Škoda Felicia Fun

Car of the Day #44: Škoda Felicia Fun

Škoda Felicia Fun

It's not easy making cars in the Czech Republic. 

But make cars is what Škoda did, pumping out vehicles under Communist rule (in Czechoslovakia), and, after the Velvet revolution, against Western automakers.

Škoda didn't compare favourably.

State authorities shopped the automaker around and, in 1991, entered into a partnership with Volkswagen. Today, the German automaker owns Škoda. 2Once novel (but poorly built) Czech family cars are now soapy, LED light bar'd crossovers with Teutonic hearts. Where did the fun go?


Other sites will pass the car above off as a Felicia Fun — and it is — but it is a concept. The production car had a more elegantly integrated badge within the top bar of its faux bull bar front bumper.

Let's rewind the clock just a bit, to a time when, in 1999, one last uniquely Czech vehicle rolled off the assembly line.

I can't say for certain if the Felicia Fun was a last hurrah in the face of certain German ownership. Or if it had always been in the product planning mix, waiting in the wings like a special edition of Mountain Dew.

CODE BANANA.

Although the Felicia (and Fun) by that point had come to feature various Volkswagen bits, including engines, after browsing forums featuring owner comments, it seems as though the Fun was still more of a Škoda than VW.

Do you really think Volkswagen would make a truck where you have to remove the ball of your trailer hitch before lowering the tailgate, lest the ball punches a hole through said tailgate?

That said, it had a number of redeeming qualities. It had been designed first and foremost like a 2 + 2 lifestyle vehicle, so owners could order toppers (hard and soft), cross bars, and various other accessories that by now are nearly impossible to find.

The lifestyle angle is what attracted people to the car. The Frog Prince logos throughout, the bright yellow trim—everywhere—and cheddar cheesy bodykit said to the world, “Hey, I think I'm fun.”

(Rarer still were the versions with orange or green body kits, collectors take note.)

What was its most innovative feature? The slick 2+2 seating. For a more common reference point, Fun was half Subaru Brat and half Subaru Baja. The Fun’s seats were fixed in the truck bed (like the Brat), but the interior also opened up to the bed (like the Baja).

For Fun, the seats were always inside the vehicle until needed, then folded out into the truck bed. The passengers behind could enjoy the sun, or in the case of rain or winter (there's a lot of that in the Czech Republic) you had a range of accessories to choose from.

A standard (not fun at all) Škoda Pick Up • via Škoda

My favourite is the half topper, which makes the Fun look like a badly-sliced stick of butter.

Shit, I nearly forgot to mention my favourite feature: its wood-trimmed truck bed. (I suppose the thinking is that once the bed-mounted wood slats wear out from use, you can cut some more…)

What's not to love though, right? If this was a mainstream car we could all joke about how silly it was to make.

But because it's rare, and a little bit stupid, we can laugh about it while secretly wishing there were more vehicles like the Fun on our roads.

These days, they're like Miatas in that finding an unmolested one is quite difficult. They're also like the Mazda Protege5 because they're turning to compost at an alarming rate, especially at the rear suspension mounting points.

4,016 were built in total, with production ending in the year 2000. When did VW take full control of Škoda? 2000. Hmm.

If one of my European readers has the means to put some excitement into his or her life, do it now — before the Fun-seekers catch on.

“The Fun is basically a Škoda pick-up in drag – but what drag it is.” - Autocar Magazine, 1998
Promotional image for the Fun • via Škoda

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