Universal Škoda 1201 STW

With this utility model, began official deliveries of Škoda cars in our country.

Czech vans have become one of the hallmarks of the Khrushchev thaw. In Moscow they appeared in 1957, shortly before the world festival of youth and students. Crotalaria, poleskie, these vehicles scurried back and forth, carrying small shipments. The hood was adorned with a brilliant crest, as on the helmet of brandmeier. The driver’s side there was only one door and a passenger or two. The van was painted, usually in beige, blue or brown. On the sides ablaze with unusual eye appeal. For example, to use the milk at home.Or – delicious and fast to dine at restaurants Losrestaurantes. Advertising!

Sedan Škoda 1201 (type 950) from the factory collection

Sedan Škoda 1201 (type 950) from the factory collection

Products with winged arrow

At that time a strange taste. Decade, which is still debated. A tuning fork he sounded brittle rhymes Gennady Shpalikov. We learned poems by heart, took foreign students denounced the warmongers wanted to grow up quickly and into space. This time… With a particular style tapping heels fashionable Foxtrot on the pavement in front of sullen nastupivshim the mausoleum.Traffic on red square has not yet closed, and there are new Škoda met, especially one brought the goods in GUM, others took them with huge warehouses, placed in the bottomless basement of the old trading rows.

Universal Škoda 1201 STW can be seen in the factory Museum in mladá Boleslav

Universal Škoda 1201 STW can be seen in the factory Museum in mladá Boleslav
On the right side of the versatile Škoda 1201 STW – two doors, left – only one

On the right side of the versatile Škoda 1201 STW – two doors, left – only one

Coincidentally or not, the appearance of Škoda cars in our country coincided with the reform of governance. Instead of bulky Union ministries were created local councils of national economy – economic councils. From the field urgent requests much more visible than from the center. Small quantities of goods to deliver than anything! The Ministry of the automotive industry have not provided light vans in the nomenclature of manufactured products. For some hundreds of boxes of shoes had to drive a truck.

The abbreviation for STW in the designation of the designated universal Station Wagon. The rear seatback folded, allowing to double the capacity

The abbreviation for STW in the designation of the designated universal Station Wagon. The rear seatback folded, allowing to double the capacity

Void the type had to fill in the procurement of the equipment abroad. Mainline trains and coaches from Austria, Hungarian milk tankers and construction trucks, double Decker buses from East Germany… By the end of 1950-ies on the streets of the capital was dominated by the extraordinary diversity. Products of the fraternal Czechoslovakia represented products with the winged arrow emblem, utility station wagons, vans, pickups and “ambulance cars” Škoda 1201.

The shift lever four-speed synchronized gearbox was located on the steering column that allowed if you wish to plant a third person in the front seat

The shift lever four-speed synchronized gearbox was located on the steering column that allowed if you wish to plant a third person in the front seat

Metal charm

The creation of this model was an important step for AZPN (Automobilové závody, národní podnik – “Automobile factory, public enterprise”) – since the 7 March 1946 was called the automotive branch of the group Škoda in mladá Boleslav. The largest machine-building production of Czechoslovakia soon after the war nationalized and divided in sections. Before built a plant there immediately arose a question of updating of the production program. It is, in fact, was developed in the prewar period and gradually became obsolete.

The chief designer of the body AZPN Joseph Velebny the ambitious post-war models of Skoda cars

The chief designer of the body AZPN Joseph Velebny the ambitious post-war models of Skoda cars

Had to first design a vehicle with all-metal body. And to master it in the conditions of severe shortage of materials. And in General, the situation in Czechoslovakia in the early postwar years was not easy. The fact that our print was called people’s democracy, in practice, take root easily. Czechoslovakia was held hostage in a big political game. On the one hand, the United States, on the other – the Soviet Union. The events of February 1948, after which the whole power passed to the Communist party, not all were received with enthusiasm.In the mountains in the North-East of the country operated clandestine armed groups, and in the cities – American agents.

Prototypes of Škoda 1200 (type 955). Elegant convertible not found serial incarnations

Prototypes of Škoda 1200 (type 955). Elegant convertible not found serial incarnations

The project of a new passenger car Škoda received an intrafactory designation “type 955”. Developers had to take into account the fashion trends and at the same time to use proven components and assemblies from the old model of Škoda 1102 (type 938) – other at their disposal simply did not exist. Increasing the diameter of the cylinders 68 to 72 mm, the engineers brought a working volume of 4-cylinder overhead valve engine to 1221 cm3 – hence, in fact, originated the name of the car. Capacity increased from 32 to 36 HP And still it was not enough to significantly larger, by design, of the car.

