Volkswagen’s Czech brand is highly proud of its “presidential” heritage, as it is supplying cars for the country’s heads of state since 1926.
Skoda is celebrating this month 90 years since it delivered its first presidential car and it wants to share with us this part of the company’s history. It all started at the beginning of May 1926, when the first head of state of former Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, received a Skoda Hispano-Suiza car. The 2.7 tones model powered by a 6,654 cc six-cylinder engine manufactured from a 350-kg engine block had a bespoke body design made by the carrosserie Kellner Frères and was fitted with a glass partition wall between the driver and the passenger compartment. After the 85-year-old president resigned in December 1935, the Hispano-Suiza sat in the garage of his official residence until 17 March 1936, for afterwards to be returned to the manufacturer. Since then, the model’s trail has been unfortunately lost.
Following the end of the Second World War, the brand once again supplied a vehicle to the president of Czechoslovakia. It was an armored VOS notchback saloon with bulletproof windows and opulent chrome trim at the front. It was quite a car, as it weighed 4,440 kg and was 5.70 metres long. Two presidents, Klement Gottwald (1896-1953) and Antonín Zápotocký (1884-1957), drove such limousines.
In the following decades up to the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, it was predominately models of the Soviet ZIS and ZIL brands that served as state cars. Four years later, after the independent Czech Republic was formed, Skoda returned to ‘state service”, starting with Václav Havel. The current president now uses a third-generation 2.0 TSI Superb sedan matted to DSG transmission.