The emblem of TAKP
In 1909 a group of motor sports enthusiasts and pioneers from the territory of the former Congress Kingdom of Poland gathered on December 7 in the Bristol Hotel, Warsaw. It was the first constitutional meeting of the association called The Motorists Society of the Polish Kingdom (Towarzystwo Automobilistów Królestwa Polskiego, or TAKP). Those assembled acknowledged the society and appointed a board led by President Prince Władysław Drucki-Lubecki. Stanisław Grodzki, a founder of Polish motor sports, became the general secretary. Earlier, in May of that year, a statute of the society had been approved.
The executive committee at the start
The society’s first years were mainly limited to informal meetings, but beginning in 1912 TAKP started promoting motor sports and holding sport and tourist activities. It organised tourist car rallies at first together with the Imperial Motor Sports Club in Saint Petersburg, and then on its own. It also published motor sports maps and guides and organised the first international car exhibition in Poland.
Only when Poland achieved independence was the development of a fully autonomous Polish motor sports movement possible. The new conditions enabled TAKP activists to appoint a new association with a broader range of activities than it had in previous years. A statute of this association, which received the name Automobilklub Polski (AP), was drawn up and approved in January 1921.
Earlier, in 1920, Automobilklub Polski had been accepted into the International Association of Acknowledged Automobile Clubs (Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus, or AIACR) in Paris as the only club representing Poland in the international arena. As for Poland, Automobilklub Polski also established close contacts with new local automobile clubs and entered into affiliation contracts with them.
|One of the roadside boards of Automobilklub
Polski with advertisements
In the interwar period Automobilklub Polski developed a rich programme of activities in both the sport and tourist fields. Moreover, it actively took part in all-Polish activities supporting motorization development as well as it published maps, guides, Polish Triptychs, initiated actions to mark roads, conducted driving lessons, and was entitled to examine drivers, among other things. It took part in congresses where the members presented their vision of motorization development. It was publishing its own monthly magazine Auto. The Tourist Office of Automobilklub Polski attended to hundreds of tourists from Poland and abroad annually.
|The crew of J. Nowak (Ford) took the 11th
place at the XIV Monte Carlo Rally in 1935
|The headquarters of Automobilklub Polski
at 10 Szucha Avenue
Until the outbreak of World War II Automobilklub Polski had accomplished all of its goals throughout the country directly as a club open to the general public (mainly those from Warsaw) and through its affiliate local clubs, which had their own legal entity, as well as via its branch offices. The successive chairmen of Automobilklub Polski until 1939 were: Prince Zdzisław Lubomirski, Count Karol Raczyński, Stanisław Grodzki, Count Karol Raczyński once again, and Julian Piasecki.
After the war Automobilklub Polski was reestablished in 1946 thanks to the efforts of its former members. However, the new political situation imposed changes in the club’s structure and established AP’s Main Board in Warsaw together with 14 branches scattered throughout the country.
|J. Regulski, the commander of the
IX International AP Rally in 1930, leads
the competitors out of Piłsudskiego Square
The former AP activists found their place both on the Main Board and in Automobilklub Polski’s Warsaw branch. Some very distinguished Polish racing sportsmen were among them, such as Janusz Regulski, Witold Rychter, and Włodzimierz Zeydowski. Sport activities and automobile tourism could continue thanks to them. In 1947 a traditional AP Rally took place, and its next edition the following year became the XIV International Rally of Automobilklub Polski. Proof of the organisation’s thriving activity was the first issue of Motoryzacja published in 1946. A leading spirit of the whole project was Mr Grabowski, the editor-in-chief of the prewar Auto monthly.
Automobilklub Warszawski. In 1950 a radical liquidation of Automobilklub Polski’s name and structure took place. Its tradition was continued by Warsaw Automobilklub, which was established in 1957 by former AP active members, Włodzimierz Zeydowski among them. He had been a member of Automobilklub Polski since 1920.
|Józef Modecki, AP Chairman,
plays host to Ryszard
of the Republic of Poland,
in a seat at the club
In the ‘early’ days of the Polish Motor Union (Polski
Związek Motorowy, or PZM) other pre-war active members showed their passion for the club in socalled Motor Branches of PZM, and later in District Car Sections, which gave a semblance of a club life. Sport and tourist activities, which were started by AP’s Warsaw Branch and continued by Warsaw Automobilklub, built from post-war standards, developed over the next several years and were enriched by new fields of activity such as carting, motorcycling, caravanning, and vintage cars.
Car rallies, street races, and contest rides were organised. For 13 years the club was also an organiser of the starting point for the Monte Carlo Rallies. Since 1962 the biggest event organised by Automobilklub has been the Warsaw Rally, which was ranked as qualifiers for the Polish Championship in 1967. It became an international event in 1972, and finally became a part of the calendar of the Drivers’ European Rally Championship. After some breaks, mainly caused by fuel crises and martial law, successive editions of the rally are still launched – lately as rounds of the Polish Rally Championship, and for 2 years under the patronage of Orlen, while its original name was adopted by the previous Mazovian Rally.
|The XII Warsaw Rally|
A return to tradition is the next step. Successive political changes occurring in Poland enabled the then Chairman Józef Modecki to try and give the Club its former name back. The process was gradual but consistent. In 1988 the club was called Automobilklub Polski – Warszawa, and then in 1992 it received its original name of Automobilklub Polski, which was thoroughly historical and entitled to the club of Warsaw racing drivers.
The successive Chairmen of Automobilklub Polski since the period of Liberation were: Mieczysław Skotnicki, Janusz Regulski, Piotr Jaroszewicz, Michał Żymierski, Henryk Gałecki, Konrad Modrakowski, Józef Modecki, Marek Barański, Longin Bielak, and Romuald Chałas.
In front of Automobilklub Polski
headquarters at 85 Pańska Street
|Jacek Czachor and Marek Dąbrowski
– the leading motorcyclists of AP
The contribution of hard work by the club’s members to the development of motor sports is really significant. It’s proven, noticeably, by the numerous state, ministerial, federative, and club awards and decorations given to members.Successive generations of members and activists of Automobilklub Polski, well aware of the honourable duty to respect their Club’s past, have been implementing its statutory goals and tasks thus playing a part in continuing the club’s wonderful history.