“Don't be afraid to make your dreams come true."
Those were the words of advice from Skoda chief designer Josef Kaban ringing in the heads of 23 apprentices at the Skoda Academy in September 2014.
Seven months later, the collective dream of those students has been realised with the Skoda FUNstar - a funky Fabia-based pick-up concept that is heading to the GTI Meeting in Austria this month - and the manufacturer should be applauded for entrusting their students with the design and construction of it.
It's a bold and ambitious concept that won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it was clear from talking to the students who designed it that they were aiming for something that stood-out and divided opinion.
Given free reign to design a concept car, they wanted their model to be unlike anything else in the Skoda line-up while still keeping true to the brand’s identity, and they've achieved it. The FUNstar is a clear nod to Skoda's Felicia Fun pick-up cult-classic from the late 1990s, but it's been given a modern revamp to get with the times.
It's a shame the FUNstar won't be going into production but, really, this project isn't about creating a car that's ready to take the market by storm; it's about helping develop the students by giving them an arena to showcase their talents.