The Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav is about to face a new competitor. Škoda Cars World museum will exhibit more than a hundred racing and commercial Škoda car prototypes. According to the owners, the museum will offer the biggest private collection of Škoda racing cars in the world. The new museum plans to open for the public next year, at the beginning of the motoring season. Should everything go as planned, it will open in April 2021.
From unique prototypes to government specials
Visitors will see unique prototype cars, government specials and commercial types of Škoda cars. The exhibition will include an old driving school classroom, with a complete simulator equipment and many traditional tools. There will be a special exposition dedicated to the history of a traffic signage in Czechoslovakia.
A ride through history
Most of the cars are to be seen in permanent exhibitions as well as short-time expositions placed in a 1,400 square metres museum area. The collection includes a total of 100 cars, from which around 40 items will be shown at the museum. Development prototypes of Škoda 1000 MB, 110 R, Garde, and 720 will be displayed as well. From the racing cars selection, visitors can see a few authentic pieces of Škoda 130 RS, circuit specials Rapid H, Favorit 1600 H or 130 LR/H originally created for the rally Group S. From commercial cars, all body variants of Škoda 1202, as well as specially converted Favorit on the hydraulic lift ramp for persons with disabilities transport can be seen.
United by the love of cars
The museum was founded by two car enthusiasts, who had originally been searching for and renovating unique racing, prototype and commercial Škoda cars together.
"When we began our endeavors, it was not yet in fashion to collect old Škoda cars, so our collection grew rapidly. Many cars were saved from the scrap metal yard, or we bought them out from their racing careers. Over time, we gradually tracked them down either here in Czechia, or from all over the Europe, thus creating a collection of over a hundred unique cars that can't be seen anywhere else in the world, not even in Mladá Boleslav", says Tomáš Hervert, one of the museum founders, adding that some vehicles were found buried under a stack of hay in a chicken coop.
Where to show it all?
The search of Škoda cars was followed by many years of looking for the right place to show these Czech automotive jewels. The area suited for such specific museum needs was only found in 2019, in Čerčany near Prague. It was worth the wait, though.
"The area we discovered had actually been associated with the car industry since its establishment in 1945. Let's look at it backwards – it was a production site for the Jawa company long after the 1989 revolution. Before Jawa, it had been a part of the National Company Autobrzdy Jablonec, and PAL National Company before that. Which brings us to the first and most interesting owner, which was the J. Kraucher & Co. Its co-owner Jindřich Kraucher was one of the first Czechoslovakian car racers and a very skillful designer, too,"
states Tomáš Hervert, describing the area's rich history.
Quarter a million auction
Because raising funds is always the biggest burden, the owners were forced to make the hard decision to auction a rare Škoda Rapid 135, which sold for 250,000 CZK. This is by far the highest price for a model from the second half of 80’s. It’s one of the 1,200 vehicles produced in Weltmeister limited edition, owned by the German Škoda car dealer and racer Willi Obermann. A total of 35 people were bidding in the auction.
The funds for finishing the museum area and the circuit build were raised by the Hithit fundraising platform, where, besides the actual tickets to the museum, fans could also purchase a private tour, a race driving course or a ticket for the Škoda Cars World opening ceremony. If the museum manages to raise a bigger amount of money, a large inclined ramp is to be built in the area as well, imitating a circuit for the Škoda racing specials.