Skoda Slavia – a convertible 'Scala Spider' by students –

Not bad right? This is the Skoda Slavia, which is essentially a convertible version of the Skoda Scala hatchback, or a “Scala Spider” if you like. No, this is not a production car or even an official concept car by VW’s Czech brand, but a student project. Not bad right?

The seventh Skoda student concept car was designed by 31 students attending the renowned Skoda vocational school in Mladá Boleslav. From first draft to building the one-off car, which is the school’s annual flagship project, the students completed every step themselves, with support from their instructors as well as experts from Skoda’s design, production and technical development departments.

“For the seventh year running, our students are demonstrating the high standard of our in-house training by planning, designing and building an impressive one-off car. We enable them to design their dream car, working with professionals from our various departments. As a result, their training already familiarises them with processes that will become part of their working lives later on, when they graduate from our vocational school and embark on a career in our company,” said Alois Kauer, head of the Skoda Academy.

To the car, which is quite a sight. The Slavia name is from one of the first bicycles produced by Václav Laurin and Václav Klement after they founded the company 125 years ago in 1895. The “Scala Spider” combines the contemporary model’s bold lines with a common design standard from the earliest days of motoring, when most cars were open-topped.

They’re calling the design sporty and emotionally compelling, and we say not bad, even if the proportions are not quite there (understandable, as this is modified from a regular five-door hatch), and the look makes one think of a mid-engined car although the motor is in front. Once again, they couldn’t have done much better given the constraints.

Speaking of the engine, it’s the Scala’s 1.5 TSI unit with 150 PS, paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Other carryovers from the hatchback include the front and rear axles, steering, electronics and cabling, dashboard and infotainment system.

To transform hatch into roadster, the students performed numerous modifications to the car’s body, redesigning many areas and adapting existing solutions. They reinforced the underbody, removed the roof and welded the rear doors in place. To redirect airflow over the car, they developed a special cover with “twin speedster humps” behind the seats, which blends into a boot lid with an integrated rear spoiler.

The students paid special attention to clean transitions on the A-pillars and doors, Skoda says. 20-inch alloys from the Kodiaq RS SUV, and a brake system and wheel hubs from the Octavia RS complete the exterior package. Oh, and the redesigned underfloor area houses a modified exhaust system as well.

The White Crystal Blue paint finish consists of three layers resulting in a bluish pearlescent effect, which is emphasised by the neon blue accents along the body lines as well as on the grille and bonnet logo. Programmable LEDs, positioned below the side sills and behind the wheels, provide exterior ambient lighting in blue, red and white – the three colours of the Czech flag. The illuminated Skoda rear lettering also doubles as brake and reversing lights.

Inside the neat two-seat cabin, you’ll find a Scala dashboard paired with Sparco racing seats and four-point seat belts. An eye-catching detail is the black leather parcel shelf featuring two embroidered lions that house two sunken bass speakers. The subwoofer has an output of 2,250 watts, with the remaining speakers adding another 320 watts.

The Slavia’s boot accommodates two electric scooters. The folding e-scooters are the perfect, eco-friendly solution for what is known as a journey’s “last mile”.

Founded in 1927, the Skoda vocational school has trained more than 23,000 students. The current, over 900-strong batch is being taught in 13 different technical courses. Each successful graduate is offered employment at the carmaker. The annual student car project allows young talent to design an original vehicle and build it themselves. The first one was the Citijet in 2014, a two-seater version of the Skoda Citigo. We quite like this Atero Concept from 2016 as well.

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