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Skoda 1000 MB. Czechoslovakian course change in the 60s

ER Classics Desktop 2022

In 1964 the Skoda 1000 MB succeeded the Octavia. The 1000 MB was the first car from the Czech manufacturer with the rear engine and self-supporting body. The new sedan symbolized a change of course. A car was built in Mlada Boleslav which, with its technical layout, paved the way for the range that Skoda had for many years.

Today it is teeming with Skodas. From Citigo to Kodiaq, from Octavia to Karoq: the model range has been expanded under the auspices of Volkswagen. In that respect, the Skoda delivery range in 1964 was a bit clearer. The then independent Skoda provided new impetus in the program with the launch of the 1000 MB. Skoda also built the car in a completely new factory in Mlada Boleslav, including XNUMX halls and its own steel smelter.


First car with cast aluminum engine block

Strikingly, it certainly was, the Skoda 1000 MB. The car was notable for its curves, its profiled track over the roof, its large ventilation grilles on the sides and its panoramic rear window. On both sides, the ventilation could be regulated with no less than four windows. Occupants could do that with two large and two small ventilation windows. With the arrival of the Skoda 1000 MB, the manufacturer from Mlada Boleslav launched a first. Skoda was the first car manufacturer to use a cast aluminum engine block. The housing of the gearbox with four gears also knew that production method. One of the advantages of this was that the production time was shortened. The engines were not without problems, by the way. Cooling problems and cracks in the material were common, and it took Skoda a long time to resolve those issues.

Multiple engine variants, equipment dependent

The Skoda 1000 MB debuted with a liquid-cooled power source that delivered 27 kW (35 DIN-HP) and had a capacity of 988 cc. The top speed was 120 km / h. Later Skoda also delivered an engine with an output of 37 DIN-HP, which was available in the “de Luxe” trim level. In the 1000 MBG De Luxe and the MBX (coupé) of 1966, the power source itself delivered 45 DIN-HP, partly due to the use of two Jikov carburettors. In addition, the enlarged 1967 cc engine was still available before 1.107, for the 1100 MB and the 1100 MBX.

Space gain and tail troubles

Because the engine was in all cases tilted 30 degrees behind the rear axle, the Skodas were sensitive to tail difficulty. Because Skoda mounted swing axles at the rear, that effect was reinforced. The relatively low weight of the car also contributed to this. The wheels were independently suspended at the front. The Skoda 1000 MB had coil springs all around. On the other hand, Skoda mounted the spare wheel and fuel tank in the front, which improved the weight distribution somewhat. Skoda devised a separate space for the spare wheel, so that the luggage could remain in place during a tire change. And speaking of space: due to the placement of the engine behind the rear axle, the interior space was quite acceptable.

Simply clever in the sixties

Skoda cleverly worked on the inside. The Skoda 1000 MB had an interior with a padded dashboard. The low-lying steering wheel hub was designed to meet the requirements of passive safety at the time. You could go a number of ways with the furniture. The equipment included multi-adjustable seats. The front backrests could be folded down and the front seating area lowered. In combination with the height-adjustable rear seat, travelers could create a sleeping place. It was also possible to expand the small trunk behind the rear seat. The backrest was foldable and the rear seat was divided to allow for a separate seat. In the sixties Skoda therefore used a contemporary version of the famous slogan Simply Clever.

Positive press

Today we can't imagine it anymore, but the 1000MB was considered quite modern in its time. The construction was described by the press as strong and robust. In addition, the gear shift of the car was praised, despite the fact that the synchronized four-speed gearbox was far from the engine. The term passive safety has already been mentioned. However, the design of the braking system was conventional: not separated and drum brakes all round.

Competition and built nearly half a million times

The Skoda 1000 MB was a sympathetic, interesting and smart alternative within the lower (Dutch) price ranges. Within the category of 4000-5000 guilders, it was in the sixties a great opponent for cars such as the VW 1200, the Renault 4, the Simca 1000 and the Fiat 850. The more luxurious 1000 MB versions (between 5000-6000 guilders) competed in The Netherlands with cars such as the Vauxhall Viva, the Renault 8, the NSU (Prinz) 1000, the Citroën Ami 6 and the VW 1500 (Typ 1). The Skoda 1000 MB and 1100 MB were built a total of 443.156 times. The 1000 MB variants accounted for the lion's share: almost 420.000 units. More than half of the built MB copies left Czechoslovakia at the time. In 1969 the MB series was succeeded by the Skoda 100 and the Skoda 110. Today the MBX versions are mainly sought after classics.

4 Comments

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  1. I was once told by a Czech colleague that the literal translation of Skoda would mean 'too bad'. Looking up means that it would mean 'damage'.
    Well, despite all the fame, the Skodas used to have the name not to be good quality. It was often joked that SKODA would stand for 'Sucker Buy Also The Other' or 'In the evening Knutselen Onder De Auto'. Although there must have been something, but they drove pretty smoothly on our roads. And for me a beautiful memory. Have ever wanted to buy one. I liked it that much. Too bad it never got that far. Because they were solid. I continue to have a warm heart for them. That had to be said once 🙂

  2. After the introduction, experiments with the Wankel engine started immediately. In fact, the Skoda 1000MB was the first car to actually incorporate Wankel engines, even before the NSU Wankel Spider. However, Skoda never took the step to series production, NSU has, Skoda still exists, BSU no longer.

  3. Jikov carburettors, not Jekov. And besides the 1000MB and 1000MBX there was also an 1100MB and an 1100MBX.

    And the 1000MB was not a change of course in Mlada Boleslav, Mlada Boleslav was the change of course. Up to 1000MB, all Skodas came from pre-war factories in Prague, Ceske Budejovice and Kvasini, where cars were still more or less assembled by hand. Especially for the new 1000MB, one of the most modern car factories in Europe was built in Mlada Boleslav, for which the letters MB also stand.

    And that caused problems. Building a completely new factory with the latest technology of the time was already quite a task for Western manufacturers, but the then CSSR was forced to be very economical with currency and had to make a lot, very much in-house, from welding robots to painting lines, from machine tools to test equipment. They could do that in Czechoslovakia, they are good engineers, but it took a long time. The 1000MB was planned for 1961, it was 1964. But the car was indeed well received. The aluminum die-cast engine block with reinforcing ribs was state-of-the-art, but the Czechs had been unable to get the aluminum cylinder head reliable enough for mass production. Therefore, there was a cast iron head on the engine, which was a pity, of course.

    The 1000MB started with the introduction of the Renault Dauphine at the Paris Salon
    in 1955. The management of Motokov (the Czechoslovak car exporter) saw a car that Skoda could build, but better. With stronger engines, with more interior space and more robustness. In fact, the 1000MB succeeded, but the car came at a time when the concept with the engine in the back was almost disappearing.

    Nevertheless, the 1000MB was the basis of all Skodas until 1987, when the Favorit appeared. It was now a very outdated car, of course, but the S130R, 180RS and 2000RS were a success in motorsport.

    So not so bad, those old Skodas.

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