Based on the original Octavia, the Trekka was launched 50 years ago.
The Kodiaq SUV is shaping up to be Skoda’s most important launch after the first-gen modern Octavia from 1996, so it’s no wonder the VW-owned Czech marque is pulling out all the stops to let everyone know the Kodiaq has arrived. Long before the brand’s first SUV, Skoda’s underpinnings served as foundation for the very affordable Trekka, which went on sale half a century ago bearing some resemblance to the Land Rover Series I.
Described as being a “lightweight off-road vehicle” and quite possibly the first car designed and built in New Zealand, the Trekka was launched on December 2, 1966. Using a modified chassis of the original Octavia Combi, it was shipped from Mladá Boleslav in a disassembled state due to customs and tax reasons.
Compared to the classic Octavia, the Trekka had a shorter wheelbase and a modified axle ratio together with chunkier tires and a more generous ground clearance of 190 millimeters (7.5 inches). It even had an optional differential lock option to increase its off-road capabilities, while power came from a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 47 hp (34 kW) and 87 Nm (64 lb-ft) to the rear axle through a four-speed transmission.
Depending on version, the Skoda Trekka’s weight varied between 920 and 980 kilograms (2,028 and 2,160 pounds), thus enabling the off-road vehicle to have a very good fuel consumption of only 11 liters / 100 km (21.3 mpg US or 25.6 mpg UK). Performance was decent as well, with a quoted top speed of 110 kph (68 mph), while the maximum payload capacity stood at up to 500 kg (1,102 lbs).
It was offered in several body styles, including an estate model dubbed “STW,” a three-door pickup with either two or eight seats, along with a soft-top derivative, a fixed plastic hardtop, and even a beach version. In total, Motor Holdings, an independent car assembler from New Zealand, put together almost 3,000 units between 1966 and 1972.
To be fair, we should point out it was never marketed as a Skoda, hence the absence of the company’s logo. The Trekka was one of the cheapest vehicles during those days and was a steady seller in New Zealand until 1970 when import taxes were relaxed and it began to be outshined by other models, mostly coming from Japan.
Source: Skoda, Trekka.co.nz