They say that necessity is the mother of invention.
Well, the mother of Paul Wyatt’s forthcoming child was every incentive he needed to complete a classic Skoda restoration project.
You see, Paul had set himself a deadline with a difference: to get his late grandad’s old S120L back on the road before James, his second son, came into the world.
You could say Skodas are in Paul’s blood. Both his dad and grandad owned the Czech cars.
Some of his earliest memories were spent on holidays and family outings in dad’s old 1980 105L.
His grandad followed suit and got himself a grey/green S100.
Meanwhile, Paul continued the tradition, contenting himself as a toddler by not so much car-spotting as Skoda-spotting.
One, in particular, caught his eye: a canary-yellow S120L, which was parked on a driveway in his road. It was a car that fell into his grandad’s ownership in 1984.
Paul fell in love with the machine, tenderly hand-painting the aluminium number plate letters and readying it for MOTs with his dad.
Paul’s grandad passed away in 1996, having owned the Škoda for 12 years.
Five years later Paul and his dad tried to get the vehicle started, the Skoda Owners Club magazine reports.
It sprung to life. Unfortunately, its rear brakes were stuck on and that meant it was off the road for another four years.
In 2005 these rear brakes were released, rusty panels were removed and inspected.
The decision? Back in hibernation again until 2014. It was then that Paul gave himself the deadline involving his unborn son…
Paul found that all the brakes needed to be replaced. Several other challenges presented themselves, including:
Then it was time to turn the engine on. No go. The Skoda’s wasted fuel lines were useless.
Paul couldn’t get the spare pipes to fit. He subsequently discovered that early models had cut down S-Series filler necks.
Suitably illuminated, Paul drained the oil then replaced the remnants of the old filter. Plugs were replaced and the sump filled with new coolant and oil.
He switched on the engine. Again, no go.
Paul tried again. Strange sounds persuaded him not to venture further. He unearthed a rocker pedestal assembly that looked out of the ark. The conclusion? An engine rebuild. Many new parts were used. The motor was reinstalled. It started with no misfiring.
A change of home halted the project once more before the final push.
The final push
Getting the rust-encrusted car ready before the MoT entailed body restoration and much paintwork to the inner wings on the front.
The result? A pass with not even one advisory note.
And so grandad’s pride and joy was back on the road once more after 18 years.
Not only this, but the MOT pass came the month before James was brought into the world.