Skoda, one of the seemingly infinite number of brands operated by the Volkswagen Group, churn out absolutely competent yet stupedously dull boxes by the hundreds of thousands, as is the current Volkswagen Group diktat. Boring sedans, boring SUVs, boring crossovers, boring hatchbacks… Skoda make them all, and they are all quite fantastically bland.
There was a time however, pre-Volkswagen (and pre-capitalism…) when Skoda were much more interesting. Worse. But interesting.
This is probably Skoda’s most successful car from the communist era, the 120/Estelle. Launched in the late ’70s, the 120 was a compact rear-wheel-drive sedan powered by either a 1litre or 1.2 litre engine mounted in the rear. Yup, just like a Porsche 911.
The Skoda 120 also shared a few other Porsche 911 attributes, including motorsport success – regularly winning its class in rallying, and – rather less positively – the 911’s penchant for throwing itself into a hedge, despite it packing just 50bhp.
Still, that at least made the 120 interesting, as did its side-hinged front trunk, out-dated technology, likelihood of overheating, and incredibly low price.
Which means we’d take this lovely mid-’80s Skoda 120/Estelle by Flickr’s Legostalgie over a modern rebadged Volkswagen box all day, with his beautiful Model Team version including a detailed rear-mounted engine under an opening engine cover, a life-like (and suitably plasticky) interior inside four opening doors, and the weird side-hinged front trunk.
There’s more of this superbly-presented Skoda to see – including building instructions – via the link above, where you can also navigate to Legostalgie’s plethora of other Eastern European oddities, all of which are vastly more interesting than a modern Skoda SUV.