Pick-Up a Convertible

In Skoda on May 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm

The Skoda Fun was out of price range when it was new.  Many years later I fancied a car that offered the joys of open air motoring, and low insurance so our boys could get out on the road.  For just £2995 I picked up this brightly coloured Skoda.

Skoda brought just over 400 of these special pick ups into the country.

The standard car was launched to a fair bit of interest as vehicle featured a fold out rear bench which left those in the back seat exposed to the elements.  If that wasn’t wacky enough what about the interior?

Bright yellow soft touch leather seat bolsters and steering wheel look unsual enough, but the fabric on each seat was covered in a frog motif.

Probably half the Funs sold came with an expensive hard top, which allowed the car to operate as cavernous (if noisy) estate. Mine came with this useful addition, which was held on by four flimsy looking steel clips.  Taking the roof off was a two man job, and often disturbed the front rubber gasket.  So whilst the hard top was handy it certainly wasn’t a brilliant piece of engineering.

I bought s568 TWC from “The Chequered Flag” in Norfolk. It was the only one still for sale within the official dealer network.

My first impressions were good.  The salesman collected me from the nearby railway station in an Octavia VRs, even though it was nearly closing time.

If I remember rightly it had about 34,000 on the clock when I picked it up.  Once I left the dealership I struggled to make the petrol cap work and thought I may be marooned 300 miles from home.  Somehow I got it off and my journey began.

Sadly with the seats back and the hard top in situ this was going to be one horrendous journey.  The after market radio was next to useless.  My only sense of gratification came from the sip, sip nature of the 75 bhp VW engine.  In those early days I managed 40 mpg.

Back in Devon the car was pressed into regular use, both in our business and as expected as a runabout for our young sons.  Nobody really liked to go on a long journey using it as a 4 seater, that Truckman Top and the lack of insulation made it feel like you were driving along in a giant tin drum.

But on a normal day, roof off and two up the car had an altogether more agreeable character.  On a hot day with the seats back it created what you might call “an airy cabin”, and on a wet day with the bulkhead in place the little Fun was just that.  It was commendably quiet at 70 mph (it didn’t fancy going any quicker, and I broke a water pump trying to hit the magic ton).

Somehow even this low mileage example started to “hit” a few problems.  Like a rusty front wing (who had cunningly disguised it, the guy who traded it in or the dealer?), fixings for the rear seat came away and had to be replaced by parts from an old Laguna.  Tyres wore out but were replaced for a ridiculous £72 for a a pair.  I used it for towing, and abused it carrying stone from a Dartmoor quarry.

You’d never believe it but one pallet of rock 18″ high nearly broke the poor thing, boy did it struggle on the short journey back to our factory.

Worst of all was the horrid rust on the rear suspension bushes, oh and all the rotten wood strips I had to painstakingly rip out, replace and re-stain.

Why did I get rid of it?

Well it was looking tatty, the seats wouldn’t close properly which meant every journey was noisy.  I sold it for a knock down price of £600, and I;ve seen it on the M5 since.  I hope it gives him good service.


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