Mint 1983 Skoda 105L

Cars from the former Soviet Bloc don't get much respect, if any at all. For starters, not many got through to North America. And the few that did, like the Yugo, were mocked. Fortunately, with the cold war and its politics over, Eastern European cars are finally getting some appreciation on this side of the world, because what they had to offer sometimes was actually pretty nifty.

One such car would be Czech-made Skoda 105. It was a compact rear-engine, rear-wheel drive four door sedan. Skoda's long line of rear engine sedans started with the 1000MB back in 1964 and gradually evolved into the 105, which debuted in 1976. Almost 2 million were made until 1990, when it was replaced by a front-engine, front-wheel drive layout, making the 105 Skoda's last rear engine car.

Skoda's rear engine cars were always rather charmingly styled, and the 105 is in keeping with that tradition, but with a twist of late 70s modernism. Styling is simple, taught and no-frills. In an era like today when cars keep getting larger and rounder to meet stringent saftey requirements, the sparse, lean sheet metal of the Skoda is a revelation.

This particular example is a 105 "L" for Luxury and looks great in period flat orange. The black-centered wheels, mud flaps and rear spoiler are all nice and likely original touches.

The interior looks immaculate, in part helped by simple round gauges, pre-airbag steering wheel and small, flat seats.

Underneath the hood is the base 1046cc 4-cylinder engine producing just 44 horsepower. The 105 improved upon its predecessor however by mounting a radiator at the front to help cooling, hence the air slots in-between the front lights. The fuel tank was also moved to under the rear seats. The front suspension was independent and the rear was a swing-axle.

The seller says the car runs and drives great and has just 7,400 kilometers on the clock, which is about 4,500 miles, astonishingly low for cars that were often driven hard on rough rural roads. This one has either been restored or was basically never used, and it looks it, too.

Parts should be in ready supply given the popularity of these in Czech Republic. There aren't many here, so that makes this one pretty unique, and a cool alternative to rear engine Volkswagens.

Available here on craigslist for $6,500.

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