360,000 Octavias produced
The eighth post-war car to be designed and built at Mladá Boleslav, the Octavia took its name from the latin word for eight – octo. Production began in 1959, with exports to global markets – including the UK – starting shortly after.
In terms of design and engineering, the Octavia featured the same advanced tubular backbone chassis design as its predecessor (the 440/445) but introduced more sophisticated coil spring suspension that transformed the driving experience. Power came from a 1.1-litre four-cylinder engine that developed just 40PS. A modestly more powerful 1.2-litre, 45PS engine arrived later the same year, followed by a range-topping 50PS in March 1960.
By the early 1960s, ŠKODA’s export drive was in full swing. The Octavia’s combination of elegant looks, robust engineering and fine value made it a hit with British buyers, while the availability of a new estate version – complete with split tailgate and 1,050 litre boot –broadened its appeal even further.
The arrival of the rear-engined 1000/1100MB in 1964 marked the end of the road for the first-generation Octavia saloon. However, with its replacement unsuited to an estate car layout, the Octavia estate remained in production at Kvasiny until 1971. Between 1959 and 1971, a total of 360,000 Octavias were produced, including more than 54,000 estate versions.