Half a century ago, the TREKKA blazed a trail for ŠKODA’s wave of SUVs. Now it’s the star of show at exhibitions and vintage car rallies.
The TREKKA is a true rarity in Europe. The ŠKODA Museum knows of only six of them on the Old Continent. And this one, the colour of New Zealand’s sand – in mint condition and as perfect as the day it rolled off the line – is the most beautiful. Climb in and let’s go for a spin!
What with the steering wheel on the right, the gear stick on the left, and first gear at the driver’s left knee, it’s like being back in great-granddad’s old OCTAVIA, except in a mirror image according to New Zealand’s laws. It commands respect from the very first touch. Luckily, the TREKKA has perfectly regular shapes, so coasting the country roads and passing lorries proves to be a doddle. The front passenger has the worst of it, because they find being so close to the centre of the road an unnerving experience.
The TREKKA was designed at a time when the idea of civilian off-road cars was only just taking hold among vehicle-makers. The brainchild of ŠKODA’s New Zealand importer 50 years ago, the TREKKA was developed in both New Zealand and Mladá Boleslav. The semi-off-road car is a celebration of simplicity, the ability of the designers to be creative in limited conditions, and impeccably practical, utilitarian design. In point of fact, it is the very first – and to date the only – car that is throughand-through New Zealand.
The front has two seats that will only slide backwards and forwards, so the driver has no choice but to adapt. You find yourself sitting on a seat with a low backrest, up high and close to the door. The almost perpendicular windows and generous glazing mean the driver’s view out couldn’t be better. In the back, there are two benches, one along each side, enough for six kiwi catchers, a family driving through the meadows on its way into the city, or eight kids off to rugby practice.