100 Years of Tradition: ŠKODA Ambulances

100 Years of Tradition: ŠKODA Ambulances

With or without a blue beacon, ambulance vehicles built upon ŠKODA cars have been saving lives for more than 110 years. Discover how the state-of-the-art emergency KODIAQ follows in the wheel tracks of its predecessors.

16. 6. 2017 Models Kodiaq

ŠKODA has been developing and building ambulances since 1906. After official approval of the first Laurin & Klement Voiturette A, the offer was expanded to include a more powerful model on the type C chassis. It featured a 2.0 l/8.8 kW engine and wheelbase extended to 2,630 mm.

In 1906, this model originated as a military ambulance for transporting four stretchers with the wounded. It carried two stretchers on each of two levels. In addition, the first vehicle in the service of the Prague Volunteer Protection Corps in 1910 was also an L&K car.

Laurin & Klement C1 – the Czech automaker is a traditional producer of ambulances and medical vehicles.
The first vehicle for transporting wounded soldiers, known as type C1, was built already in 1906.


Until after World War II, ambulances were being produced by independent coachbuilders. The renowned enterprise of Oldřich Uhlík in Prague was making wooden ambulance superstructures for the City of Prague’s health department on the chassis of the ŠKODA 125 utility vehicle from 1929.

ŠKODA SUPERB 640 – these spacious ambulances were built based upon the SUPERB 640.
ŠKODA 1200 – ambulances based upon models ŠKODA 1200, 1201 and 1202 were manufactured between 1952 and 1970 in large numbers.

For the prominent sanatorium in Prague–Podolí, a six-cylinder ŠKODA 6R (2.9 l/37 kW) was modified to be a fully equipped ambulance more than five metres long. In Kadaň, a ŠKODA 645 was in service, carrying a pair of stretchers suspended on coil springs. In the mid-1930s, ambulances were mostly built on the basis of middle-level to higher-class vehicles: RAPID, FAVORIT and SUPERB, with wheelbases as long as 3,415 mm.

On the other hand, there was the more plebeian ŠKODA 995 “Liduška” (1939). Its wheelbase was just 2,200 mm and total length 3,800 mm. Post-war production of ambulance vehicles was performed after May 1946 at the Petera coach workshop in Vrchlabí on the 1101/1102 “Tudor” chassis supplied from the ŠKODA factory in Mladá Boleslav.

ŠKODA 1101 – the compact dimensions of the 1101 required body modifications for the ambulance version.
ŠKODA 1203 – the ŠKODA 1203 was used by medical professionals from 1968. Almost 10,000 such ambulances were built.


The development of the 1200/1201 successor model brought the first ŠKODA production vehicles with all-metal bodies. The wheelbase was extended to 2,685 mm. Also due to the wider wheel spacing, after 1952 a spacious ambulance 4,600 mm in length began rolling out of the Kvasiny plant. It held two stretchers one above the other or one more comfortable bed. Almost 2,000 Š 1200 vehicles had been produced up to the spring of 1956. From that time, their production returned to the Vrchlabí plant, where it continued up to 1961 on the modernized 1201 chassis and with a more powerful 33 kW engine.

At another level of evolution was the ŠKODA 1202 (1961–1973), with its rear door opening upward. To soften the suspension, the transversal leaf spring over the rear axle was supplemented with a pair of coil springs. Up until 1970, more than 12,000 Š 1202 ambulances rolled off the Vrchlabí assembly line. The prototype Š 1203 ambulance was produced here already in spring 1962. Serial production, however, was begun more than six years later. Through the following three decades, the 1203 became by far the most common ambulance in Czechoslovakia.

ŠKODA KODIAQ – with its extensive modification to meet the needs of the Emergency Medical Services,
the ŠKODA KODIAQ is fitted with state-of-the-art LED beacon and warning technology.



A new chapter was opened by front-wheel-drive ambulances based on the ŠKODA FAVORIT line, specifically the 350 mm long FORMAN PLUS. This was followed by the ŠKODA FELICIA COMBI and OCTAVIA COMBI.

Currently, ŠKODA YETI is the most-used emergency vehicle in the Czech Republic. KODIAQ is nevertheless hot on YETI’s tail. It has been completely modified for use in the rendez-vous system. With KODIAQ, ŠKODA is continuing in its rich history of ambulance production. The KODIAQ ambulance is made in the colour and with highly reflective features according to the requirements of the Czech Decree on Professional Competence for Performance of the Medical Profession. It is equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology and is designed for incorporating additional elements. The demonstration car is fitted with state-of-the-art beacons, and warning technology with highly luminous LED elements is officially approved for the very first time.

ŠKODA KODIAQ – the luggage compartment has a roll-out tray for medical equipment and a back-up electricity source.
ŠKODA KODIAQ – powerful LED signal lights are also built into the fenders, radiator grille, and boot lid.