Slowly but surely
Centrally controlled economies are inflexible and slow, so the vehicle’s development ultimately took twelve years. Despite all the difficulties, Škoda successfully completed their project with the original codename Š 979. In the spring of 1956, when the developers in Vrchlabí had set to work, the self-supporting, single-space body had been a progressive concept even by world standards. The body design dispensed with the traditional chassis frame and separate engine compartment impairing the use of the interior space. And the result was a remarkably spacious and lightweight vehicle. In the utility car category, the Škoda 1203’s independent all-wheel suspension that improved driving comfort on the often poor roads of the time is still not that commonplace.
One possible use was as a van for a band.
The constructors designed timelessly elegant bionic shapes, a rounded body and abundant glazing. The first prototype hit the road in September 1956. But Škoda lacked the investment funds to introduce the new technology of self-supporting bodies, so Škoda offered customers a new Š 1202 model using the more traditional design for the time being, while continuing to refine the shape of the future Š 1203.
Interior of the Škoda 1203
As part of the unification process, a number of proven components from the aforementioned 1202 model were applied in the upcoming car, including the 1,221 cc, 49 hp (39 kW), four-cylinder OHV petrol engine. The vehicle had the same dashboard and tail lamps as the new Škoda 1000 MB passenger car.
Its predecessor – the Škoda 1202