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 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.

Škoda 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.

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.

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.

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.

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This Škoda is jaw-droppingly beautiful

Production:

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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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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