Monday, September 7, 2015

Late-1930s Škoda Superbs

Škoda, the Czech automobile company (now owned by Volkswagen) offered lines of cars in the 1930s ranging from small to large.  Overall sales volumes were tiny by today's standards and those of the large-size Superb line were verging on microscopic: about 900 of all types were built during the 1934-1939 model years.

I wonder if the Superb line was ever profitable, given that at least three body styles were used over that period.  However, we need to remind ourselves that many car bodies were built differently in those days.  For one thing, very few cars had monocoque or unitized construction as is the case for most cars today.  Also, many car bodies, including Škoda's, were not all-steel, continuing the practice of framing a body using wood and then applying a metal skin.  It's likely that Škoda Superbs were built using a good deal of hand labor and that prices were quite high -- knowledgeable readers are encouraged to comment if clarification on these points is required.

Shown below are examples of five types of Superbs.


1934 (ca.) Škoda Superb Type 640
Note that the car shown has right-hand drive. Following the 1939 German take-over, Czech cars had to have left-hand drive, as was the practice in Germany.

1936 Škoda Superb Type 902
The body of this 902 looks French, reminding me of Citroën's Traction Avant introduced in 1934.

1938 Škoda Superb Type 913
The styling of this 913 is not very different from that of American cars of 1936, the same year 913s were launched.

1939 (ca.) Škoda Superb Type 924
Type 924 appeared in 1938, and seems to be a facelifted 913 with front end styling in line with contemporary American cars.

1939 (ca.) Škoda Superb Type 919
The same might be said regarding this 919, only 12 of which were built.

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