Although the offer in this category is rich, there aren’t that many really imaginative calendars. We rank the ŠKODAteam wall calendars among the most interesting, which combine the beauty of smiling models and classic Škoda cars.
Not only do they have a long tradition, the first calendar was created in 2006, but they also serve good causes. By purchasing it, you will be contributing to the organization of events that ŠKODAteam has been organizing especially for car lovers of the Mladá Boleslav brand for over 20 years. These are, for example, various gatherings, amateur rallies and other competitions, or perhaps drive-in cinemas.
“Our calendars quickly became very popular. Of course, we send them to the Czech Republic, but orders also come from Slovakia, Hungary, Germany or Poland. We also had customers from England, Finland, Sweden, Romania, Italy or Croatia. I probably sent a calendar to Canada the longest,” says Roman Schavel, founder of ŠKODAteam.
How did the idea of making your own wall calendar come about?
In 2006, after four years of organizing Škoda car gatherings in Běšine near Klatov, we got involved in cooperation with the “Dívka Šumavy” project. Thanks to her, the twelve finalists of this competition presented themselves at the pre-start show of our meeting. Well, since we already had the girls there, we chose our “ŠKODAteam Girl”. Of course, the participants were intrigued by this idea and voted for their lives (laughs)… We chose the winner, and when we were thinking about what we were going to do with her, we came up with the idea of photographing the Škoda calendar with her.
So we had a girl, I put a friend behind the camera, I looked for cars, places and came up with compositions. Getting cars for the first calendar was a bit of a pain, a few owners turned me down when they found out that they wouldn’t get anything for it except for a few calendars.
In the end, it all worked out and we went to take pictures. The first calendar for the year 2007 was A3+ in size, had a run of only a few hundred pieces and was on sale for 190 CZK. The original plan that we would manage to sell all the calendars at our meeting didn’t quite work out, so I had to start uncovering the secrets of internet trading. The first company also contacted us, so I even sold a few pieces wholesale.
It was our first creation, and looking back, it shows. Even accounting didn’t quite work out and it looked like it was actually a bad idea. But I’m quite stubborn, and when I make up my mind that something will work, it just has to work.
And so came attempt number two…
Exactly. A year later, we selected a new ŠKODAteam Girl and I again called the owners of interesting cars. In the summer, we drove from devil to devil to take 13 photos. The calendar for 2008 was already in A2+ format, i.e. 610 × 480 mm, which we still stick to today. Of course, the printing cost significantly more, but I didn’t want to make the calendar more expensive.
That’s why I went about it differently: I simply ordered more of them from the printer, thus reducing the cost of printing individual copies so that the final price could remain the same. But that also meant I had to sell twice as many calendars (laughs)! But I was already somewhat prepared and expected that the main sales channel would be the Internet.
Since you’ve been making calendars every year since then, it’s clear that success has finally arrived.
Our calendars quickly became very popular. Of course, we send them to the Czech Republic, but orders also come from Slovakia, Hungary, Germany or Poland. But we also had customers from, for example, England, Finland, Sweden, Romania, Italy or Croatia. Probably the furthest I’ve ever sent a calendar to Canada. Canada surprised me a lot, so I even wrote to the person for a while. His grandfather immigrated to Canada, I think from Romania, and his grandfather’s old Škoda remained in the family.
Over the years, an incredible number of calendars have been sold and almost all Škoda drivers have encountered them. For example, when I went to the other end of the country to buy an older Roomster, our calendar was hanging in the bazaar. One even appeared in an episode of Wife Swap. Thanks to this, finding cars for photography is much easier today. Suffice it to say that it’s on the ŠKODAteam calendar and it’s a good idea. And what surprised me when I called veterans of other brands this year, most of them also knew our Škoda calendars.
We have been photographing the Skoda calendar for 18 years, during which time I replaced five photographers, an incredible number of models and cars. In recent years, however, I felt sorry that we still only photograph Škoda cars, and I began to be tempted to try other vintage cars as well. This year, the time was finally ripe and we also photographed a retro calendar with other classic cars.
Which cars are you most happy to have made it into the calendar?
I can think of the original Škoda 130 RS, which won the European Brand Championship in 1981, the Škoda 180 and 200 RS, the racing 2000 MI Turbo, the 160 RS MTX or prototypes such as the Škoda 765, BAZ Furgonet, Škoda 440 Karosa or DIOSS Rebel Nova.
What about location? Which ones are most memorable for you?
