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Skoda

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Skoda

Started out in 1895 as Laurin and Klement, then manufacturing bicycles. In 1899 they began the manufacture of motorcycles, following in 1905 with the manufacture of the Voiturette automobile. After World War 1 the company concentrated on the manufacture of trucks, but fell on hard times in 1924 following a large fire that all but destroyed their manufacturing facility. Was able to avoid bankruptcy by partnering with Škoda Works, the biggest industrial enterprise in Austria-Hungary and then Czechoslovakia, then building Hispano-Suiza designs under licence at Plzen, Czechoslovakia.

Manufacturing under the Škoda name, the company weathered the depression and emerged with the aptly named “Popular”, which was indeed very popular. During World War 2 the company was turned into part of Hermann Göring Werke, serving the German war effort. Found itself on the wrong side of the iron curtain following the war, and despite being starved of technical innovation from Western marques, continued to manufacture solid and reliable cars, such as the Skoda 440 Spartak, 445 Octavia, Felicia and 1000 MB. In the late 1980s Škoda (or Automobilové Závody, Národní Podnik, Mladá Boleslav to be precise) was still manufacturing cars conceptually from the 1960s.

Rear-engined models such as the Škoda 105/120, Estelle and Rapid sold steadily in many countries and even managed to put in solid performances against more modern marques in races such as the RAC Rallies of the 1970's and 80's. The turning point came in 1987 with the Favorit model; designed by Bertone and, with some modern engine technology obtained under license from west European manufacturers, the Škoda engineers succeeded in designing a car every bit the match of its Western contemporaries.

Extremely popular in Czechoslovakia and other East European countries, the Favorit also sold fairly well in Western Europe, particularly in the UK where they were regarded as good value, solid and reliable. During the 1990’s the Czechoslovakian government brought in foreign partner Volkswagen, the cars quickly catching up with competition in terms of quality, innovation and design.

Also see: The Skoda Story - A Pictorial History from Laurin and Klement to Skoda
Skoda Popular  

Skoda Popular

1934 - 1946
There were many iterations of the popular "Popular", Škoda's very successful car of the decade for Europe in the 1930's. Initially released as the 906, there was a quick succession of models including the 907, 908, and 917 up to 1938. The first example was fitted with a rather insipid 1 litre engine, which would increase in very small increments during the life of the vehicle. More>>
Skoda 440

Skoda 440

1970 - 1980
Before the advent of the Estelle, the 11OR coupe, a two-door sports version of the popular 110 four-door saloon, was the top of the Skoda range. The coupe used an 1107 cc four-cylinder engine that produced 52 bhp at 4650 rpm and 64lb ft at 3500 rpm. It succeeded the sporty Skoda 1000 MBX/1100 MBX. More>>
Skoda 110R Coupe

Skoda 110R Coupe

1970 - 1980
Before the advent of the Estelle, the 11OR coupe, a two-door sports version of the popular 110 four-door saloon, was the top of the Skoda range. The coupe used an 1107 cc four-cylinder engine that produced 52 bhp at 4650 rpm and 64lb ft at 3500 rpm. It succeeded the sporty Skoda 1000 MBX/1100 MBX. More>>
Skoda 120L

Skoda 120L

1976 - 1990
Since the 1950's Škoda had been making small but tangible inroads into the Australian marketplace, at first with the conventionally and very ungainly (and unattractive) Octavia and Felicia models. But thankfully the 120L was an entirely different proposition, it being based on the old Renault R8/10 range - meaning that, if but nothing else, the Škoda would now be more reliable than its forebears. More>>
Skoda Flavorit

Skoda Flavorit

1986 - 1995
This Favorit was the replacement for the ageing rear-engined, rear-wheel drive Ĺ koda 105/120 Estelle, and was a considerable move towards the modern mainstream in design terms thanks to its Bertone-designed hatchback body and front-wheel drive. Its Western debut was made at the Ulster Motor Show where the company showed off the front-engined, front drive, 1.3-litre five door hatchback. More>>
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