Steven Spielberg couldn’t retain the magic. Harrison Ford wasn’t his perfectionist best. Even the glorious Cate Blanchett couldn’t work her charm. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull just couldn’t match up to Raiders of the Lost Ark, or, for that matter, Temple of the Doom. Its success at the box office notwithstanding, the follow-up act, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull didn’t carry the larger-than-life drama of the Indiana Jones series preceding it. Ditto for Oceans Twelve (and Thirteen), Martix Reloaded, The Godfather III, Speed 2 and a whole lot of others. My point is – follow-up acts are, most of the time, rubbish. And this can hold true for the motoring world as well.
Skoda – the company founded as Laurin & Klement in 1895 – has, over the years, become a hugely respected automaker globally. However, things weren’t always as rosy for the Czech automaker. I recall reading international motoring mags of the years gone by, and invariably coming across satirical mentions of Skoda everywhere. Auto gurus and comedians alike always seemed to write off their cars, and poke fun at the Skoda badge. For a kid in his early teens, it made for an entertaining read, and I started loving what they had to say.
With no firsthand experience to base a rational opinion on, I came to believe that Skodas were uninspiring pieces of mechanical lunacy that looked as boring as ice – in the North Pole. It seemed that people derived sadistic pleasure by mocking Skoda, and it allowed me to form an irrational aversion towards the brand. One car to be particularly written off by the pundits was the Octavia of 1960s, and its status didn’t change till the mid 1990s – 1996 to be precise.
Anyway, times have changed. We’re now in modern era. I’m older and wiser. And Skoda is now in the capable hands of German giant, VW.