On the drive north from Prague, we needed a stop for lunch and a quick break. About an hour away is the town of Mladá Boleslav, home to Škoda. We figured we’d stop there for a bite to eat in the cafe and as we’d visited other motor museums look around their museum as it was only €3 entry.
On the drive, we kept seeing random cars that had all been modified and painted, mostly in amusing ways. A few of them were parked up in the Škoda car park. It turns out that we were crossing the path of the MegaRun, a not entirely serious car rally from the Netherlands to Hungary.
On arrival at the museum, first thing was food and some caffeine! We were expecting a small cafe, but it turned out to be a fairly nice restaurant that lots of staff were using for impromptu meetings. The food was really good and pretty cheap.
We then had a wander around the museum. We were expecting a few of cars with some information plaques. Instead it turned out to be very well presented with lots of information about Škoda’s history, including the background of the two founders, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement. They started making bicycles because the ones available at the time were expensive and poor quality. They moved on to motorising them, then quickly went on to start making cars. From early on, they had a great interest in making their cars efficient and aerodynamic.
Despite becoming state owned behind the iron curtain and under communist rule where people had limited opportunities to buy expensive items such as cars, Škoda continued to innovate. Their models from 1963 included a forged aluminium engine block when most other cars continued to use iron blocks for another couple of decades. Their 1963 engine looks very similar engines that are built today. When the wall fell, Škoda was suddenly competing with western manufacturers. Then in 2000 it was bought by Volkswagen, where it has thrived.
So our ‘quick stop’ ended up being over three hours long! If you are in the area we highly recommend it, especially the restaurant! Then we continued north to return to Germany…