The Velká Amerika quarry was certainly the most interesting place where we took photos. It’s an amazing place that no one can get to easily. And we brought Škoda cars to it. When we were there, even though it was cold, I still jumped into my swimsuit and with my teeth chattering, we swam there with the photographer. Another amazing place was the ruins of the Příčová windmill.
But for example, the new retro calendar was almost entirely photographed around Klatov, where I live. Nevertheless, taking pictures opened my eyes to how beautiful places we have here, we just don’t see them because of the hustle and bustle.
Beautiful girls play an important role in your calendars. We already know that the first of them were ŠKODAteam Girls. But later you managed to get familiar faces too, you see?
Yes. We started by photographing normal girls, but the Dívka Šumava project ended after a few years and suddenly there was no one to photograph. For two more years, we did the competition ourselves, choosing the finalists and then the winner from among them. But the problem was that the girls were not completely reliable.
That’s why we ended up leaning towards more experienced models. For example, we photographed singer Olga Lounova, actress Eva Decastelo, model Kateřina Šonkova or Miss CR 2018 Iveta Maurer. By the way, the development of the girls’ roles is also quite interesting.
In the early years, the calendar was more “shameful” year by year. The peak in this direction was the year 2009. Although I think that even then everything was still “in all fairness”, I first realized how thin the line is between a nice “sexy” photo and a vulgar photo. With the calendar for 2009, my ambitions for nudity disappeared for a long time and I am very careful that the photos are sexy, but certainly not vulgar.
Every now and then, however, I squeeze a naked model into the calendar. And so, for example, we are in the old “same” (Škoda 1202 – note red.) photographed a model lying naked in a suitcase. Or we put Christmas lights on a girl’s naked body and lit her up like a Christmas tree. I think both of these photos turned out very sexy. Probably the highlight in this direction was the naked model, which we painted with bodypainting and photographed next to the Porsche 550 Spyder replica built on Škoda technology.
From the very beginning, I also try to make sure that the photo always captures some sort of event. I like it when the pictures tell a story, when the photo is not just a car and a model. But sometimes it is very difficult to come up with something and of course it does not always succeed. It also often happens that you have a scene in mind, but it just doesn’t work live or in that setting.
And does anyone blame you for the presence of models?
But yes, sometimes someone asks why we don’t take pictures without the girls, that they are unnecessarily in the way and that he would definitely buy the calendar without them. I take it that the internet is full of car photos. I see our images not only as photos of cars, but also, thanks to the girls, as stories.
This is why we make calendars and what we enjoy about it. As long as I’m taking pictures of the calendar, the wall calendar will always be with the girls. Our calendars will have “the world still right.”
What does calendar photography actually look like?
Above all, it always requires a long preparation. First I arrange interesting cars, then I sit down with the maps and try to find attractive places around the car owners. And then I just sit behind the wheel and start driving around the locations. Of the promising locations on the map, every fifth location is usable in practice. You can’t get anywhere, something already looks different or it just doesn’t really work the way I thought it would.
So I travel around the country a lot, looking around, looking for nice places. I always drive an incredible amount of kilometers, but it is also one of the moments when I realize how beautiful our country is. When I’m searching, I just enjoy myself, stop here, stop there, check out the place, take a few photos and move on.
As I already wrote, many places cannot be used in the end, but only thanks to the calendars I had a chance to discover them live. When I have everything figured out, I start with logistics, thinking about crossings between places, agreeing with the owners on meeting times and places. And then the D-day comes and we just go.
Does the photo shoot itself tend to be more relaxed?
It’s actually quite funny how everyone envies my photography. In reality, however, there is nothing. Yes, I will spend the weekend with beautiful girls, but there is no time to enjoy it. I work as a taxi driver, dispatcher, assistant, snack bar, creative and investor supervision, all in one. We take photos from the morning hours, as soon as one car is photographed, we get into the car and drive to the next location. This is how one car goes after another until dark. And in the morning again.
In addition, it may happen that everything is against you on the D-day. For example, we took pictures of the calendar for next year in a single weekend when it rained from Friday to Sunday. But when you have arranged cars, owners, models, photographer, make-up artist, you simply have to go, it cannot be postponed. You just have to fight.
To this day, I still don’t understand how by some miracle we managed to photograph the entire calendar. We kept watching the radars and changing the schedule accordingly. We drove at least a thousand kilometers more, but the calendar is open and eleven of the thirteen photos are not in the rain.
You can purchase the new ŠKODAteam wall calendars on the website www.skodateam.cz/kalendare for CZK 259. If you are interested in any of the older editions, you can also find them in the e-shop at skodateam.cz.