Elegantly stylish, desirable and over sixty years old, the rag-top Škoda Felicia can still deliver copious amounts of sunshine on any rainy day…
Produced between 1959 and 1964 at the Kvasiny plant in the Czech Republic, the Felicia remains one of the most attractive vehicles in its class and rapidly (no joke intended) became an export success, with European and overseas sales overpowering its home country enthusiasm, where the elegant 2+2-seater remained a rare sight.
The Czech marque had been offering ‘open-top’ motoring for almost half a century, from the very first car from the 1905 L&K Voiturette A until the Škoda 1101/1102 nicknamed ‘Tudor’ in 1952 ended its production run, when a brief period without convertible models began.
It was the employees themselves at the Kvasiny plant who, on their own initiative, decided to develop Škoda 440 Export, which they presented at the Brno Exhibition Centre in September 1956. This unique model was based on the two-door 440 ‘Spartak’ saloon, the predecessor of the very first Octavia generation.
It provided the inspiration for more prototypes and a so-called “review series” of ten vehicles, which were built in 1957. Finally, in September 1958, the Czech car manufacturer presented the series version of the 450 Cabriolet and delivered the first units to customers shortly afterwards.
Elegantly stylish, desirable and over sixty years old, the rag-top Škoda Felicia can still deliver rays of sunshine on a rainy day…
Read more: https://classiccarcuration.co.uk/the-skoda-felicia-that-delivers-sunshine-on-a-rainy-day/
Posted by Classic Car Curation on Friday, 2 October 2020
The Škoda Felicia grabbed the automotive baton in 1959 with the basic model offering a longitudinally-mounted 50 hp 1.1-litre four-cylinder power unit which was extended to include the even more powerful Felicia Super delivering an eye-watering additional 5 hp from the 1.2-litre unit 1962. The first chassis was built in Mladá Boleslav on 14 January 1959. It received its bodywork at the Kvasiny plant, where the vehicle was also finished.
In addition to the standard folding roof, Škoda also offered a ‘removable hardtop’ made of fibreglass-reinforced plastic from August 1960. At that time, a trained team of two people would need around 20 minutes to assemble or dismantle it. In addition to the driver and front passenger seats, the interior also offered two smaller seats in the rear of the car.
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The car was an instant success at international motor shows in Geneva, Leipzig and New York as well as at many other trade fairs in South America and Africa. In its second year, the annual production volume of the Felicia increased dramatically to 4,210 units – two-thirds of which were sold abroad. There they also found celebrity owners – such as the famous Canadian ice hockey player Maurice Richard, who scored more than 1,000 goals in his career.
In March 1961, Škoda presented the facelift in Geneva. In addition to its more striking radiator grille, the raised rear wings with drop-shaped lights gave the car more presence. Interior modifications and upgrades included the gear lever being relocated from the steering column to the more accessible central tunnel position, which allowed easier and more swift gear selection. The fuel cap could also be opened via a lever from the inside.
The Super was launched in 1962 and boasted a newly developed 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine which was ventilated by two carburettors and produced by the Czechoslovakian brand Jikov, generating 55 hp (40.4 kW) – enough for a top speed of 135 km/h, while consumption was kept to a relatively low 9.5 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres. Between 1959 and 1964, the Czech marque built a total of 14,863 units of the Felicia and the Super.