Forgotten icon: Skoda 1000 MB
The first mass-produced Czech car came with some advanced technology
Over half of century ago, Skoda presented the very cool model called 1000 MB. Technologically, it was completely new, and its design fits everyone's taste. Interestingly, it was made in the most advanced European factory back then, in Mlada Boleslav, and it was just a bit more expensive than a Fiat 500. Another interesting fact is that, here in Bosnia we used to call this car "1000 malih briga", which means "1000 little worries" (the MB actually stood for Mlada Boleslav, but we were just taking the piss out of it).
In the early 1960s, car makers were giving us small front-engined FWD cars that were quite economical and practical, such as the Mini or Autobianchi Primula. But, when it came to a bigger class of cars, manufacturers implemented the policy "put it in the back". We had cars like VW Beetle, Renault 8 and 10, Simca 1000...and this little Skoda.
The 1000 MB was a replacement for the front-engined RWD Octavia. Skoda wanted to have a more rational model in their lineup, so the rear-engined RWD 1000 MB did its job well. Today, this type of car may seem like an antique, but back in its days the MB was competing with Western European machines. With a length of 418 cm, height of 140 cm and width of 163 cm, it was a very practical car that could fit 5 persons.
Apart from that, there was boot space at the front and behind the rear seats too. And, the MB was the very first car that had reclining front seats, meaning that the whole thing was just a double bed with wheels.
A very interesting feature at the front boot. Credit: Autoportal.hr
Its rear lights had a role of winglets, something that other car makers stopped doing back then. And even though the air-intakes were put on both sides and at the rear, the engine was overheating like crazy. It had independent suspension on all 4 wheels (another innovative thing in it), but the rear wheels had some issues.
The worst issue was when the rear wheels would, for some reason, apply positive camber. That means that the bottom part of tires would point inwards, while the upper part would point outwards; and because of that, the MB was known for often doing pirouettes when turning.
All wheels were fitted with drum brakes, and the 1.0-litre straight-4 was producing 42 HP, which was enough for a top speed of 120 km/h and 0-100 km/h time of 27 seconds.
But despite all of its problems, the 1000 MB was well-made and durable, and many of them are still being used. In 1966, the power was increased to 48 HP, and a year later to a 1.1-litre engine with 52 HP. Due to high demand, Skoda made a prototype of a caravan version, but that never went into production.
This little thing even had great success in rally races. It dominated Eastern European rallies, and to make things even cooler, Skoda 1000 MB was Gilles Villeneuve’s first car. There was also a coupe version called MBX, which was only made in 2.517 units.
So even though it came with a lot of problems, the 1000 MB was a very cool car. Skoda made 443.141 units of this little thing, but today most of them are only seen at some oldtimer meetings.