A group of Polish Tom Hanks fans have pooled their money together to buy the American actor a 1970 Fiat 126P after he expressed an appreciation for the tiny communist-era car on Twitter.
Hanks was visiting Budapest last year for a movie shoot when he began posting photos of him posing next to a 126P to his Twitter account. Monika Jaskolska, a resident of Bielsko-Biala, the Polish town where the 126P was built for nearly 30 years from 1971 to 2000, saw one of the tweets and reached out to her fellow 126P lovers to raise money to buy Hanks one of the cars.
I’m so excited about my new car!! Hanx. pic.twitter.com/rNelj4qj9v
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) November 2, 2016
Jaskolska managed to raise a little over $2,000 to buy the Forrest Gump actor a 1970 model year 126P. A Polish autobody shop has even offered to restore the car for free before it’s complimentary flight to Hanks’ home in Los Angeles.
It might seem a bit odd for Polish Fiat fans to band together and buy Hanks a car, but the amount of love for the 126P in former Eastern Bloc countries is immense. In Soviet-era Poland, a privately owned automobile was considered a luxury good, but when the 126P came along, it mobilized families and afforded them a level freedom they formerly didn’t enjoy. It’s still a common sight on the roads of Eastern Europe today and affectionately referred to as the ‘Maluch’, which translates to “small one” or “toddler.”