Skoda’s incredible 125-year journey

Czech car maker Skoda is celebrating a special anniversary – so we’ve taken a trip down memory lane to look at 125 years of innovation by the marque and its founders.

The heavily disguised Skoda Enyaq prototype being tested.

By Maggie Barry

CZECH car company Skoda launches its new all-electric Enyaq SUV later this year and, at the same time, celebrates a big birthday.

While the Skoda name only dates back to 1925, the company can actually trace its roots back to 1895 when cycling pals Vaclav Laurin, a mechanic, and bookseller Vaclav Klement began designing and building their own bikes.

This was brought about partly by necessity. Klement, so the story goes, had a German cycle but was unable to obtain spare parts to repair it.

Undaunted, he wrote a letter in Czech to the German manufacturer who replied sniffily that they could only answer if he wrote to them in a language they could understand.

The Laurin & Klement Voiturette A.
The Skoda Popular.

Dissatisfied and realising that here was a business opening, he got together with Laurin and together they opened their own bicycle repair shop. The cycling pair were so successful, they decided to add motors to their bikes and, by 1899, they had produced nearly 4000 motorbikes.

Pietro Panarisi, of Skoda, said: “Klement and Laurin laid the foundation for our company’s success story. They were outstanding pioneers of mobility in their time, and were also some of the most influential entrepreneurs in early automotive history.”

The natural next step for a duo obsessed with wheels and their need for speed was to turn their attention to a new phenomenon – the motor car – and from 1905 onwards their production of cars began to replace their motorbike lines.

It was an exciting time in Europe for the car and Laurin and Klement could do no wrong… Read more

The Skoda Tudor .
The Skoda 110 R.