Thursday, November 19, 2009

1987 Skoda 120 GLS Sedan

"I have this foreign car that needs alot of work or could just be used as a parts car. Manual 5 spd 4 door white car. Contact (***) 764-**** or email."

That's the seller's entire description. He also lists it as FWD, even though the Skoda is a rear engined car.

OK, I've read enough car magazines from Europe to know that this is not a highly regarded car. But look at this thing...

Look how the trunk opens from the side. Look at the early-Swedish-car style headrests. Look at the rear engine bay.It was built in 1987. It's a "modern" car... I can't think of any other car like this. Poor reputation or not, you have to admit this is pretty cool.

Skoda is a Czechoslovakian company. Their history goes back to the 1890s, when they started manufacturing bicycles. This car was introduced in 1976 as part of Skoda's 105/120/125 Series, which also included a coupe.

The rear suspension was a swing axle design, which was criticized by the press. Despite the negative press, the car sold well. By the time they discontinued the line in 1990, Skoda had sold just under 2,000,000 of these cars. Since 1991 Skoda has been part of the Volkswagen group and, for all intents and purposes, now builds Czech VWs.

Initial build quality was criticized, too. However, even though they left the factory less than perfectly screwed together, they were durable cars and were used very successfully as rally cars in Europe. They won their class in the RAC rally for 17 years running.

Briefly, after the initial success of Yugo, Skoda toyed with the idea of selling this car and the later "Favorit" in the US. It would have failed. The car magazines would have crucified it for its 0-60 time and unusual handling. Consumer Reports would have been all over its build quality. Both would have had valid points.

It's cool to see cars like this, though. In this day and age of cookie cutter Japanese and Korean economy cars, a car like this is a breath of fresh air. It has personality. Too many cars lack that today.

Located in Canada (where they were sold for a number of years), the seller is asking $200.00 Canadian, which is about $190.00 US.

This car is in rough shape. It looks too far gone to restore. Here's to hoping that someone buys it and uses its parts to keep another Skoda 120 alive.

Click here to see the Kijiji ad for this car.

Thanks to Just a Car Geek reader, Steve, for pointing this car out to me.


Max Power said...

As a kid I used to spend my summers in Italy with family. In Messina Sicily, the have an annual fair...a pretty modern thing even by 70's standards and I'll never forget my father talking to a Skoda representative who was showing off his line of cars. While my dad did not 'get' the car, the rep made some good points where the car was priced about the same as a new Fiat 126 and instead of getting a micro-car such as the Fiat, you are geting an honest to goodness compact four door car. the 70's in Italy, there were a ton of Fiat 126's and a handful of Skodas

Graham Clayton said...

Are there any other cars that made it into production that featured a side-opening bonnet hood?

Just A Car Geek said...

Closest I can think of was the XKE coupe. But, that wasn't really a trunk. And, of course it was in rear. To the best of my knowledge, the Skoda is unique.