Czech Observations - SjB {P}
Just back from a few weeks in the Czech Republic, with loads of snow, many a day near that minus 20 degree Centigrade mark, and some times even colder than that. Thoughts that come to mind are:

1) Took a few journeys in an ancient (more than 20 years old) rear engined Skoda. A total, clapped our, rickety heap, except that the motor started first time, every time, with none of the Whir, whir, whir, flat battery, and then silence, that most British bangers would exhibit.

2) Very reluctantly, drove one of the first Favorits, also run by it's normal owner on a total shoe string. A certain UK MOT failure, it also started on the button every time, and the unassisted (read bl**dy heavy normally) steering gave plenty of feedback on packed snow. Incidentally, the first and second times I started the car, I locked myself out whilst clearing snow from the glass (a broken door latch was to blame), and on both occasions, the auto choke worked perfectly during the five minutes it took to get back in to the car, which by then was ticking over at normal speed.

3) Nearly every dashboard switch in the Favorit had been replaced with one showing the Heated Rear Window symbol, which made simple tasks like turning the lights on (Daytime law in winter months in the Czech Republic), interesting!

4) In total contrast, a friend's newly acquired W12 (6 litre I think?) engined Audi A8 was awesome. With the stability and traction control software enabled, it appeared to accelarate in snow far harder than my Vectra GSi does on dry tarmac, with hardly any wheelspin, and in a dead straight line. In an empty car park, it was also hard to make the car spin with all the control software enabled. Actually, as a display of technology, awesome is not the word for it. As one example, the roof has an (LCD?)panel to allow air conditioning to run when the car if left unattended, and infact, the air conditioning and heater can be controlled from up to 1500 metres away by radio handset. I have never really been one to admire anything Tutonic, but this car, especially with W12 engine, impressed me deeply. Can't wait for a drive later in the year on dry tarmac, if I'm allowed!

5) Was stopped by a Czech policeman manning a roadside checkpoint at 02:00am. What marked the occasion? He stood to attention and saluted as I wound the window down. When all was seen to be in order, he wished me well, and saluted again as I drove off! Apparently, all quite normal behaviour.


Czech Observations - CMark {P}
Sounds great. I have done several mid-winter back-roads trips in the German and Austrian Alps which have been most memorable. We might get a posting to Bratislava in 18 months time which would be super.

Re: rear engined Skodas - had my eye on getting an Estelle 120LX (for Production Car Trialing you understand). We had a 875cc Hillamn Imp and we must have been the least successful PCT team at the time. So a Skoda would have been a step up in the world.

Re: Audi A8 - I see from Autotrader that 97 model 4.2 Quattros go for less than 10k. Must look into this...

Great policeman story.



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