sth between Škoda and Dacia; this post is very much WIP)

Old thread, in case you’re interested: PZS - alternative history Polish cars! On hold until UE update (WARNING: KEE VISUALS!)


? - today

? - today

? - today

? - today

? - today

? - today

? - today

? - today

? - today

1976 - 1987

? - ?

? - ?
© PZS S.A. 2022

Oooh, exciting! I’m especially looking forward to checking out the historical models (and maybe even drive them in Beam.NG :slight_smile: ).

1 Like
Hold your phone however you like, this should look and work correctly anyway.

(also let's just ignore the word "soon"... :P)
Lineup overview - MR76 on the left (Kombi should be MR80), MR82 on the right
Mistral II
1976 - 1987
The first half of the 70s was a time of great prosperity and great investments for the PRL (Polish People's Republic), made possible by massive loans taken by the then-ruling Edward Gierek in the West. Suddenly a wave of western goods flooded the country's consumer market, just as a similar wave of western tech and licenses flooded its industry. The second generation of the PZS Mistral, released in 1976, was a part of that - with it's brand new, modern body licensed from Zavir, fancy design and equipment options and even a powerful twin cam engine from the same Italian source as the body.
MR76 Mistral 1.4 S was the achievable dream of Polish people
Lineup - MR76 & MR80
Initially the compact PZS was only available in one hatchback body but as much as five trims - from the common 1.4 S up to the rare 1.9 GLS. Available to the wide Polish public, 1.4 S, 1.4 L and 1.6 L were the bread and butter of the offer, equipped decently with two side mirrors, electric clock, heated rear windshield with its own wiper and, somewhat surprisingly for an Eastern Bloc car, seat belts (for all passengers in the L) and a collapsible steering column. The difference between the S and L boiled down to a radio, mentioned rear seatbelts, an adjustable steering column and obviously the option of a larger engine - bumping the power from 60 to 71 hp.

MR76 Mistral 1.6 GL in the iconic Bahama Yellow
Limited inside the country and conceived mostly with export in mind were the 1.6 GL and 1.9 GLS. Equipment wise, those two didn't differ - adding fog lamps, a tachometer, more plushy interior with better seats, some more elaborate body trim (with the shiny aluminium B-pillar being its trademark feature) and a wider colour palette on top of what the L had. However what differed them greatly was their popularity and engines. The GL shared its PZS 1.6 with the L while the GLS was encroaching on hot-hatch territory with its Zavir-sourced twin cam 1.9 and 5 speed gearbox - sadly the chassis wasn't suited for such performance, and that coupled with a much higher price prevented it from gaining popularity.

MR80 Mistral 1.6 L Kombi - can you spot the misplaced fixture?
Gierek's era of prosperity wasn't long lived, however, and by the end of the decade the country spiralled down into crisis due to misplaced investments and miscalculated deals, and with it so did PZS, being state-owned. Even before the release of the new Mistral an estate variant was planned to be added soon but that only came in 1980 - instead of a full refresh. The new Kombi, as it was named, came with a few new details, which were gradually introduced in the hatchback too - moved side indicator (now using the wiring of the front one), new vent on the hood and a new steering wheel. Such models were named MR80. The Kombi was available in all three basic variants - 1.4 S, 1.4 L, 1.6 L - and the fancier 1.6 GL. If not for the severe production capacity issues it would become an instant hit, thanks to its low price and excellent practicality - but that had to wait until the next generation.
MR82 overview - GL on the left, L in the back, C on the right
Full facelifting - MR82
The early 80s were a tumultous period of crisis, strikes and martial law, which negatively impacted PZS' ability to develop and grow, but fortunately didn't stop them from releasing a delayed facelift for the Mistral in 1982 - in development since 1977. While the difficult conditions didn't prevent it, they surely affected its form - lost was the 1.9 GLS with its expensive, imported drivetrain, and the base variant had to become way more barebones. Loss of all the shiny aluminium trim could be attributed to that too, but it was well in-line with the trends of the plastic-loving era. On the other hand, new, modern side mirrors, hubcaps in most variants, new taillights and rectangular fog lamps were pure aesthetical improvements. Technical changes were limited to widening the rear track, minor engine updates and a myriad of general refinements.

MR82 Mistral 1.4 C with its legendary poverty look
The new, MR82 lineup consisted of the well known 1.4 S, 1.6 L and 1.6 GL, but it also included the 1.4 C (both hatchback and Kombi), special budget variant stripped of most possible equipment - it had a new interior, with much less upholstery, more cheap plastic and even bare metal on the doors. It was easy to distinguish by the lack of full side trim and single, rectangular headlights - cheaper than the more stylish double layout.

MR82 Mistral 1.8 GL in all its plastic glory
On the other end of the spectrum the GL was the variant with the most changes, getting a full-blown plastic treatment with a rear spoiler and wide side panels, and a new engine - a 1.8 from the larger Prima, introduced as a compensation for the lost twin cam 1.9. It was a far cry from the near-sports performance of the old GLS, but being far more reasonable and affordable, it sold much better too.
Chassis of a 1.6 Mistral
Technical data
Sort of like a typical project of the Gierek's period the second generation Mistral was more of a modern appearance than an actual step into the future. True, it had a Zavir-designed body, specifically one of a discarded prototype, only minimally modified for PZS - and that was truly modern, with good space utilisation, pleasant styling and safe structure, with crumple zones and some side reinforcements. However underneath that hid chassis inherited straight from the first generation - relatively modern for its time but dating back to 1964. Overall that meant a transverse FWD layout with MacPhersons in the front and a solid axle with coils in the back - simple and practical solution. The suspension was modified however, with new progressive springs, sway bar added to the rear and an overall retune. Brakes - solid discs in the front, drums in the rear - were just enlarged slightly.