All hopes were pinned on progressive body design – it was developed by an experienced engineer Joseph Velebny. The refusal of the wooden frame was allowed to gain precious weight. At the same time, replacement of the power metal elements demanded by the plant the additional cost of the extension of die economy. On the body was a sheet metal thickness of 0.8-1.0 mm. in Fairness it should be said that all automobile companies in the transition to a new technological level is quite difficult.

Experienced Škoda 1200 station wagon (type 955) was built on the chassis of Škoda 1102 (type 938) with a shorter wheelbase

Experienced Škoda 1200 station wagon (type 955) was built on the chassis of Škoda 1102 (type 938) with a shorter wheelbase

Pan Velebny, of course, wanted to design a monocoque, but it was associated with incredible costs. Therefore, as the basis of left spinal tubular frame with cantilever cross-beams on top of which was falling back. Unlike the frames of other types, spinal had two clear benefits – allows you to make low thresholds and to provide rigidity for a convertible. The body turned out quite low and with large doorways. And increased from 2485 to 2685 mm wheelbase provided a more spacious passenger room than the Škoda 1102.And although the new 4-door sedan weighed almost a hundred pounds more than its predecessor, pan Velebny was celebrating: the car was. Besides pan-European trend toward simple shapes with a minimum of decoration played in favor of the Skoda, giving them a little more to save on the external design. The plant has designed a whole family of body styles: sedan, convertible, station wagon, van and the carriage “first aid”. Later, it added a pickup.

The fuel tank was located in the engine compartment that is not secure solution. The car was never enough as the power of the engine and gas tank

The fuel tank was located in the engine compartment that is not secure solution. The car was never enough as the power of the engine and gas tank

Export expectations

The new model received the designation Škoda 1200. In March 1952, it was presented at the Geneva motor show. Critics took the new product favorably, which could not inspire the user AZPN: the main hope it was associated with deliveries to the countries of Western Europe.

Advertising booklet Škoda 1201

Advertising booklet Škoda 1201

Master the novelty was not so easy. Production capacity according to the decision of the Ministry of industry loaded passenger car Tatra T600 Tatraplan. Forces in both cars is not enough. The conveyor is periodically up for lack of parts. For the events watched closely in the West, though it is without much hope for change: socialist Czechoslovakia was the first major defeat of the Americans in confrontation with the Soviet Union.A former employee of the StB (Státní bezpečnost, STB, Czechoslovakia), in 1953, asked for asylum in Munich, was informed by their new patrons that the plant in mladá Boleslav for three months as a suspended publication of the Tatraplan, and all the power is directed to the production of new machines.

First, both models were produced in parallel. In addition, the hooked up branches in vrchlabí and Kvasiny. Factory Petera ve Vrchlabi – the former carriage workshop of Ignaz Theodor Petera (Ignác Theodor Petera), once built the personal car of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. The plant in Kvasiny – a former Department of the company Jawa, where before the war tried to produce their own cars. The first of October, 1949, this Department became part of the AZPN.

Export expectations were met only partly. The sedan was clearly weak in the face of opponents, besides the fuel tank of 35 liters, the old-fashioned way is located in the engine compartment (the legacy of Škoda 1102), not allowed to roam. Convertible is has decided not to release, limited to elegant exhibition sample. But the wagon and especially medical, sold well in the neighboring Austria, and the Benelux countries.

The power of the engine Škoda 1201 (type 980) was first increased to 45, then to 47 HP New was recognized by sidelights. The export success has provided cargo and passenger modifications of Škoda 1201

The power of the engine Škoda 1201 (type 980) was first increased to 45, then to 47 HP New was recognized by sidelights. The export success has provided cargo and passenger modifications of Škoda 1201

Since 1955, the production of Škoda 1200 for the main plant stopped completely moving it in Vrchlabi and Kvasiny. Here and rescued laid by the engineers unification with the main machine. Barely in mladá Boleslav began producing the Škoda 440 also known as Spartak, offices in vrchlabí and Kvasiny began to receive a 45-horsepower engine and modern electrics. The updated model was designated as the Škoda 1201. In Kvasiny produced sedans in Vrchlabi – station wagons, vans, pickups, specialized vehicles, medical services and even hearses.Since 1959 in connection with the production in mladá Boleslav the new Škoda Octavia sedan 450 1201 to receive an upgraded engine with a closed cooling system, known as type Octavia Super. This motor developed capacity of 46-47 HP.

