You probably already know that ŠKODA cars come packed with plenty of clever features to make every drive a pleasure. But did you know that ŠKODA started off manufacturing bicycles or that the most expensive ŠKODA model every produced wasn’t really a car? Read on to find out more!
ŠKODA’s humble beginnings started off with a bike.
In December 1895, mechanic Václav Laurin had a bike that needed repair so he visited a bike shop in Czechoslovakia. However, the shop refused to fix his bike and he was put off by the bad service. It was then that Laurin and his friend Václav Klement, a bookseller, decided to learn how to make bikes that they would sell and provide better service to customers. This marked the beginning of Slavia. In 1899, they took the next step and added motors, eventually creating over 4,000 different types of motorbikes. It was only in 1905 that they decided to replace motorbikes with cars – the first of which was the L&K Voiturette A. In 1925, they merged with Pizen Skodovka Co to become ŠKODA.
Though there were many variations of the ŠKODA logo before its current design, the iconic legendary winged arrow was thought to be the brainchild of Tomáš Maglič. It is said that a picture portraying a Native American was placed in the ŠKODA Plzeň management office from around 1918–1919 was likely his inspiration for the logo.
Two variations of the trademark were registered with the Office of Trademark and Design in Plzeň on December 15th, 1923. The first one, used in 1924 and 1925, was a winged arrow with a five-feathered stylized wing in a circle with the word ‘ŠKODA’. The second variant showed a three-feathered winged arrow in a circle, with the arrow in both variants pointing to the right. The second variation is still used today.
Though it is not known for certain who the designer of the logo was, it has been rumoured to be the work of first class Czech sculptors Otto Gutfreund or Otakar Spaniel, or even the outcome of a competition called for by Dr. Ing. Sýkora, the technical director of the ŠKODA headquarters in Prague.
To find out more about the ŠKODA logo, click here!
(Image credits: Heritage.Skoda)
Following their success of their Voiturette A, Laurin and Klement managed to establish a stable position in the international market. When war began in 1914, they started manufacturing for the armed forces due to the unstable economic conditions in Czechoslovakia at the time. As such, they not only produced cars, but also trucks, buses, aeroplane engines, and even agricultural machinery like motorised ploughs.
(Image credits: Harold @ Wikipedia)
Did you know that for 17 years in a row, ŠKODA won their class in the RAC Rally with the 130LR Estelle, powered by a 131 PS, 1289cc engine? The RAC Rally, or the Roger Albert Clark Rally, is the United Kingdom’s most demanding rally for classic rally cars – involving a string of timed special stages through the forests of Northern Wales. In the late 1970’s, their 110R and 130R models were popular choices for racing cars. To this day, the 130LR Estelle remains a popular choice of racers around the world, with a huge fan base in Eastern Europe especially!
(Image credits: Pinterest)
Over the years, ŠKODA has manufactured many great cars packed with a host of nifty features, but did you know that the most expensive ŠKODA model ever built… was a cake? Surpassing the costs of manufacturing a ŠKODA Superb, the ŠKODA Fabia cake was seen on an advertisement which debuted in 2007. The cake which resembled the hatchback cost a whopping £500,000 to put together and resulted in one of the most successful ŠKODA advertisements of all time. It earned it numerous awards including honours from the British Television Advertising Awards and Creative Circle Awards!
(Image credits: Get Media)