It was the middle of 2012 and the Brashness was itchy footed; the love he felt for his Toyota Camry was fading and he was seeking to replace her with another daily drive. She'd spent quite a few faithful years taking him to and fro but this time he could say to her it's you, not me. She was just too vanilla for his tastes; white goods on wheels. So Brash was on the hunt for something with a little more spice, something with get up and go that wouldn't spare the horses. Something a little bit foreign, perhaps. Me? I just went along for the ride...
This whole thing that guys have with getting new cars drives me crazy, pun intended. For a girl, with the possible exception of Danica Patrick, a car is to get in and go from A to B. We find one in the right colour with a nice radio and cupholders that goes brum when we turn the key and if we can fit 10 or so grocery bags in the boot we're good to go. For men, choosing a car is as much a mission as putting a rocket on Mars and for Brash it took almost as long. I swear we went to every car dealership on the Gold Coast and looked at everything in our price range and a whole bunch of stuff that wasn't. Suffice to say we didn't get a Mercedes. After about four months of looking at cars every weekend I was ready to kick the Brashness out and tell him to LIVE in his car. I could list the specs of everything from an Audi A1 to a Nissan 370Z.
There was however, one marque that Brash kept coming back to, and in this marque one particular car. I knew in my heart that for Brash this would be the one, the one true love that would get his pistons pumping and start his engine.
She was beautiful, a mysterious European model with the brains and heart to match the body. She was a Skoda Fabia RS, a well known car in Europe but a little more niche right now in Australia, part of the Volkswagen Group. Think of a Skoda as an Audi or VW that dresses at Target, not David Jones. Mechanically the same. It seemed we always ended up back in the Skoda Dealership every weekend after we'd done the rounds for Danny to sit in this Fabia yet again, and yet again espouse her virtues and how they outclassed every other contender. I'd say, are you going to test drive her, and he'd say no, no, not yet. It was a slow courtship and taking a very long time to get to second base.
|For gawd's sake just buy the bloody thing will you.|
One weekend in early December I cracked it. We sat in the same Fabia again in the Skoda lot and as Danny stroked the steering wheel the salesman came over, put his head in the window and asked if he could help us at all. "Yes," I said. "My husband is going to test drive this car. Then he is going to buy it. Today." I think it turned out to be Rob's easiest sale ever.
|The lovely Rob Webster at Gold Coast Skoda|
So Fabia Fairlocks came home to live at our place, and pretty fine she did look out the front too.
As befits any beautiful model we spent a lot of time taking care of her and keeping her portfolio up to date. We live in such a magnificent country it wasn't hard to find surroundings attractive enough to show off her natural good looks.
|Springbrook. Image by Danny.|
|Mount Tamborine. I almost got skittled taking this series.|
After a while Brash knew it was true love, and decided it was time to put Fabia Fairlocks through her paces and let out the multitude of horses he knew were locked away under her bonnet. So he took her to Lakeside Raceway north of Brisbane and let her run wild at Happy Laps with other VWs and Skodas.
|Lakeside, Lakeside, Lakeside!!!|
Of course there was always lots of grunting and chest-beating at the track, especially when my brother was over visiting and went along as copilot. I'd not shot much in the way of car racing prior to this so it was a good chance to hone my skills.
|You can almost smell the testosterone.|
|You better believe it. See the next shot.|
|Fabia Skodataking a rival.|
After a while I grew to love Fabia Fairlocks, although I rarely admitted it. It was only natural then that when the time came a year later to replace my car I only had eyes for a sweet red Fabia RS parked at Gold Coast Skoda. I swear she winked at me anytime I drove past. Brash offered me the car of my choosing but only Rita Redcar would do.
|Rob's second easiest sale ever. We love you Rob.|
It was a match made in heaven. Actually, it was a match made in Czechoslovakia but you get it. I wonder what our neighbours think about us having matching cars.
Rita also found her way to interesting places for photos.
|Taken by Danny. Coz' I was too scared to get out of the car :o|
And she found her way to the track - driven here by my daredevil brother. Not cause I didn't want to but someone had to take the photos. Really.
Now we are bringing along the next generation Skodamaniac. You never know, if Fabia or Rita are still in the family when he comes of age he just might get to drive one. Or not. Until then, he's a stablehand :).
Skodas really are a family affair in our house and a way of life for us. Driving something exciting and alive without breaking the bank or the petrol bowser is a wonderful thing. I've surprised many a petrolhead who pulls up at the lights beside a frumpy forty-something woman driving a small red hatchback, expecting to leave them behind on the change to green.
Danny tells me that in high school he dreamed he would one day own a car that purrs like a kitten and drives like a lion. Through his life, as we all do, he had instead chosen the car he needed instead - be it a cheap car, a family car, a big car, a small car. Now finally, he has the car he always wanted. Thanks Skoda.
In an aside, I want to thank my husband for a remarkable seven years together this month. We've made it through everything life could throw at us and more. I love you Danny.