Škoda’s legendary 1000 MB and MBX were unveiled in the 60s and the previously ‘laughable’ Czechoslovakia classics have become more desirable than ever…
Škoda 1000 MB
The Škoda 1000 MB marked a turning point in the history of the Czech automobile manufacturer, switching to a rear-engined layout and drawing inspiration from its half brother, the Renault 8 and is powered by a heady 988cc OHV with a revolutionary aluminium cylinder block.
The forward-thinking Czech marque built an entirely 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 the 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 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.
It might not have been the car to impress your latest girlfriend in 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.
The water-cooled OHV in-line four-cylinder was positioned to the rear, which unfortunately in warmer weather, tended to flood the cabin with a pungent smell of cheap fuel on longer journeys… on the plus side, it was capable of reaching around 120 km/h, albeit with a decent tail-wind assisting the right foot.
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.”
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.
The luxury continued with passengers in the rear of the car able to wind their own windows down. In addition, the triangular-shaped rotational opening glass improved the ventilation in the interior.
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.
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.
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.
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This Škoda is jaw-droppingly beautiful
|Škoda 1000 MB||1964–1969||349,348|
|Škoda 1000 MB de Luxe||1966–1969||65,502|
|Škoda 1000 MBG de Luxe||1966–1969||3,287|
|Škoda 1000 MBX de Luxe||1966–1969||1,403|
|Škoda 1100 MB de Luxe||1967–1969||22,487|
|Škoda 1100 MBX de Luxe||1967–1969||1,114|
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