In the beginning of December 1895, the mechanic Václav Laurin and the bookseller Václav Klement, both bicycle enthusiasts, started manufacturing bicycles of their own design, patriotically named Slavia in the nationalist atmosphere at the end of the 19th century. A few years later, in 1899, the Laurin and Klement Co. began producing motorcycles, which were soon successful and gained several racing victories. After initial experiments at the turn of the century, the production of motorcycles was gradually replaced by automobiles from 1905 onwards.
Like the motorcycles, the first Laurin and Klement automobile, the Voiturette A, was a huge success, later becoming the archetype of the Czech automobile maker. It soon formed a stable position for the company in the developing international automobile market, so that the Company could start operating on a wide scale. The volume of the production increased and soon exceeded the potential of a private enterprise, and in 1907 the founders of the company initiated conversion to a joint-stock company. The international character of ŠKODA's operations became increasingly important. The production facilities were extended constantly and after 1914, ŠKODA took part in the production for the armed forces.
Due to the country's economic development, a joint venture with a strong industrial partner became essential in the 1920s in order to strengthen and modernise the Company, which was at that time producing numerous types of passenger cars, trucks, buses, airplane engines and agricultural machinery. In 1925, fusion with the Pilsen ŠKODA Co. was accomplished, marking the end of the Laurin and Klement trademark. In early 1930s, the automotive business was again organised as a separate joint-stock company within the ŠKODA Group (Automobile Industry Co., ASAP). After the crisis, the company achieved a breakthrough with the Type ŠKODA Popular.
Our founding fathers, Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement, built this bicycle, which was state-of-the-art at the time. Its parts were initially sourced from foreign suppliers but increasing demand led to even more inventive solutions, which soon necessitated full production, under the patriotically named, 'Slavia'.
This twin-cylinder motorcycle soon became the most widely used of its type. During production, its engine capacity was increased from 544 cc to 615 cc, with a total of 675 units produced. One of its momentous accomplishments was victory at the Dourdan race in 1905.
Buoyed by its successful motorbikes, the fledgling company shifted gears to build its first car. And just like its two-wheeled cousins, the Voiturette A was a dashing success at home and abroad, instantly becoming an automobile classic.
One of the most successful L&K models ever, the L&K Type S dates back to 1911. More than 2,000 units from this series were produced in various versions – a testament to the widespread appreciation of the model’s reliability.
Like many cars of its time, the L&K Type MF was originally dispatched from the factory as a limousine, before being altered and put into excellent use as a fire engine, at the request of another firm. It was brought into service in 1919.
Blessed with an impressive shape and attractive body, about 600 units of this car were produced. It was fitted with a water-cooled 4-cylinder 30 hp engine that helped it reach speeds of 90km/h.
In 1925, L & K merged with the engineering company, ŠKODA, from Pilsen in western Bohemia. To commemorate the occasion, the popular four-cylinder Type 110 had both companies’ logos displayed on its radiator. Seating 4-6 passengers, it clocked a top-speed of 80km/h.
A supremely luxurious car with an 8-cylinder engine, this model was one of the largest and most expensive personal vehicles in its time. Bought primarily by the nobility and entrepreneurs, only 49 pieces ever left the factory floor.
Dependable, popular and a thorough globetrotter - the Rapid was as intrepid as the people driving it. Travellers and explorers would take off in their Rapids to navigate the globe, even the arctic circle. These ‘tour de adventures’ were the perfect advertisement for ŠKODA cars.
No more rickety rides! The Popular sported a new chassis and independent suspension – seriously advanced solutions for those days. Success at the Monte Carlo Rally inspired the company to make a commercial version using the same design as the race car.
Designed for the most demanding automobile fan, its main target were factory owners and politicians. The car was produced between 1938 and 1949 - 113 units were made before WWII and another 62, after the war. The latter were known as the ŠKODA Superb OHV.
Built at the Mlada Boleslav factory (Czech Republic), this particular model was developed primarily for export. Among its chief features was the top speed of 100km/h.
The military and police variant of the popular 1100 line, this rugged model was produced with a folding canvas roof, also called a ‘canopy top’.
This racing car with a cigar-shaped body was the fastest Czechoslovakian automobile of its day, hitting speeds of up to 197.7 km/h. Dating back to 1950, one look still sets pulses racing.
This all-metal light utility vehicle, produced between 1955-1961, served many roles - as a van, ambulance and even a hearse. A total of 33,472 cars of all variants were produced with the car hitting top speeds of 90 km/h.
This two-door prototype was launched in 1956 as a potential successor to the ŠKODA 440. Its self supporting all-steel body with a front-wheel drive and four-cylinder engine could carry a total payload of 360 kg. Despite those impressive statistics, it never entered production.
Letting the wind comb their hair like their biking predecessors, two of these coupés were built in the run-up to 1960. Disappointingly though, for economic and political reasons, they didn’t participate in any of the classic European races.
