Building cars is a very serious business, but that doesn’t mean those involved can’t also be permitted to have fun every now and again. How else do you think we’d have ended up being able to buy machines as bizarre as the Renault Clio V6 or BMW M4 GTS, the purpose of which is inevitably as much to generate headlines as to boost profits.
Then there’s the pair of oddities highlighted below, both of which have been revealed in the past week. Never a dull moment.
The Bulletproof Skoda Superb
Skoda is well known for selling immensely practical cars that are built to withstand family life, but with its new armoured Superb Estate the Czech manufacturer has taken things several steps further. This isn’t about protecting the vehicle’s interior from the unsympathetic attention of grubby children, but equipping the Superb for far more dangerous situations.
To that end Skoda’s first fully armoured car wears bodywork constructed from hot-formed armoured steel and high-strength composite materials, plus there’s bullet-resistant glass and tyres that can be driven on even when deflated. The passenger cell itself has also been reinforced so that the car conforms with PAS 300 requirements, which detail how a car needs to perform in relation to side blasts, underfloor blasts and roof blasts (yes, we had to look that up too).
Obviously this isn’t the kind of thing Skoda usually builds, and so it worked in conjunction with a UK-based converter over a three-year period to make this almost indestructible Superb a reality. Impressively, despite the extensive modifications it looks all but identical to a standard Superb Estate, and is said to offer the same roomy five-seat interior and massive boot.
To cope with all the extra weight on board the Superb gains new suspension and brakes, although the 2.0-litre diesel engine is said to be in standard 190 horsepower tune.
While a touch OTT for the average driver, the armoured Superb should appeal to those in the market for a car that is infinitely more capable than its appearance suggests. They will, however, need deep pockets, because at £118,688 the price of the armoured Superb has exploded to match its abilities.
Search CarGurus for (unarmoured) used examples of the Skoda Superb for sale
Honda’s Hot Civic Type R Pickup
You might think it hard to imagine that anybody who has ever driven a Honda Civic Type R came away wishing it had the versatility of a pickup truck. However, that is precisely what must have happened to somebody in Honda UK’s Product Engineering department, for the Civic Type R Pickup is now very much a thing, giant rear wing and all.
Underneath is the powertrain, suspension and six-speed manual gearbox from the Civic Type R hatchback, allowing for what Honda reckons is a 0-62mph time of less than six seconds and a top speed in excess of 165mph. What has changed is the bodywork from the B-pillar backwards, where the standard Civic’s rear seats and spacious boot have made way for a flatbed where you can now transport a couple of lawnmowers. With 320 horsepower under the Civic’s bonnet you are definitely going to want to strap them down though.
If this all sounds too weird to be true then that’s because it is. Sort of. You see, the Type R pickup is a one-off concept created by a team of employees dedicated enough to chop and change a pre-production Civic prototype outside of normal working hours.
That said, bearing in mind we live in an age where Skoda will sell you a £118,000 bulletproof estate car, perhaps it might be best not to rule out a production version of Honda’s hot pickup just yet…
Search CarGurus to see (more normal) used pickups for sale
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