The drivetrains also were inherited (except for the 1.9 and 1.8) - iron block I4s with OHC alu heads and 2 barrel carbs all, sending power through a 4 speed manual. The 1.9 was the classic Zavir Twin Cam, iron/alu engine with 8 valves, here in it’s most basic passenger car tune (yes, there were utility variants…), but still with quite a bit of that Italian flair. It was the only engine coupled with a 5 speed gearbox. The later 1.8 was just another member of the same family as the 1.4s and 1.6s, a fully PZS engine (unless you dig deep, but that’s a story for another time).

1.4 ('76-'87):
1406 cc OHC I4 - 1x2 carburettor
60 hp @ 5400 rpm - 99-100 Nm @ 3000 rpm
14 s 0-100 - 159 km/h - 7.7 l/100 km

1.6 ('76-'87):
1557 cc OHC I4 - 1x2 carburettor
71-72 hp @ 5400 rpm - 114-115 Nm @ 3100/2700 rpm (MR76/82)
12.3 s 0-100 - 170 km/h - 8.8 l/100 km

1.8 ('82-'87):
1832 cc OHC I4 - 1x2 carburettor
87 hp @ 5400 rpm - 134 Nm @ 3500 rpm
10.5 s 0-100 - 178 km/h - 9.3 l/100 km

1.9 ('76-'82, Zavir sourced):
1929 cc DOHC I4 - 1x2 carburettor
106 hp @ 5800 rpm - 157 Nm @ 3800 rpm
8.9 s 0-100 - 202 km/h - 10.8 l/100 km

Again, Kombi here looks like a MR76, while it should be MR80
Education corner
This is the OOC part. Since it's the first one, I'll explain - whole PZS is my idea of "what if FSO was any good", and therefore it's story and lineup are both heavily inspired by FSO, but with many improvements. However, I strive for a rather realistic effect with all that, so no Mary-Sue-Poland-stronk fantasy with cool V8 muscle cars in the middle of the Eastern Bloc. That's why I try to examine every improvement I introduce against real world commie cars, not necessarily FSO. Also, I operate this under one three main assumptions - 1. PZS starts on remains of another pre-war company 2. automotive cooperation in Comecon is common and effective 3. PZS focuses its effort on continuous improvement of what they have, and can convince the Central Committee that it's worth doing it - none of those were true for the real FSO but I think that those are rather minor (in the scope of the country's history) and realistic historical fiction. Worth noting IMO is the amount of concepts for new models that FSO made, that PZS doesn't - models with no real chances for production...

OK, having that done, let’s get back to the car. Each “Education corner” will delve into those real world inspirations and connections of a given PZS model - commie era ones almost exclusively, as for the later ones there’s not much to such directly base them on.

Mistral II is quite obviously designed as a rough Polonez equivalent, even though it’s about a class smaller. Even the name is based on it! “Mistral” was one of the export names of the FSO Polonez. Real Polonez was introduced in 1978, and it was too using a combo of tech inherited from its predecessor (in this case Polski Fiat 125p) and a licensed, Italian body being a discarded (Fiat) prototype with modern safety solutions. Another similarity is the rare option of a large Italian twin cam - Polonez had a 2.0 from Fiat. This is where the technical similarities mostly end - the Polonez was RWD with DW front/leafs rear, the Mistral is FWD with McP front and coils rear. There’s one aspect in which Mistral is a downgrade, however - the Polonez had 4 disc brakes, while the Mistral uses drums in the rear - discs in the back were unnecessary IMO, especially considering the lower weight. Engines are a major upgrade, with OHC valvetrain replacing real life’s OHV (but still in an iron/alu combo) - considering that Lada used OHC exclusively, and that in my timeline PZS had access to late 30s designs of a cheap OHC engine, I thought this could be justified, and while it has significant benefits, it’s not really a very advanced tech. Those engines are slightly larger than those of the Polonez (ordinary variants that is, not the 2.0 DOHC), but similarly powered, surely enough for such a compact car - around the regular variants of cars like the Fiat Ritmo or the VW Golf.

© PZS S.A. 2022


Well, damn. I can only say that I got my gaming attention redirected to other games, and even when it comes to Automation I shared time between the 4.1 (from which this car is) and 4.2. And, probably most importantly, this is my first forum car release since… 2018. Related to that - what do you think about this format? Isn’t it too much unnecessary text? Or maybe some interesting stuff is missing?


This is your thread, do as you so choose.

1 Like

Well, I wouldn’t ask, if I didn’t need answers. I miss the external perspective to know if I presented the car neatly - mine is tainted by knowing everything about it.

1 Like

I’ve never heard of PZS before, but the Mistral is a good place to start.

Well, I think you put a lot of great info in the post, and the cars look cool too.

1 Like

This is really cool, and I imagine the Mistral II having success in export markets and possibly a quite a following in Poland. The lore is awesome and you can never have too much lore text. Could we get the file?