Original cars from history. Discover unique Škodas

Original cars from history. Discover unique Škodas

Over a century and a quarter of the Škoda and Laurin & Klement brands have brought a good many interesting vehicles. Some became legends, but even the ones that didn’t are worth our attention. Come and meet some of them.

23. 1. 2024 Classic cars

1900: “Quadricycle” – a Prague sensation  

The first prototype car was built in Mladá Boleslav out of components of Laurin & Klement motorcycles and tricycles with single-cylinder petrol engines. This four-wheeler “quadricycle” was unveiled on 1 July 1900. It had handlebars in place of a steering wheel, and under the motorcycle-type saddle we can see a cylindrical petrol tank. The passenger seat, connected to a wide footrest, was slightly lower. As a result the driver, Bedřich Merfait, a well-known Prague cyclist, had a good view ahead over the passenger’s straw hat.  

1904: L&K CCCC four-cylinder motorcycle

One of the world’s first four-cylinder motorcycles, the CCCC, launched in March 1904, was a true sensation of its time. The 735 cc displacement was provided by four standard, transverse single-cylinder engines with separate crankshafts and interconnected gears. Although the CCCC model later saw a more advanced successor with a single crankshaft, it was more of a prestige item. Series production went in a different direction.

1912: Excelsior motor ploughs

The L&K Excelsior motor ploughs first went into the fields in 1912. The first model was the eighty-horsepower Excelsior P4, which had four cylinders with an impressive 160 mm bore. This behemoth with six ploughs two metres wide managed to break up the dense soil in the test field at Kosmonosy to a depth of 42 cm. The First World War (1914-1918), in which millions of horses fell victim in addition to soldiers and civilians, played into the hands of the motor plough. These giants were later replaced by lighter multi-purpose tractors. 

1963: Škoda type 990 “Hajaja”

The production Š 1000/1100 MB sedan was preceded by a series of prototypes. These included the Type 990 estate car from 1963. How did the nickname “Hajaja” come about? Its one-litre four-cylinder engine was placed almost horizontally under the boot floor, as if it were lying flat. Hajaja was the hero of popular Czech radio bedtime stories that helped children go to sleep, so the name was an obvious choice. The technical solution was ingenious, but the engine cooling problems could not be solved. And so it remained a prototype, which today “sleeps” in the collections of the Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav.

1996: Škoda Felicia Fun

The derivative of the popular Škoda Felicia model was visible from a distance with its sunny yellow body paint. Launched in 1996, the Felicia Fun also had a head-turning “party trick”: a hinged and sliding rear wall at the base of the two-seater cab, allowing the modified pick-up to be extended by two additional seats. The roughly 4,000 Fun models are now a sought-after collector’s item.