Saturday, October 23, 2010

Classic Cars of Socialism # 1 - The Škoda MBX 1000, Czechoslovakia

Škoda is now the largest car manufacturer in the Czech Republic, but during the socialist era they produced the people's car of Czechoslovakia. The word 'Škoda' literally means 'pity', which appears to be a highly poor choice by the marketing department until you consider that the company founder was one Emil Škoda. Based in the city of Mlada Boleslav, Škoda auto began producing cars in the early 1900's and by the time of the Second World War it was a major international player with a strong reputation. The socialist years forced the company to focus more on production quotas than innovative new designs, but the company still produced many vehicles that were well-regarded throughout Europe. The model shown in the picture here is a Škoda MBX 1000, produced in 1966 (The MBX stands for Mlada Boleslav Deluxe). This was one of the most successful models of the communist era, and many can still be seen on the road today. It had a rear-engine and rear-wheel drive design, which was still quite common among other European manufacturers of the time. It featured a 988cc four-cylinder engine, and had 44 bhp. Its top speed was 120km/h (75mph). These models were produced for domestic consumption as well as for export abroad, and many were sold in Britain.

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