Skoda reimagines the camper van

Skoda reimagines the camper van

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Skoda reimagines the camper van

Czech brand presents a sleek new take on the original Skoda 1203

It’s not often that car-makers reveal official design sketches of new models that may or may not reach production at some point in the future.

But Skoda has always danced to the beat of its own drum and that’s exactly what it has done with this stylish proposal for a modern-day camper van from one of its young designers.

Revealed this week as part of the Czech brand’s ‘Icons Get a Makeover’ series, the sleek design is the work of Daniel Hájek, who has a soft spot for the original Skoda 1203 – the most widely used Czechoslovakian utility vehicle of the 20th century.

The Skoda 1203 was first unveiled at a machine engineering trade fair in Brno in September 1968 and since then has done duty as everything from an ambulance to a hearse, as well as a minibus, delivery van and flatbed truck.

Powered by a humble 38kW four-cylinder OHV engine, it was first manufactured in Vrchlabí before production moved to Trnava in Slovakia in 1981 and continued there right up to the late 1990s.

“We have a flatbed version like that in the garden of my grandparents’ house, but it’s not roadworthy anymore,” said Hájek.

“It was kind of my first car. We used it on our farm and when I was 15 they let me start the engine now and then and drive it around the field.

“I talked about it with my colleagues and they said that if I have experience with the 1203 I could try to reimagine it for the new millennium. But I also think a vehicle like this would be great for the Skoda brand today.”

As you can see, the result is a thoroughly modern camper with a pop-top roof – a body style that’s long been popular in Europe and Australia, where demand for recreational vehicles is currently at an all-time high.

Hájek envisions the vehicle on the Volkswagen Group’s T6 Transporter platform, but says it might just as easily be all-electric – in which case it would ride on the same VW MEB platform as the Volkswagen ID.3 hatch, ID.4 SUV and the born-again Volkswagen Kombi people-mover previewed by the I.D. Buzz concept.

“An electric car would allow for an even better use of space,” said the 31-year-old Czech designer who joined Skoda in 2016 and helped design the dashboards of the Octavia and Enyaq EV, as well as the Vision X, Vision RS and Vision iV prototypes.

Unique throwback features inside the minimalist interior include a horizontal two-spoke steering wheel and a retractable dash storage shelf.

But Hájek says his concept is anything but retro.

“I wanted it to be clear from my study that this is the same vehicle [as the original 1203], but I didn’t want it to be too obviously retro,” he said. “I designed a modern vehicle that pays homage to the legend.”

For now, Hájek’s creation is pure fantasy, but Skoda has a history of bringing interesting concepts to reality so watch this space.

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