The ŠKODA 860, An Eye-Catcher At The ŠKODA Museum
In celebration for the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia, ŠKODA has presented a freshly restored and exquisite ŠKODA 860 model. The 1932 exhibit is the only surviving convertible of the series and features an eight-cylinder in-line engine that is particularly flexible and smooth. The model is now on permanent display at the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav.
The ŠKODA 860 demonstrates the outstanding level of engineering competence that was reached by the Czech carmaker by the pre-war period. Vehicles such as the 860 were appreciated in the early 1900’s for their smoothness and were particularly popular. The 860 was built on the technology first developed with the Laurin & Klement FF in 1907, which was probably the first eight-cylinder in-line engine in Central Europe.
The model has been extensively restored over the last two years, with great importance given to maintaining the vehicles originality. The paintwork, roof cover and seat upholstery were renewed, and restorers also made minor repairs to the wood construction and body work. For its time, the ŠKODA 860 featured some highly innovative equipment. Technology such as the dashboard inclinometer was included, which is considered to be the predecessor of the modern gear shift indicator. On slopes and inclines, the meter recommends shifting down in advance and then recommends shifting up again once back on level ground. Plus, a retractable glass panel featured between the driver’s cabin and passenger compartment, to offer discretion whenever necessary. The model boasted above-average space for its time, with enough room on the back seat for up to three adults and with the generous legroom, two foldable seats could be installed so children or accompanying personnel could also sit in the rear.
The ŠKODA 860 debuted for the first time on 23rd October 1929 at the Prague Motor Show. The model was top-of-the-range and the type designation indicated the 860’s eight-cylinder engine had an output of 60hp at 3,000rpm. The basic model, a ŠKODA 422 featured a four-cylinder engine with an output of 22hp. The 860’s chassis weighed 1,460kg without the body and the whole vehicle weighed around two tonnes. Despite the high-quality equipment and impressive engine performance, the ŠKODA 860 was not hugely successful, mainly due to the global economic crisis. The vehicle was offered at a starting price of 125,000 kroner, whilst the convertible model began at 140,000 kroner.
There are very few fully preserved ŠKODA 860 saloons in existence and among the surviving models is one fire engine and one Faux Cabriolet.