Sunday 10 December 2017

Czech it out! The 1989 Škoda Estelle Two 120L...

Fresh-ish from a trip to the Gosford Classic Car Museum a few weeks back - it's some late-80s, communist-Europe fun!

Despite the 7-8hr round trip of pure commitment, I honestly wasn't expecting a whole lot from this museum. It was, from what I was aware, an old Bunnings filled with one wealthy bloke's rapidly-assembled car collection: a recipe for a heartless assortment of cliché car choices, thrown together with no real thought or logic.

For the most part that preconception didn't appear to be too far off the mark (however true it actually may or may not be!), but there was definitely one HUGE surprise:
The Gosford Classic Car Museum's "Communist Car Collection".

Wow. What a pleasant surprise.

In the old Bunnings outdoor area was a good couple-dozen of the most weird and wonderful oddball classics - things I never get to see: Gaz, Dacia, Trabant and Wartburg; from a Serbian Zastava to a Romanian Oltcit... and a pair of late-80s Czechoslovakian Skodas!
It was a good sign. It's this appreciation for a full variety of vehicles - regardless of flash or value - that differentiates a proper automobile/engineering enthusiast from the wealthy's need to spend their money on something. It revealed a little imagination.. showing the curiosity/interest in these things that I know (as someone who has a fairly broad car-ppreciation!) interest me. 

..aaaaaanyway, the first of the two Skodas (that I know three-fifths-of-bugger-all about - so grab that salt shaker!) appears to be a UK-market 1989 'Estelle Two' 120L saloon/sedan, in a niiiice... err... olive-drab. 1989 makes it post-'84-facelift ('Estelle Two') and very late days for a model introduced back in 1976. Production ended the following year.

Don't let the grille above fool you; while there is a radiator up this end, the 120/Estelle was rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive, with that wide bonnet/hood actually side-hinged to access a large frunk.

Those subtle vents on the spoiler's upper face (to feed the 1.2litre watercooled four) and the unusually long-wheelbase, the only giveaways that this thing's essentially a 911 Carrera RS things are a little different.

A 120L Five with steel wheels, or a 120L with a 5SPEED badge..?
Dragged out of the UK and thrown in front of 25million Australians who've never seen one; I don't think it matters..

A little graphic style for what's otherwise quite the basic three-box saloon..

Pinstriping: why she looks so fast standing still.

From a little design flair on those handles, to plain steel wheels and dowdy mudflaps there to simply serve a purpose...

..and similarly basic: the screw-heads visible in an upper surface s'just brutal let's-get-the-job-done'ery..

Interior shot and reflections of communism...

 "Made in Czechoslovakia"

Dominating that 'up to 1300cc' class..

"Another car supplied by Britannia Motors"
I certainly can't imagine they would have expected this to be in a museum in coastal Australia 27years later..!


Next up? The model that carried the 120/130 Skoda's commuter-torch into the 90s...!


  1. nice :D gotta say i didnt expected you will ever write about old skodas :D i still remember the times when 60% of all cars on czech roads were 105/120, when i was a kid we had one, in this color aswell, much later i had one as a second car for 3 years, but i sold it last year...

    so far i know they were sold officially in australia and new zealand aswell, but i supose they werent too popular hahaha

    1. I imagine this is boringly familiar then?
      Is there a large community for restoration/preservation of the older cars? A model so prevalent would always mean a lot to a lot of people.

      You're absolutely right. Australia had Octavias through the 60s, 100/110s through the 70s, and the 120 through to '83 - no facelift cars like this one. Australian cars in this era absolutely dominated the local market though (due to taxes as well as obvious size reasons), so these always would have been few and far between. I don't see much of any of the above.
      Skoda returned to Australia in 2007 and have gradually worked towards being a sort of Volkswagen alternative. A larger car for the same money.

    2. there is a big community around old skodas in general, but feels like 120 is the strongest one from all of them :D you dont really see them in traffic that often anymore tho, and if, its either with original owner in retirement age, or with a young fan behind the wheel haha