At the recent 25th anniversary of Skoda’s merger with the Volkswagen Group, the Czechs decided to roll out three decades of Skoda vehicles for journalists to try. It was arguably a brave move, as the older models were clearly everyday working vehicles, with high mileages.

Skoda Favorit

Most popular among the assembled hacks were the three examples of the 1987 Favorit. I managed to get hold of the keys for the Favorit estate, more correctly known as the Forman.

Development of the Favorit was, in theory, overseen by the Czech communist government, so it must have been something of bitter pill for state-owned Skoda to have to go to Western engineering consultants for help.

Italian style house Bertone was heavily involved in the design, though Skoda developed its own modern monocoque body assembly. However, there was almost no effort put in on modern safety standards - as the car’s sub-900kg weight reveals.

Many years ago I ran into the VW engineer responsible for updating the Favorit. I asked him what he had done to the ‘platform’. He laughed out loud: "There was no platform. Just a structure".