Now that Skoda is no longer the butt of all those old jokes, they’re still left with a bit of an problem. It’s a different one from the one they used to have. They’re now solidly middle class and respectable. The Yeti has made the Qashqai look dated and dour. The Superb was Top Gear magazine’s Luxury Car of the Year in 2010. My own Octavia has covered almost 34,000 miles in a year and still feels tight as a drum. Only some worn aftermarket floor mats and a driver’s seat covered in cat fluff suggest that it’s not a couple of weeks old.

The problem Skoda now has is that they’re not terribly exciting. They have a rally programme in that Intercontinental Rally Challenge thing that isn’t a world championship because the FIA already has the World Rally Championship and nobody else is allowed to sanction a world championship. They went rallying back in the bad old days too. I remember a silhouette racer with an Estelle coupe body but that wasn’t really a Skoda. It was a bit quick, though.

The Octavia in the picture above is also a bit quick. It’s been built in the famous Czech city of Milton Keynes. It’s a vRS on the sort of steroids that’ll get you thrown out of every sporting event bar the World Darts Championship and maybe even that one. The vRS’s 2.0 TSI engine has been rebuilt with a shuuuuuge new Garret turbo and it runs on 120 RON petrol with water methanol injection, whatever that is. Its power output has gone up from 200PS to between 550 and 600PS. They’ve done some jiggery-pokery to the engine management for the new turbo and fuel. It has a modified six speed manual transmission, lowered suspension, and a full suite of safety equipment including a roll cage, parachute and fire extinguishers.

Skoda UK has built it to mark 1o years of the vRS brand in Britain. Officially, that is. I prefer to think they built it because they thought it would be a really cool thing to do. Cool, and therefore very un-Skodaish. Which takes me back to the start of this post. They’re going to run it at the Bonneville Speed Week in August. I hope running it on all that salt won’t invalidate the bodywork warranty. I look forward to hearing how they get on.

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