OCTAVIA COMBI was presented to the public on September 11, 1960 at the International Technology Fair in Brno. The driving test continued until April 1961, after which the homologations took place in mid-May. Mass production started in July.
The first prototype of the OCTAVIA COMBI, in an attractive two-tone variant, was produced at the Kvasiny plant in September 1959. The tailgate was divided horizontally into two parts.
The lower part was connected to the bottom of the trunk, which had a capacity of up to 690 liters (measured to the ceiling). But the undivided rear seats could be folded to create an area measuring 1495 x 1355 mm, so that two passengers could travel with up to 1050 liters of luggage. Despite that, the caravan had surprisingly compact external dimensions of 4065 x 1600 x 1430 mm.
Very practical, and in today’s Simply Clever terminology, the characteristic of the new model from Kvasina was a special partition for the spare wheel, located under the trunk floor, which was accessed by a separate hinged cover above the bumper.
When the OCTAVIA COMBI was modernized in 1969, this feature disappeared and was replaced by horizontally placed rectangular lamps taken from the new ŠKODA 100/110. This meant that the spare wheel could be accessed only after part of the luggage was removed, but the passage of moisture into the “pocket” of the spare wheel was also reduced.
From Norway to Australia
High demand abroad, which accounted for about two-thirds of station wagon production, combined with a shortage of other new cars in this category in the domestic market, led to the decision to resume production at the Kvasiny plant after April 1964.
Then, the last OCTAVIA Super with a stepped rear part was thrown out of the main drive in Mlada Boleslav, and the company focused its efforts on the launch of the Š 1000/1100 MB series with the engine mounted at the rear.
However, even the station wagon version that needed to be discontinued was given attention that kept it competitive. By 1966, a record 72% of caravans had gone abroad. In some markets, it was offered as a light commercial two-seater with tinted side windows.
In addition to the countries bordering Czechoslovakia, especially East Germany and Hungary, hundreds of OCTAVIA COMBI models have been sold, for example, in Britain and Norway, while dozens of them have found their way to Australia and Iceland.
Sleep version at no extra charge
Another Simply Clever feature was the interior adapted for sleeping, which all OCTAVIA COMBI cars have been offering at no extra cost since 1961.
After moving the driver’s and front passenger’s seats forward, the backrests could be folded into an almost horizontal position, so that they were in the same plane as the rear seats.
Then the backrest could be removed and served as a pillow. Starting with the 1968 model, comfort has been further enhanced by the ability to fold the backrests of the rear seats backwards.
In 1970, the ŠKODA 110 R coupé became the pride of the Kvasiny factory. The OCTAVIA COMBI model had to free up production capacity for the new model. Before the Christmas holidays in 1971, the last caravan came off the production line with serial number 50244. That vehicle remained inside the factory gates as the property of the Czech car manufacturer.
After 1971, customers had to wait another 22 years for the family version of the caravan with a winged arrow: it was the FORMAN model. The famous OCTAVIA COMBI brand came to life in 1998 with the first generation of the currently best-selling model.
Source: Auto magazin by www.magazinauto.com.
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