Skoda: Car of the ordinary citizen
By Paul O�Sullivan
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Feb 13, 2009, 00:14
give a s#%t what Jeremy Clarkson says . . .
September I bought a 1.3 litre, chain driven (substitution for a fan-belt),
ten-year old Skoda from a Romanian IT employee who pronounced his name as
�Knee-high.� The entire transaction was highly satisfactory. Two separate
visits to the car-park of a retail park, one bid for �250 less than advertised
and a no-nonsense transfer of ownership papers.
appealed more than other second-hand vehicles in the same price range
advertised on www.carzone.ie. Outside, rain spat against the window while I
inspected a photograph of the red Fabia on the website.
the rainy summer Sunday afternoon eight years before, waiting beneath the
partial shelter of an overhanging hedge for a return tram to Prague city centre, watching
dishevelled-looking workers leave a Skoda factory. For a na�ve leftie political
idealist the sight was inspirational, perhaps like a smoggy London might have been for Turner. Of course,
Turner made much more effective use of his inspirations.
on, the latest in a string of second-hand cars is ever more rewarding. Serious
mechanical failure has not occurred, not even a seemingly mandatory hole in the
exhaust. I�ve begun to notice every other Skoda on the road, occasionally
saluting their driver�s, the way some people do when they�ve fallen for their
motor. I am on the brink of joining the Skoda Club Ireland, which for me would
prove that man has absolutely no control of his senses.
glance at the face of another Skoda driver, a gentle wave of relief washes over
me. Generally, they appear informed, decent people who appreciate reliability,
value for money and possessing enough common sense to rise above stereotypes;
the kind of people who wouldn�t pay for houses at over-inflated prices
generated by an economic bubble, or get sucked into corporate generated
To me, they
appear as people who work hard and thoroughly, always live within their means
and spend wisely. In the saloon classes -- Octavia, Roomster, Superb -- the
executives and managers who value their personal or family life just as highly
as their career position.
Friday, I was delighted to have my ridiculous notion partly affirmed by an
encounter in the underground car-park of the apartment complex I reside in. A
suited man in his early 40s parked his Octavia two spaces down from me. He
looked week weary.
Crunchie,� I said.
about it,� he replied.
Coupe driven by a blonde woman rolled down the ramp. Its brakes screeched as
she stopped suddenly to reverse into a space. The guy and I fell into each
other�s stride, introduced ourselves and quizzed each other about our
residential record in the complex. Turns out we live in the same block.
for the evening?� I asked.
daughter�s a little under the weather. Staying in with the missus, might get a
executively dressed, got out of her car and locked it remotely. She was talking
on her pink flip-mobile, ranting derogatorily about a colleague or senior. She
walked ahead of us up the ramp, talking about half a bottle of vodka and a
well-known expensive city nightclub with a strict door policy.
The guy and
I parted ways at the block�s letter boxes just inside the front door. It
occurred to me to mention our car manufacturer, but I refrained. Some people
find that kind of thing idiotic.
A guy goes into his local garage. �Do you
have a windscreen wiper for my Skoda?� he asks. �Sounds like a fair swap� replied the mechanic.
resides in Ireland.
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