When the Laurin & Klement car company merged with Škoda’s factories in Pilsen in 1925, it began to focus mainly on cars, including license-produced ones. This is how the Škoda Hispano-Suiza model was created, of which a total of a hundred were created during the First Republic, and the then president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk drove one of them.
The piece that today’s Škoda Auto showed in the photos is not Masaryk’s, however. It is the 25/100 HP version, where the first number indicates the official output of 25 horsepower for tax purposes and the second the actual horsepower output of the inline 6.6L six-cylinder. It was completed in 1928 for the industrialist Robert Mandelík, who was the president of the Association of Czechoslovak Sugar Refineries.
Mandelík used the car until the mid-1930s, and later, during the Second World War, the car was rebuilt for the needs of the fire department. He kept the front seats, but instead of a luxury coupe for the factory man, the back part got wooden benches for transporting the team. A towing device for pulling the syringe was also added.
From handle to button. Škoda explained the history of starting cars
In the 1970s, the car went to a collection in Slovakia, and from there later to Prague, where a ten-year renovation began in 1995. In addition to the original bow, the hispano-suiza received a specially designed rear body with a wooden structure. Its author was the artist Václav Zapadlík.
The restorers of the Škoda automobile company brought the car to its current, original condition; her museum acquired the car in 2010. The renovation project started in 2019 and took place on the basis of period materials both from the Pilsen Škoda archive and from photos, videos and documents of the Mandelíkova family.
The shapes of the rear sections had to be adjusted, lengthened and a pair of rear doors had to be plated. This was followed by the manufacture of new rear mudguards and side steps, as well as new front door plating. During 2020, the bodywork was dismantled and painted, placed on a chassis, modification of the folding roof structure, production of new seat structures, repair and repainting of the instrument panel, later came the seats and wooden inlays, folded and glued from veneers of various colors and structures.
There was also a need for a new roof covering, renovation of the rotary arrow, which is the predecessor of today’s left turn signal, nickel plating of some parts – in the 20s of the last century, chrome was not yet used – or the production of new handles from ebony wood.
The engine was also renovated down to the last screw, which in the past underwent a not-so-successful repair of the crankshaft, in addition to a number of other interventions. Its renovation took three years.
Finally, the car received a faithful replica of the original registration number Č-26.960; unfortunately, this format has not been valid on Czech roads for several decades, and the car would therefore not be able to drive on the roads in this way, even if the original “papers” were preserved. It will remain in the possession of the Škoda museum, which presented the finished car at the Techno Classica trade fair in Essen.
Zeman’s superb is heading to the National Technical Museum
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