Conceived as a two-door convertible, the Felicia is often hailed as the most beautiful ŠKODA ever. Despite being a convertible, fitted with a folding fabric hood and a plastic hardtop, it was still able to seat five. The 1.1-litre engine was mounted in front.
Introduced as an estate/Combi in 1961, the “multi-purpose car” combined the comfort and spaciousness of a limousine with the practicality of a “utility vehicle”. More than 54,000 cars left the assembly line in the Kvasiny plant – with many being exported, too.
Reaching speeds of 220 km/h, this one-litre single-seater racing car appeared as a single prototype and three series vehicles. Built using a steel pipe frame, it was ŠKODA’s entrant to the Formula 3 Motorsport division where Vaclav Bobek Sr famously clinched the second spot in the Czechoslovakian Championship, 1968.
This car was a significant step forward in the automotive industry, bringing a whole new concept of a frameless body with the engine situated behind the rear axle. 349,348 units were produced between 1964 and 1969.
Though the white prototype of this sports car received a rousing public reception in 1972, it never entered production. Ten years on, film director Juraj Herz used the black version of this car in a starring role for his movie ‘Vampires from Ferat’ where the car featured as a vehicle powered by blood.
Retrofitted with a prototype engine, this racing variant of the ŠKODA 1000 MB tore through the B5 circuit where driver Jaroslav Bobek won both the 1970 hill climb and 1971 circuit championships overall.
Hitting speeds of 220 km/h, only one unit of this aerodynamic racing car was ever produced. Weighing just 630 kg, it was equipped with a five-speed manual transmission and 1500-1800 ccm engine producing 154 hp, making it one of the most efficient vehicles in the early ‘70s.
Based on the ŠKODA 110 R, this prototype had a lower roof and wider finders, as well as featuring a trailing rear axle. But the headline feature was a five-speed gearbox from Porsche, coupled with a 1800-2000 ccm, four-cylinder engine, that propelled it to speeds of up to 210 km/h. Pity, as only three of these prototypes ever saw the light of day.
This breakaway specialist was one of the most successful rally and circuit cars of its time, with numerous victories under its belt, including a “double” at Monte-Carlo ‘77. With a 135 HP, 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder engine, the 130 RS could kick into a top speed of 220 km/h.
A revolutionary model for the company, the Favorit overhauled the powertrain concept and, for the first time, featured a ŠKODA with a front-wheel drive. Bertone, the Italian automobile company, was engaged to sculpt its modern look.
The ŠKODA Felicia’s successor soon became one of the most successful superminis, earning the What Car? Car of the Year 2000 accolade. In 2003 the Fabia RS diesel hot hatch version was tailored for drivers looking for a bit more excitement. A more laid-back estate version was also available.
Built for the 1999 rally season, this tuned-up rally version of the regular Octavia started with the crews, Sibera and Gross, Triner and Wand, plus Thiry and Prevot. In 2000, it shifted gears with the crew Climent - Roman, joined Kresta - Tomanek for the 2001 season, before reaching its final abode - the ŠKODA Museum.
A stylish compact SUV, robustly designed, and boasting a four-wheel-drive system to make it equally at home on paved roads and dirt tracks. The wide range of engines, transmissions and optional equipment is a real crowd-puller. The Monte Carlo Yeti radiates extra style.
The first three-door and five-door supermini offers a spacious, clever interior making maximum use of the very compact layout. The Citigo G-TEC is a fuel economy expert, while the sporty Monte Carlo satisfies drivers looking for a small car with big ambitions.
Based on the Fabia road car, the Fabia S2000 is an ultra-successful rally racer, winning multiple national and international titles, notably the IRC titles - from the Azores to Cyprus. Delivering the speed goods is a 203/276 kW/hp, 2.0-litre engine matched to a six-speed gearbox that could produce speeds of 180 km/h. No wonder it’s the poster child for contemporary Czech Motorsport.
The new compact hatchback was the first model to speak the new design language of clarity, precision and elegance. The hatchback Rapid, known as the Spaceback, has a fresh design that draws a peloton of young admirers.
Heralding ŠKODA’s new design language, the Octavia Combi is packed with an impressive array of the latest safety, comfort and multimedia systems. The boot offers class-leading roominess of 610 litres that’s stretched to a whopping 1,740 litres when the rear seats are folded.
The brand’s flagship vehicle leads us into a new era, featuring a new dynamic design language with sharp lines and crystalline shapes. Beyond the look there's functionality: with a large luggage compartment, a premium range of safety and infotainment systems, an array of powerful engines - there is no doubt that the Superb has clearly earned the right to its name.
A stylish makeover to the regular Fabia, the Monte Carlo edition is a sporty looking variant, highlighted by black exterior elements like the large panoramic sunroof, grille, alloy wheels and wing mirrors.
At ŠKODA, we have a long history continuous innovation. Take a look at what we achieved for the past 125 years.