The Škoda 1201 at the Moscow motor depot №17

The Škoda 1201 at the Moscow motor depot №17
Škoda 1201 in Samarkand, at the Registan bus station, 1964, Photo by Alexander Prokofievich Kuzmenko, digitization nail Valiyev

Škoda 1201 in Samarkand, at the Registan bus station, 1964, Photo by Alexander Prokofievich Kuzmenko, digitization nail Valiyev

Bad deal

The largest buyer of Škoda 1201 becomes the Soviet Union. All of Skoda cars of different models in our country was imported in 1957 – 578 pieces, in 1958-m – 1688, in 1959 3000, 1960-m – 3016, 1961 – 1508 pieces. On average, each of the first party have cost our country 4437 rubles 72 kopecks. With a fixed exchange rate of those years of 4 rubles per one us dollar price of one Škoda 1100 dollars. Of course, depending on the modification it is different. However, Czechoslovakia was not rescued from the bargain penny – all calculations were made in rubles.

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The Škoda 1201 van was transporting 500 kg, pickup – 560 lbs. lifting Capacity of the wagon were smaller, 275 lbs. But his driver could take more than one forwarder, and just four passengers. For example, a maintenance team. Soviet industry was able to provide counterparts – the “Moskvich-423” and the van “Moskvich-430”, only in 1958.

Combi Škoda 1201 Mostorgtrans. The rear seat can be removed to increase capacity

Combi Škoda 1201 Mostorgtrans. The rear seat can be removed to increase capacity
Vans Škoda can claim the title of best supporting actor in the Soviet cinema of the 1960s: "Come tomorrow", "the Secret of the iron door", "July rain", "the Tale of time lost", "the snow fairy tale", "the Extraordinary adventures Bears strekacheva" and others. In the picture – a frame from the film "the amphibian Man", directed by Gennady Kazansky and Vladimir Chebotaryov Lenfilm 1961

Vans Škoda can claim the title of best supporting actor in the Soviet cinema of the 1960s: “Come tomorrow”, “the Secret of the iron door”, “July rain”, “the Tale of time lost”, “the snow fairy tale”, “the Extraordinary adventures Bears strekacheva” and others. In the picture – a frame from the film “the amphibian Man”, directed by Gennady Kazansky and Vladimir Chebotaryov Lenfilm 1961

About ambulances special conversation. Those that are at the disposal of the Ministry of health of the USSR, and close could not match with the Czech “sanitai”. The first car left the factory in Vrchlabi, on 22 July 1952. From van and wagon this modification is distinguished by the increased rear overhang, whereby the inside was placed a stretcher for a bed patient. More precisely, at once two, one atop the other. Interestingly enough, when the body was lower than that of van and station wagon!And to the right of the stretcher provided seat for a companion or to a third patient in this case, the back is bowed, and the man was carried to reclining. Immediately struck by high-quality finish and equipment. Above the windshield was located a glowing interior light milky color with a red cross. The same was incorporated in the rear door. The Windows of the cargo compartment was carefully filled to half from indiscreet looks. All the cars were equipped with radio Tremos production of electrical Tesla factory in Pardubice.With the emergence in the USSR of medical Škoda 1201 ambulance service switched to two-way communication between field crews and dispatch.

Inside medical Škoda 1201 can fit two stretchers in length 1930 mm – it was even too much for a car of such appointment

Inside medical Škoda 1201 can fit two stretchers in length 1930 mm – it was even too much for a car of such appointment

Although some came to our country the Škoda 1201 was not a single sedan, all of them were imported as passenger cars. They can be found everywhere. Typical povilika body-rear independent suspension with suspension rod, they toured the streets of Sittwe, Vladimir, Minsk, Novokuznetsk, Perm,… Frunze In Moscow is the Škoda 1201 was received in only created then, in 1957, the plant “Mostorgtrans” – 2-th, 13-th, 17-th and others carpool.

Type 1201 was withdrawn from the production at the plant in Kvasiny in 1958, and the plant in Vrchlabi, in 1961. Just released 67 070 machines types 1200 and 1201 (956 26 sedans, 16 050 wagons and 24 064 van, pickup truck and ambulances). And in 1961 saw the light of further development of the car – Škoda 1202, deserves a separate story.