Andrea Frydlová, Head of the ŠKODA Museum says: “The sporty Laurin & Klement BSC from 1908 is the only surviving example of twelve produced in total. We are delighted to have this unique vehicle as one of our most valuable exhibits following an extensive, two-year restoration.”
The Laurin & Klement BSC appears in numerous films
The only surviving Laurin & Klement BSC, which can now be seen in the ŠKODA Museum, was completed on 12 July 1908. The engine number 5635 confirms the authenticity of the vehicle. The rarity changed hands often and underwent many modifications. For example, the L&K BSC was converted into a racing car for the film ‘Dědeček automobil’ (Grandpa Car) by Alfréd Radok, which was released in Czechoslovak cinemas on 27 March 1957. Later, the shape of the BSC’s bonnet and fender, as well as many details were changed – also for other film appearances. However, all the essential mechanical parts have been preserved, and the vehicle, which has always been roadworthy throughout the years, is one of the fixed stars of the Czechoslovak vintage car scene.
In 2016, the unique Laurin & Klement BSC found its way into the inventory of the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav where experts first analysed the condition of the vehicle in detail and then researched its history in the archives. Later, they began the complex process of restoring the BSC as close as possible to its condition in 1908. The BSC is now one of the most valuable exhibits of the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav.
The history of the BS model family
After launching bicycle production in late 1895, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement’s company extended their range in 1899 to include motorcycles. Just a few years later, starting in late 1905, the entrepreneurs presented the production version of their first automobile – the Laurin & Klement Voiturette A. Over the next two years, the young carmakers continued to develop their model range and implement several profound structural changes. The rapidly increasing demand for the modern vehicles from Mladá Boleslav with their favourable price/performance ratio led to a rapid increase in production figures – from a few dozen automobiles in 1906 to nearly 500 in 1908.
The BS model series established an important position in those years. In contrast to the Voiturette type A, B and B2 with two-cylinder V-engines built first, the later BS series had a two-cylinder with 1399 cc displacement and 10 hp (7.4 kW) performance. Because the ambitious company was consistently aligned to the needs of its customers, Laurin & Klement models in the BS family had features designed specifically for different customer groups such as doctors and business people. The model range included at least six different wheelbases from 1,905 to 2,380 millimetres and five gauges from 1,120 to 1,300 millimetres. The manufacturer offered numerous body styles on these bases, ranging from ‘Personen-Voiturettes’ – the French term for small cars – to taxis and light commercial vehicles. Between 1908 and 1909, 66 L&K vehicles of the BS series were built.
The most valuable versions include twelve vehicles in the sporty BSC variant. Their engine power was increased from the standard 10 hp (7.4 kW) to 12 hp (8.8 kW). The first BSC rolled out of the Laurin & Klement factory buildings on 10 June 1908; the last on 20 October 1908. The sporty type BSC was available both as a roadworthy chassis and as a complete vehicle with body. The chassis, for which customers could have individual custom bodies made, cost 5,000 K – the abbreviation for Austro-Hungarian krone. A complete vehicle with an open two-seater standard body was available from L&K for 5,500K.