Skoda’s famous winged arrow celebrates its 85th birthday

Article by Christian A., on May 9, 2011

The famous winged arrow of Škoda celebrates its 85th anniversary on May 10. The first Škoda to sport the interesting logo was manufactured in the assembly line in Mladá Boleslav and was delivered to President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk of Czechoslovakia. During the three years ended 1929, there were only 100 units of this luxury vehicle manufactured.

By that time, the industrial manufacturer from Pilsen had already purchased the license to produce these premium sedans from Spain-based Hispano-Suiza in 1924, which is a year before the merger with the automobile factory of Laurin & Klement.

Production of this luxury model started in the spring of 1925 and was not finished until May 1926. The design has been headed by the leading coachbuilders during that time, which are Messrs. Brožík & Jech. It was later penned by Messrs. Laurin & Klement.

Each Škoda Hispano Suiza 25/100 PS was tailor-made to accommodate the specific requirements of each customer. This means that no two units were alike. With a weigh of 2,700 kilograms, the vehicle was able to reach a top speed of 86 mph. Prices for the vehicle began at £6,785 and were substantially higher than those of other vehicles in the market.

Depending on the level of equipment, prices can reach to as high as £8,928. To compare, the beautiful Škoda 860 at that time was priced at £4,200 while the smaller Škoda 422 cost £1,360.

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85 years ago, the first passenger car with the ŠKODA Logo was delivered

It was exactly 85 years ago, that a vehicle with the ŠKODA logo of the winged arrow rolled off the assembly line for the first time. The luxury sedan ŠKODA Hispano Suiza was the first car with the distinctive trademark of the Czech manufacturer. On May 10th, 1926, the very first vehicle was delivered to the president of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Until 1929, only a total of 100 units of the luxury sedan were built.

The industrial manufacturer from Pilsen had already bought the license for the production of luxury sedans from the originally Spanish company Hispano-Suiza in 1924 – i.e. even before the merger with the automobile factory of Laurin & Klement. That explains the additional name in the vehicle designation. In the spring of 1925, production of the vehicle was started; in May of 1926, the first vehicle was finished. The design had been created by the leading coachbuilders at the time, Messrs. Brožík & Jech, and later by Messrs. Laurin & Klement as well.

The manufacture was still far away from today’s series production. Every single ŠKODA Hispano Suiza 25/100 PS was custom-built in individual production according to the customer’s wishes. Therefore, each car was unique. Depending on the equipment, the vehicle weighed up to 2,700 kilograms. It was able to reach a top speed of 140 km/h.

Among other people, customers and owners included the prime minister at the time, Antonín Švehla, as well as important industrial leaders and aristocrats of Czechoslovakia and foreign buyers. The luxury equipment corresponded to the price level set for the ŠKODA Hispano Suiza. The base price started at 190,000 crowns and was several times higher than the price of other vehicles available on the market. Depending on the equipment, the price could rise to a quarter of a million crowns. The office of the president even paid 280,000 crowns for the first model. In comparison, the small ŠKODA 422 cost 38,000 crowns, the large sedan ŠKODA 860 about 120,000 crowns.

The accompanying information by the manufacturer stated: “The ŠKODA Hispano Suiza is a luxury car designed by a brilliant engineer who put his stamp on the smallest details and manufactured with the utmost care and fine materials.”

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Topics: skoda

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