You can joke about Estelle, but you wouldn’t have laughed about Skoda during the Battle of Jutland

You can laugh at this model - but Skoda jokes nowadays are passé.

Alf likes the story of the 12-year old boy who was walking down the main street of Eketahuna when a car pulled up beside him and the window was wound down.

“I’ll give you a bag of lollies if you get in the car”, said the male driver.

“No way, get stuffed”, replied the boy.

How about a bag of lollies and $10?” asked the driver?

“No way”, replied the irritated youngster.

“What about a bag of lollies and FIFTY dollars, eh”? quizzed the driver, still rolling slowly to keep up with the walking boy.

“No, I’m not getting in the ******* car!” answered the boy.

“OK, I know what you want – I’ll give you $100 and a bag of lollies”, the driver offered.
“NO,” screamed the boy.

“What will it take to get you into the car”? asked the driver with a long sigh.

The boy replied: “Listen Dad, you bought the Skoda – you live with it!”

But fair to say, Alf has been chided for telling this and other Skoda jokes.

These jokes betray a bloke’s lack of automotive knowledge, he is told – the Czech company, now owned by VW, produces some of the best-built small cars around…

That opinion is renforced by the blokes at Top Gear, who say of Skoda –

The evolution of this once jokey badge continues apace, with a range of cars so adept they make it increasingly hard for the rest of the Volkswagen empire to stay ahead of what is supposed to be the budget badge of the group. If you’re still unsure, think on this: Skoda customers are the most satisfied people on earth

David Bowen, writing in The Independent in Britain, back in 1996 was challenging the premise that Skodas are bad cars.

But Skodas are no longer bad cars – the new Octavia, I am told, is positively radiant. Which is fine for the Skoda, and those who want to drive one, but what happens to the poor old jokes?

Before the War, this sort of joke was attached to Fords. “Why do you get a squirrel when you buy a Ford?” the wags demanded. “To pick up the nuts as they fall off.” “What time is it when two Fords pass?” “Tin past tin.”

Since then, various companies have had their spot in the firing line. In the Fifties and Sixties the Americans had it in for Lucas, which they called the Prince of Darkness. “Why do the British drink warm beer?” they wondered.

“Because their fridges run on Lucas batteries.” Then in the Seventies they turned on Jaguar. “Buy two and keep one for spare parts.” (This was actualy quite sensible advice).

So what will happen to these jokes now the Skoda is a decent car?

The Independent article mused that they could persist (but the Ford ones didn’t) or be transferred to another model.

It concluded:

BY THE way, did you know that Skoda used to be taken very seriously indeed? It made the shells that both sides fired at each other in the Battle of Jutland.

But the Skoda Estelle is included in a list of 10 cars that – according to The Telegraph – should never have been built.

The Telgraph says so many questionable vehicles have been produced over the decades that they’ve spawned their very own publishing genre; the Crap Cars book and numerous websites.

It says of the Skoda Estelle –

Youngsters are baffled by Skoda jokes – which isn’t surprising, given the quality of the cars now. But they never knew the likes of the tail-happy, rear-engined Estelle. Nevertheless, keen pricing meant more than 120,000 sold in Britain between 1977 and 1990.

Others on the list:

The FSO Polonez (a rebodied Fiat 125p, which Polish firm Fabryka Samochodow Osobowych (FSO) built under licence from the Italian firm from 1978 to 2002).

Yugo Sana (described as very crude and “finally put out of our misery by the Yugoslav wars”).

Trabant (the East German job famous for its raucous two-stroke engine producing five times the carbon monoxide of the average Western European car).

Reliant Robin (A British three-wheeler that was first manufactured in 1973 and now enjoys a special place in British culture).

Nissan Serena (acceleration to 60mph was said to be measured in months, rather than seconds).

Lada Riva (a cheap and lacklustre remix of Seventies Fiat that, even by Russian-car standards, ungainly and awkward).

Morris Marina (manufactured by the Morris division of BL throughout the Seventies, it had poor build quality and its handling was likened to a skip on wheels. While its sales were good, it is widely described as one of the worst cars of all time.)

Suzuki X90 (a super-ugly vehicle with rounded, comic-book looks, crowned by a large rear spoiler).

Austin Allegro (made by British Leyland from 1973 to 1983. A quartic steering wheel and unpredictable handling were its two chief features).

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