Do you have one of those annoying friends that corrects anyone who calls the monster in Mary Shelly’s novel ‘Frankenstein’? Well they are wrong.
Victor Frankenstein was so dissatisfied with his horrific creation that he never named it, so in the absence of a proper christening, the correct thing to do is simply refer to the hideous amalgamated humanoid by its brand name - Frankenstein.
If the revolting murderous beast was a car, he would have been a Frankenstein, La Frankenstein or perhaps the Frankenstein Mk1. For the record, I think he looked like a Brad.
So you can tell your smug mate at the pub to sit back down and brush up on their proper nouns.
And that’s why, if I really had created a new steroid-pumped diesel SUV rocketship by fusing the best bits from a standard Skoda Kodiaq with the RS version of the Octavia, it would have been called the Gardner Kodiak RS. But - full disclosure - I didn’t.
This slightly tongue-in-cheek feature’s inception came about after Skoda offered us an exclusive meeting with the very first Kodiaq RS in the country. We wouldn’t be allowed to drive it on the road and our time would be limited to just three hours.
A tall order to get some kind of meaningful story for the TV show but, as the Skoda would be waiting for us at the iconic Phillip Island grand prix circuit, we weren’t about to pass up this opportunity.
When the truck turned up, it was actually carrying two examples of Skoda’s hottest SUV to date. The driver reversed them from the trailer, into a detailing bay and handed me the keys - I really would be the first person to drive the new model anywhere in Australia, and it didn’t disappoint.
The introduction sequences were filmed on the beautiful roads around the racing circuit near Cowes but the weather was less than ideal. Thankfully though, it cleared up for our track blast later in the day.
As anyone who has visited the Island knows, the elements can do absolutely anything from one minute to the next.
Hopefully one thing we hid from you in the final edit was that we didn’t actually have the full circuit at our disposal. Skoda was busy setting up for a drive event the following day so we were confined to about a half.
Fortunately, that portion included Gardner Straight - named after yours truly, of course - and turns three, four and five, which offer the stunning backdrop of the Bass Strait.
I’ve been lucky enough to drive Phillip Island a few times over the years and I’m quite familiar with it in the normal anticlockwise direction, but it felt very peculiar turning around and driving the wrong way after each take.
The frankly ridiculous laboratory scene was filmed in a combination of the pit garages and our WhichCar studio. The substance I pour into the beaker is antifreeze but it was switched to neat lime cordial for me to have a sip.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tasted undiluted cordial but, in hindsight, I think I would have taken my chances with the ethylene glycol.
Director Sean and I have a lot of fun with a pair of fog machines filling the Philip Island pits with smoke, but a couple of the Skoda crew hadn’t got the memo and thought WhichCar was in the process of destroying the entire facility!
And kudos to anyone who knows what influenced Sean’s cool effect which sweeps the Kodiaq away at the end of the story. It was, of course, the Thanos dust borrowed from The Avengers movie.
So there you have it. I had absolutely no involvement in the development of the new Skoda Kodiaq RS, which explains why it is such a well-rounded and complete machine - and infinitely better than a Frankenstein.
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