with Simon Coulson
There was a time when the humble Skoda was the butt of all automotive jokes: Skoda drivers were labelled as miserly or just plain weird. Skodas were not cool. It was back in these dark days that Street Machine bucked the trend and put together the infamous Project Bottle Rocket, which divided opinion somewhat at the time.
Some loved it (me included… especially as I was running slammed Skodas at the time, too), but plenty of readers struggled get their head around the concept of making something so uncool into something worthy. Times have changed a bit now though… modern Skodas are mostly badge-engineered Volkswagens with a reputation for quality, and, thanks to feature cars like Łukasz Sochacki‘s Rapid, Skodas are now considered a retro winner! Here’s our take:
What you’re looking at here is my dream car for the Nineties. I managed to get my sticky mitts on a couple of rare survivors, but my budget never stretched further than some short springs and a set of shiny wheels. Naturally, we’ve significantly decreased the suspension height before bolting up (with the help of some adapters – handily, these old Skodas share their stud pattern with Beetles of a similar age) a set polished and detailed replica Fuchs wheels. The paint is straight from my Nineties vision with classic splash graphics in black and Caribbean Green – lifted from the then-current Skoda colour chart. Then there’s a modern twist: retro-me would’ve gone for an engine and box from a 911, or a Guy Croft-tuned Fiat Twin Cam; current me would be tempted to stick an electric motor in its tail, although in reality, I’d happily accept any one of those scenarios.
No, not the modern bland namesake favoured by small town taxi drivers. The original Octavia first saw light of day back in 1959, and production ran into the early Seventies. You’ll probably need to search outside the UK to find one, but if you do, it won’t take much to turn it into a cool cruiser that will certainly have people scratching their heads. We’ve started with a Combi (because wagons are always better, right?) and done little more than lower it and add some whitewalls. There’s fresh paint – Saffron from the old Triumph range of colours, paired with a contrasting orange hue on the wheels, but that’s all it needs. Simples.