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Tom Hanks Loves Soviet-Era 126P Cars So Much That Polish Enthusiasts Bought Him One

The two-time Oscar-winner posted a flurry tweets last fall showing him stood alongside various models of the Polish Fiat 126p while in Europe.
Image: Tom Hanks stands by a Fiat car on Nov. 18, 2016
Tom Hanks stands by a Fiat car on Nov. 18, 2016Twitter

MAINZ, Germany — Many consider Tom Hanks to be about as American as it gets, but soon he could be driving an iconic Communist-era Polish car.

The two-times Oscar-winner has made clear his affection for the tiny Polski Fiat 126P, which became ubiquitous in the 1970s when impoverished Poland was part of the Soviet eastern bloc.

A flurry of tweets last fall showing the actor alongside various models of the auto — nicknamed "Maluch," or "small one" in Polish — caught the attention of 42-year-old Monika Jaskolska, who is from the southern town of Bielsko-Biala where the car was made.

Despite Hanks' estimated net worth of $350 million, Jaskolska decided to buy him one as a gift.

Since then it would be an understatement to say her idea has gained wheels.

Jaskolska has managed to raise more than $2,000 on Facebook to buy and revamp a 126P, she told NBC News Wednesday. She looked everywhere, posting advertisements online and scouring fan clubs and forums.

She eventually found one in the northeastern town of Suwalki, where a man, who asked to remain anonymous, offered her a turquoise blue model — for free.

A Fiat 126p that fans have bought for actor Tom Hanks as a souvenir, sits on a trailer in Suwalki, Poland on Saturday.Michal Kosc / AP

Jaskolska received the two-door car last week and Polish rally driver Rafał Sonik has offered to "pimp it up" to value of up to $10,000. To tackle the problem of getting it to Hanks, she said Polish national airline LOT has offered to transport the vehicle to the U.S. free of charge.

Jaskolska will donate the unused funds she originally raised to a local hospital.

The economical 126P was first manufactured in 1971 by Polski Fiat, which built Italian Fiat cars under licence behind the Iron Curtain. More than than three million were made before production ended in 2000, but, aside from an unlikely revival in Cuba, the car never saw large exports beyond Poland.

Jaskolska hasn't been in contact with "Toma Hanksa," as the actor is known in Polish, but hopes she can get the car to him soon.

"It is not like I have [his] private number," she said.