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Personal Favorit – 1986 Skoda Favorit

Today, I’m wheeling out more European quirkiness, this time in the shape of a groundbreaking Bertone design. Yes, this dirty white box of a car was a dawn of a new age for the Czech car manufacturer Skoda; it’s an Italian-designed front-engined front wheel drive hatchback.

For decades, Skoda built what the Soviet brothers told them to, and that meant chucking all front-engined designs in the bin and using the same-old same-old pushrod engine in the rear of the car instead. But by 1987, the Soviet ice had thawed so much, that Skoda could introduce a competitor for the Samara and an actual contender in the booming European hatchback market.

Sure, the Favorit was far from perfect, but it was the car that stuck the foot in Volkswagen’s door in the early ’90s and got the company under VAG’s wings. Czech check out the pics.

Did I say far from perfect? Is that badge (flying baseball glove) screwed on with a sole screw? The folded-paper Bertone look could be of actual folded paper, were it not for creeping rust here and there; but given the circumstances it looks far better executed than a Yugo, I’d say.

The engine in the Favorit is the.. pushrod 1,3-litre engine that’s been carried over from earlier Skodas. Yeah, they had to put up with it in the Favorit, but it soldiered on in the later Felicia and even in the first-generation Fabia: only in 2003 was it retired in favor of a Volkswagen unit, even if it had been extensively modernized here and there by then. In the Favorit it pushed out 63 horsepower.

“Look, Ma, no rear window wiper!” The Favorit also has one of the shortest rear overhangs I know, beaten only by the 1st gen Seat Ibiza – another Italian design (Italdesign by Giugiaro) and another later Volkswagen acquisition.

The Favorit also has some of the smallest trunklid badges I’ve seen. “We don’t need no stinking badges! Well, maybe just little ones.”

So, were it not for this car, there would be no BMW-rivalling Superbs or autobahn-storming Octavia RS:s, or WRC Fabias. The humble, creaky, rusty, unassuming Favorit got redone as the Felicia and got Volkswagen stamps all over it, but behind the swoopier detailing and Golf Mk3 steering wheel was still a Favorit at heart. Could you accept the Favorit in yours?

  • No rear wiper, but an interesting defroster layout.

    Should we start a Encyclopedia Hoonotica entry on defroster patterns?

    • Marcal

      Must be a logical explanation for it. I thought I had one, but no.

      • HSA

        The defrosted area coincides the area cleaned by the wiper, when there is one.
        Once again I'm impressed by the hooniversian eye for the detail. What's odd is that this time the detail drawing attention is on the car itself and not in the buildings or signage in the background.

    • Vavon

      The layout is absolutely logical for a Favorit with wiper!
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  • CherokeeOwner

    More Skodas! Seriously, you should do a review a brand-new Skoda, if you get them new in your region. I've always been intrigued by them due to the occasional reviews on "Top Gear."

  • Raphael Orlove

    Love it – the pickups look pretty solid, as well, though I don't know how trusty these cars are as they roll onto three decades of age

  • My favourit Skoda is a 130 RS
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  • dukeisduke

    The wheels have a Volkswagen-y look to them. What is the Skoda logo supposed to be, anyway? I've always thought it looked like a cock's comb.

    • HSA

      I had always thought it's a bird's head with a pronounced crest. Then I read somewhere that it's an arrow with a tail (don't ask me why the tail is attached to the arrowhead and not the trailing end of the arrow).

      • jogden

        One legend has it that the badge represents an American Native headdress. Who knows. When I lived in Prague in the 1990s we called it the Skoda chicken. Or "it's a pity", as many Czechs (including my roomate) referred to the brand (a literal translation of the common Czech expression "to je skoda".)

  • Van_Sarockin

    It must have been a very radical departure in CZlandia when it was first introduced. I'll assuming it was built off another manufacturer's range, but had no idea these had been made.

  • Perc

    No, the Favorit wasn't built off of someone elses technology. It was 100% designed and engineered by Skoda.

    The Favorit was never a popular car here. It wasn't a bad car per se, but it didn't manage to shake the "estern car" stigma. When VW bought the company they [strike]filed off the edges[/strike]reskinned it extensively inside and out, put a sticker in the rear window that mentioned something about how "Skoda was a part of VW" and priced it competitively. They managed to shift a considerable amount of them during its lifespan, mostly to customers that wouldn't even have considered the Favorit.

    Wonder what the world would've been like if Skoda hadn't gotten stuck behind the iron curtain, and if VW hadn't been able to get out of the aircooled rut they were stuck in in the mid 70's. Maybe Volkswagen would be a reasonably priced brand within the Skoda group?

    • Van_Sarockin

      Then it's more of an achievement than I'd thought.

      • You might be confusing it with Dacia, which has mostly been basing its creations on Renaults since forever.

        • Perc


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  • Antero Shiskkolainen

    As a Czech, it warms my heart to see old Skodas in Finland 🙂 And in a such good condition. Here in their homeland, lots of them are in such bad shape that they are barely roadworthy



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