Grand de Luxe Super

Grand de Luxe Super

ŠKODA WORLD

The green ŠKODA 120 GLS turns heads at vintage car meets in Czechia and abroad, where it has been representing the ŠKODA brand since its restoration last year. Check it out!

17. 8. 2022

In its time, the ŠKODA 120 GLS was considered the flagship of the Mladá Boleslav car brand. This green one, which rolled out of the Vrchlabí production plant in April 1978, was bought back from its first owner in June 2012 and subsequently underwent extensive renovation at the ŠKODA Museum.

The designation ŠKODA 120 GLS encapsulates the luxury equipment of the popular “120”: Grand de Luxe Super. Let’s take a look at the hierarchy of the time: above the standard version of the ŠKODA 120 was the 120 L (de Luxe), then the 120 LE (de Luxe Économique) with a more economical gearing for motorway traffic, the 120 LS (de Luxe Super) with four headlights instead of the usual two, and finally the 120 GLS, the Grand de Luxe Super. 

The history of the 120 GLS began at the end of 1976, when a 40-unit test series of the “GLS” sedan was built in Vrchlabí to differentiate and enhance the appearance of the four-light front grille, in this case with an array of stainless steel elements. It consisted of a shiny frame whose radiator grille differed from the standard models and moulded panels under the four main headlamps. The frames of the rear end, bonnet, side window frames and other smaller body adornments were also made of stainless steel. From the 1981 model year on, the stainless steel features were downscaled in the context of modernisation, so GLS cars from the early years of production remain attractive rarities.

ŠKODA 120 GLS 

Comfort and safety features included more solid door panel fillers, panelled steering wheel spokes and adjustable headrests, which were far from commonplace at the time. The rear window heating also came in handy in winter. The 1,174 cc four-cylinder engine mounted behind the rear axle gave delivered 58 hp (42.7 kW) of power, aided, among other things, by an increase in the compression ratio. In top gear – fourth gear – it could hit a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph). People who could afford the Grand de Luxe Super had few qualms about the engine’s need for higher quality fuel, such as the Super petrol with an octane rating of 96 that was available in Czechoslovakia in the late 1970s.

Interior of the ŠKODA 120 GLS

Popular rear-wheel drive models

Series production began in August 1978, with over 70 per cent of all GLS models earmarked for export. However, the manufacture of the more luxurious “120s” in Vrchlabí was complicated by the delayed transfer of production of the ŠKODA 1203 utility model to Trnava in Slovakia. The last “1203” did not leave the Vrchlabí plant until 31 December 1981, by which time both model series were rolling off the line simultaneously. This was made possible by an original conveyor solution: the passenger cars and light utility vehicles could be built in any order, depending on the current requirements.

ŠKODA 120 GLS 

The luxurious ŠKODA 120 GLS was one of a series of successors to the then popular “MB”, the ŠKODA 1000 MB, which came with rear-wheel drive and a rear engine. Continuing with this concept, the ŠKODA 100 series began in 1969 with the more powerful “110”. These cars passed the baton to the ŠKODA 105, 120, and later the 130 and other derivatives in 1976. Of the more than one million units of this model series, which dominated production until 1989, only a fraction were luxury models.

ŠKODA 120 GLS 

ŠKODA at the Sachsen Classic 2022

From 18 to 20 August, car buffs can admire a total of seven ŠKODA cars the Sachsen Classic 2022. In addition to the ŠKODA FELICIA (1960) and ŠKODA 130 RS (1976) from German owners and the aforementioned ŠKODA 120 GLS, these are four more vintage cars from the collections of the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav: 

ŠKODA RAPID OHV “Motorway” version (1940)

RAPID means fast. This apt designation for ŠKODA’s favourite model first appeared in 1934, then again in the 1980s and now also in the 21st century. The Sachsen Classic featured a streamlined special from a series that only ran to around a hundred units (1939-1941), nicknamed the “Motorway” version for its intended use on the motorways then being built. The 42 hp (31 kW) 1,600 cc engine was powerful enough to reach 120 km/h (75 mph), a high speed in those days. The ŠKODA Museum’s exhibit drove around Prague from April 1940, arriving back in the Czech carmaker’s collections nine years ago and undergoing a meticulous restoration between 2018 and 2021. 

ŠKODA 1101 “Tudor” Roadster (1948)

After the Second World War, ŠKODA entered a new phase with the Š 1101/1102 model series. To this day, it is still known as “Tudor”, a pun referring to its characteristic two-door enclosed body. The sporty roadster boasts the most elegant lines. This car, endowed with a lot of equipment by the standards of the time, with a chassis from Mladá Boleslav and bodywork from the specialised plant in Vrchlabí, was completed on 2 October 1948 on an order from the prime minister’s office. It was later bought by a private owner, with ŠKODA acquiring the handsome roadster in 1969. To this day, it remains one of the reliable participants at veteran events.

ŠKODA 1100 MBX DeLuxe (1969)

The “MB”, the ŠKODA 1000/1100 MB saloon, was a revolution in 1964. The modern, lightweight, self-supporting body with tasteful lines housed an economical engine in the rear, manufactured according to an original Czech patent using a unique aluminium die-casting technology. Between 1967 and 1969, two-door versions of the MBX extended the range of four-door cars, offering unobstructed views of the countryside when the side windows were down. The more powerful 51-hp (38.2 kW) 1,100 cc engine reached a speed of 127 km/h (79 mph) thanks to its weight of only around 800 kg. The car has been part of the ŠKODA Museum’s fleet since 1999.

ŠKODA 110 R Coupé (1971)

In 1970, the equally popular two-door “R”, the 110 R coupé with its gracefully flowing roofline, took over the sports model baton from the topless FELICIA icons. One of the last production units of the first model year, celebrating its 51st birthday in August, graced the Sachsen meet. It came to the museum four years ago, and its restoration has returned the sportster from Kvasiny to top form: it “breathes” through a two-stage Jikov carburettor and can hit a top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph).

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