Škoda’s 1000 MB And MBX Have Become More Desirable Than Ever

Škoda 1000 MB & MBX

Škoda’s legendary 1000 MB and MBX were unveiled back in the swinging 60s but the previously ‘laughable’ Czechoslovakian classics have become more desirable than ever…

Škoda 1000 MB

Škoda’s quirky 1000 MB marked a radical turning point in the history of the Czech automobile manufacturer, switching to a rear-engined layout and drawing inspiration from its half brother, the tenacious looking Renault 8 and was powered by a heady 988cc OHV engine coupled with a revolutionary aluminium cylinder block.

The forward-thinking Czech marque built a new manufacturing plant that included an impressive 40 production units in the immediate vicinity of the existing factory buildings in Mladá Boleslav for the construction of its 1000 MB at the beginning of the 1960s. The company even constructed an intricate road network to negotiate around the 80-hectare site, then proceeded to add a further ten-kilometres of railway track, which led to a marshalling yard and finally an eleven-kilometre long overhead conveyor system to assist in the construction of the 1000 MB.

Škoda 1000 MB

It might not have been the ‘hot wheels’ to impress your latest girlfriend with at the time but Škoda’s compact classic benefitted from a whole host of tasty tech including a self-supporting body, all-round independent suspension, four-speed manual transmission and special die-casting process for the engine’s crankcase, which was unique in Europe. It was based on a patent registered by a clever Czech engineer who went by the name of Josef Polák back in 1922.

Skoda 1000 MB

In addition to all that modern technology, the design of the 1000 MB was pleasing to the eye with its sweeping lines, subtle curves and headlights recessed into the wings. Drop-shaped rear lights, wonderful interior and hinged winged arrow emblem that revealed the fuel filling neck on the right-hand side are all testaments to the detail paid by a then visionary brand.

On the downside, the water-cooled OHV in-line four-cylinder engine, strategically positioned at the back of the car, tended to flood the cabin with a pungent smell of cheap fuel on those tedious long journeys in warmer weather. That said, it was capable of reaching a respectable 120 km/h, albeit with a decent tail-wind assisting the right foot.

Škoda 1000 MB

Andrea Frydlová, Head of the Škoda Museum:
“The legendary two-door Škoda 1000 MBX with its liberally glazed body crowned the success of the first Czech large production car – the four-door Škoda 1000 MB. This makes the vehicle an important milestone in Škoda’s history. The production figures increased significantly throughout the 1960s in Mladá Boleslav. Many progressive technologies in mass production caught on, including high pressure die-casting for cylinder and crankcases, as well as gearbox casing.”

Škoda1000 MB
The four door Škoda 1000 MB

Škoda 1000 MBX

The extremely sought after MBX coupe took inspiration directly from the MB but sported trendy ‘negative sloping’ rear pillars that merged into the panoramic rear window and even had two doors with frameless windows. The body shell retained the generous proportions of the original notchback with an enhanced and more curvacious side view.

Luxury continued for passengers in the rear of the car with an option to ‘wind their own windows down’ should he or she choose to do so. In addition, the triangular-shaped ‘rotational opening’ glass greatly improved the much-needed ventilation within the cabin area.

Skoda 1000 MBX

The MBX De Luxe was unveiled to the public Geneva Motor Show on 10 March 1966 and delighted the public with its originality and tenacious design. With so much glass on show, the two-door gave the impression of not having a central pillar when, in fact, the centre pillar actually ended in the middle of the vehicle body under the window line, and its narrower upper portion could be rolled down together with the rear side windows.

Škoda 1000 MBX

Similar to its brother, the lightweight engine could reach a top speed of 120 km/h with decent fuel consumption of 7 to 8 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres. In 1966, the Škoda 1000 MB was upgraded to an 1100 MB with a second engine variant delivering 52 hp from a 1.1-litre unit. In November 1967, the brand’s range was extended to include the dynamic 1100 MBX De Luxe version.

Škoda 1000 MBX

Dauphine aspirations were ever-present in both variants with a large panoramic rear window that provided good all-around visibility at the rear. The car also incorporated a rather nifty designed fuel filler neck which was cleverly concealed in the right-side wing by a swivelling Škoda emblem.

Yes, they had design flaws but the Eastern Bloc silhouettes have matured like a fine Czech wine with few collectors turning the other cheek at either variant, although the MBX is extremely rare nowadays.

Both cars are now part of the Škoda Museum’s vehicle collection in Mladá Boleslav.

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PRODUCTION
Škoda 1000 MB: 1964–1969 349,348
Škoda 1000 MB de Luxe: 1966–1969 65,502 Units
Škoda 1000 MBG de Luxe: 1966–1969 3,287 Units
Škoda 1000 MBX de Luxe: 1966–1969 1,403 Units
Škoda 1100 MB de Luxe: 1967–1969 22,487 Units
Škoda 1100 MBX de Luxe: 1967–1969 1,114 Units

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Reproduction Tax Discs

2 Comments

  1. Although I am old enough to have actually been alive during this period I am amazed at how many manufacturers tried their hand at offering a rear engined vehicle design . I believe that the Porsche 911 is the only survivor today but back then there were many different rear engine designs . Porsche made it “work” but many others didnt . Wonder why.

  2. Agreed, lots tried the rear-engined philosophy with notables including:

    BMW 600, 700, and i3
    Fiat 500, 600, 850, 126 and 133
    FMR Tg500
    Hillman Imp
    Hino Contessa
    Mercedes-Benz 130/150/170H
    Mitsubishi i and Mitsubishi i-MiEV
    NSU Prinz
    Porsche 356, 911 generations, and 959
    Renault 4CV, Dauphine, Floride, Caravelle, R8, R10 and the 3rd generation Twingo
    Renault Alpine A106, A108, A110, A310 and GTA/A610
    SEAT 600, 850 and 133
    Simca 1000
    Škoda 1000/1100MB,MBX, 100/110, 110R, 105/120/125, 130/135/136, Garde, Rapid
    Stout Scarab
    Subaru 360
    Tatra 77, 87, 97, 600, 603, 613, 700
    Volkswagen

    Porsche remain successful!:)

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