Say Good-Bye To An Unassuming Classic: The Old Octavia

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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say good bye to an unassuming classic the old octavia

I still remember when I accompanied a big cheese of Volkswagen to (then) Czechoslovakia in 1990, shortly after the iron curtain had rusted out. We went to Mladá Boleslav, near Prague, to inspect VW’s latest acquisition: Skoda. The place was pretty much empty.

“Where are the workers?” asked my guy.

“We sent them home,” answered the man in charge.

“You did what?”

“We were told to release them.”

“Why in God’s name would you do that?”

“They were prisoners. They wanted to go home.”

And now, another piece of Skoda history is going home: The Skoda Octavia Mk1. After 14 years of faithful duty, the old Octavia is being retired, writes Automobilwoche [sub]. End of October, the last of 1.4 million produced will roll off the lines. If you want one, hurry up: It can only be ordered until June 30.

The Octavia was Skoda’s first “western” car, based on the Volkswagen erector kit. For a few years, Skoda had to subsist on their Communist-era Favorit (renamed “Felicia”). 1996, the Octavia was released, based on the Golf 4 platform (then known as “A4”, to confuse the guys in Ingolstadt, later renamed “PQ34”.)

When the Gen 2 Octavia came out in 2004 (based on the Golf 5 platform, a.k.a. A5, or PQ35), the Gen 1 Octavia was not simply sent out to pasture, but lived on as “Octavia Tour.” For a while, I had one, with a 180 hp (officially …) turbocharged engine, and nothing on the outside. Fun on the Autobahn, to hustle Porsche drivers with. In many countries, it performed its civic duty as a taxi, or as a cop car (sometimes with said 180 hp engine …)

Unassuming, well made, reliable, and reasonably priced, the Octavia Tour was one of those cars you had to forcibly retire, lest they would live on forever. And as the saying went at Volkswagen, the guys at Skoda “built them with love.”

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Blowfish Blowfish on Jun 29, 2010

    After 2 weeks, I was starting to get a bit tired that every car sounded like an Iveco Daily. A diesel that is lacking in sound absorbing material can really gets onto your nerve. aka a bunch of marbles in a coffee can. One Golf dsl I had was like that, but it does have torque, very nice to drive on the hwy with abundant of T. It got to be some kind of conspiracy to not bring Dsl to our Colonial market. The 80's GM 350 dsl probably the biggest culprit.

  • Fahrkultur Fahrkultur on Jun 29, 2010

    Bought an Octavia in 98. Excellent car, very reasonably priced. No major repairs, still a pleasure to drive, probably the most reasonable car in the market

  • MaintenanceCosts So there is no Sonata trim without some type of Theta engine.It seems like they've been doing a bit better when attached to a hybrid system, so that's probably the one to get, but they're going to have to go several years without further engine troubles before I'd trust a H/K ICE product again.
  • Lou_BC Full sized sort of autonomous RC's. Cute.
  • Art_Vandelay Autonomous capabilities are being deployed (or planned anyway) in multiple combat vehicles. Should be fun from my perspective
  • Drew8MR Interior is trivial now you can get repro everything in various levels of quality. Getting the top sorted will be a couple grand, but I'd drive it as it. I drove a $1500 67 GTO convertible for 20 years, not every old car needs to be like new.
  • John Not everyone pays that much for power. Mine is 10 cents per kw…..