The 1948 Škoda Superb OHV Is More Than ‘Superb’ On The Eye

Škoda Superb OHV
The impressive 1948 Škoda Superb OHV - Images courtesy Škoda

The Czech brand celebrates its 125th anniversary this year and the marque has come a long way since the company’s founders in 1895, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement sold bicycles.

Stylish and breathtaking aren’t two words often spoken in the same sentence when describing Škoda vehicles but the impressive ‘Superb’, which celebrated its 85th-anniversary last year is one of the latest highlights of the Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav.

The standard production of the Škoda Superb began in March 1935 with the top model powered by a 2.5-litre, 40.5 kW (55 hp) six-cylinder engine. High demand quickly led to longer delivery waiting times with customers having to wait a month for delivery. In addition to the usual specifications, a radio with six electron tubes and rosewood shelves behind the front seats were also available for an additional fee.

Almost every year, the company brought out further innovations with more powerful engines and a broader range of equipment. After building approximately 600 vehicles with SV valve control, the brand introduced the Superb OHV in 1938 with a 59 kW (80 hp) in-line six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 3,137 cm3.

A mere 158 examples were produced with one of the stylish designs, this 1948 model, produced at the Kvasiny plant and showcased at the Czechoslovakian museum following a three-year nut and bolt renovation.

Andrea Frydlová, Director of the Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav:
“This Škoda Superb OHV was one of the first historical vehicles acquired by ŠKODA Museum in 1968. However, it came to us incomplete and without the original upholstery. Over the past three years, our museum workshop team has painstakingly restored this unique vehicle to its original condition. It now completes our collection of older versions of the prestigious SUPERB model series at the museum.”

skoda superb interior

This 2,492 cm3 engine was capable of delivering a breathtaking 55 hp; not to be sniffed at some 85 plus years ago. Production of the first Superb began in the summer of 1935 and the rather large ŠKODA saloon became the epitome of elegance, comfort and believe it or not high quality.

Following a 600 vehicle run with the trusty side-valve engine, the marque decided it was time to raise the bar or rocker-shaft in this case implementing Overhead-Valve technology (OHV) in 1938 to the Superb 3000.

Its six-cylinder engine had a displacement of 3,137 cm3 and with its overhead valves produced an output of to 85 hp. By 1939, however, only 113 vehicles of this type had been built. The Škoda Museum has been showing one of them – a black saloon with an impressive body length of 5.2 meters and a wheelbase of 3.3 meters – for several years at classic car events and exhibitions at home and abroad. The Mladá Boleslav collection also includes the only preserved representative of the limited-edition Superb 4000 series with a larger V8 engine dating back to the 1940s.

 Škoda Superb 3000 OHV
Škoda Superb 3000 OHV

1948 Škoda Superb OHV Restoration

The extensive ‘one of a kind‘ restoration process of the 1948 Škoda Superb OHV began in 2017 and continued via the renovation team in Mladá Boleslav for 2 solid years with a detailed analysis of the vehicle’s condition intensively researched in a bid to retain the classic’s integrity.

The name ‘Superb’ is derived from the Latin word ‘superbus’, meaning ‘magnificent’, ‘noble’ or ‘glorious’, and was used again by Škoda more than 50 years later when the brand presented a Superb at the IAA in 2001.

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