Škoda Octavia celebrates 60 years. The first car of this name left Mladá Boleslav in 1959, when it was a significant modernization of the 440 and 445 types. Finally, thanks to the estate variant, it survived until 1971. In 1996, the Octavia designation returned to Škoda and ranked among the most successful stores Czech and European market.
When Skoda decided to modernize the 440 and 445 types, called Spartak, in the late 1950s, it not only adopted visual and technical innovations, but also changed its name. The car introduced in 1959 was named Octavia. In fact, what may be an end in itself has a symbolic meaning – octavia means eighth in Latin. And the new model was not only the eighth car after the Second World War, but also the eighth car in a row with independent all-wheel suspension.
Some might say at first glance that Octavia is not very different from Spartacus. And indeed, the designers put a visual on the simpler grille, the slightly modified rear lights and the “Octavia” on the front fender and the new instrument panel and steering wheel. Technically, however, designers used a new front axle with a transverse torsion stabilizer and sprung coil springs – the predecessor had leaf springs. Leaf springs, although spiral springs have been tested, have been retained on the rear axle. Even in 1959, the model received more efficient asymmetrical headlamps and a split front bumper.
By adjusting the front axle, the front track width was reduced to 1200 mm and the wheelbase of the two-door tudor body was reduced by 10 mm to 2390 mm. However, the backbone frame with independently suspended wheels remained the basis of the Octavia, with a length of 4065 mm. Under the hood of the Octavia, just like the 440, a four-cylinder in-line four-cylinder with a capacity of 1.1 liters was 29.4 kW. The stronger Octavia Super has inherited a larger 12-tonne of 33 kW in the 445 series.
In both cases, a four-speed manual transmission transmitted power to the rear wheels. In conjunction with the front engine, the Octavia was one of the last Škoda cars with a classic drive concept. By the way, who wanted to buy this model in Czechoslovakia needed a special voucher.
In March 1960, the Octavia Touring Sport revealed itself as the top of its model range. The sport version received an eleven-kilometer from the 36.8 kW Felicia roadster, with a radiator grille that distinguished the TS from the standard. The Octavia TS was also important from a competitive point of view – it obtained FIA homologation for a group of untreated touring cars. The Czechoslovak car thus successfully participated in the rally in particular and in Monte Carlo between 1961 and 1963, the crew in Octavia managed to dominate the class three times up to 1300 cm3.
1960 was important twice for the popular model. In addition to TS, the three-door estate also debuted in Brno in September. This offered, in particular, a large luggage compartment of 690 liters (measured over the ceiling), and 1050 liters, while maintaining both wheelbase length and length. Tudor, by contrast, had only 360 liters.
Another advantage of the Octavia Combi was the two-wing rear door, and with it, better access to luggage. The basis of the practical version was the Super design, which meant from the beginning of the ignition twelve. And because the estate ran into production in Kvasiny only in the summer of 1961, so straightened to 34.6 kW. Thanks to its premiere in the fall of 1960, the Kombi was also the first Octavia to show rear fins, modified group headlights and a new radiator grille.
Tudor got these details at the beginning of 1961, when the engine’s power was also increased by adjusting the degree of compression. In the case of the classic Octavia at 30.9 kW and the Octavia Super at the already mentioned 34.6 kW. At the beginning of 1962, the rejuvenated Octavia Touring Sport was added to the offer, this time with an additional 1200, and an output of 40.4 kW. The same engine was Felicia Super.
The classic tudor (and with it also the estate) before the end of production underwent the last upgrade in 1963, which touched the radiator grille, rear lights or dashboard design. A year later, Octavia (the last Super-Gray car on April 11, 1964) in Mladá Boleslav replaced the new 1000-MB type that came with the “all back” concept. However, the estate in Kvasiny continued unchanged. Only in 1965 was the first of a series of partial upgrades, which brought, for example, a modified dashboard with elements of black plastic.
Two years later, another modernization was premiered, this time with a new radiator grille that already lacked a typical oval frame and was now rectangular. The Octavia Combi had the last rejuvenation in the summer of 1969. At that time, the car lost the rear fins because the vertical headlamps replaced the horizontal from the Skoda 100. The 1000 MB got the new dashboard with a single alarm instead of three and a steering wheel. The engine boosted to 37.5 kW.
Definitely the last Octavia Combi left Kvasin on December 21, 1971. Publication L&K – Skoda II. episode: Flight of Winged Arrow (1945-2003) by Petr Kožíšek and Jan Králík shows 229,531 made by Octavia, 79,489 produced by Octavia Super, 2273 made by Octavia TS and finally 54,086 made by Octavia Combi.
The first Octavia has also received several derivatives. For the purpose of in-house transport, several station wagons were converted into a flatbed. Outside of Czechoslovakia, in New Zealand, an off-road Trekka was created on the foundations of the Octavia Combi in 1966, reminiscent of Land Rovers. However, only the rear wheel drive was limited by a platform that was shortened. A total of three thousand pieces of this car was to be built. In Pakistan, based on the Octavia Combi at the end of the ’60s, utility Skopak (Skoda and Pakistan) built the body parts.
The name Octavia returned to Škoda’s offer in April 1996 when the first generation of the modern liftback was introduced. It was Felicia’s second car, developed by the Volkswagen Group, which shared the technical foundation with the fourth Volkswagen Golf or the first Audi A3. Two years after the liftback came a variant of the estate and in both cases, one of the biggest trumps was the boot.
In addition to conventional gasoline and diesel engines, the first Octavia also received the RS sports version, while the front-wheel drive of some engines alternated the quad. The car was produced by the “run-out” version of the Tour until November 2010, with over 1.4 million units being produced. After the world and home rallies, the WRC was racing.
The second modern generation of Octavia arrived in 2004 and the liftback was again complemented by the estate. In both cases, the advantage of the large volume of the trunk continued to be beneficial, as well as being supported by a considerably larger seat space. The variant RS was also a successor; in 2006, the new Scout off-road wagon with a higher ground clearance and a plastic lining of the lower body was introduced.
The second generation also received a DSG dual clutch transmission for the first time. In 2008, Octavia underwent a controversial modernization that brought curved headlights and other body and interior modifications. By 2013, 2.5 million second-generation units were created.
The current third generation was introduced for the first time at the end of 2012 and, compared to the predecessor, brought a more attractive design and was technically more advanced. The MQB modular platform has become the foundation of the vehicle, and in Europe, the pallet relies exclusively on turbocharged engines, including the 1.0 TSI three-cylinder engine.
The next generation also received the Scout off-road version and the RS sports version, which also became the fastest Škoda of all time in the RS 245 with 180 kW (gradually becoming the standard RS version). At the beginning of 2017, the Mladá Boleslav car factory unveiled a criticized facelift with split headlights. The manufacturer states that it has so far sold over 2.5 million third Octavia. In addition to the Czech Republic, it is also established in China, India, Russia, Kazakhstan and Algeria.