VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Czech cars challenge Prague’s Nusle Steps in 1947

An effort to show the high quality of Czech vehicles was captured by a British newsreel company. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.02.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 18.02.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

Viral stunts captured on video didn’t originate with TikTok. In 1947, Czech-made cars and motorcycles braved Prague’s Nusle steps to showcase their endurance under rugged urban conditions.

The event was not only documented in the auto magazine Svět motorů (World of Motors), it was seen around the world in a newsreel by British Pathé.

“Pre-war, Škoda cars were known throughout the world. Now the motor industry has been nationalized,” the British narrator says, adding that British products will have to face increased foreign competition.

The clip was made in the brief era between the end of World War II and the 1948 communist takeover, which changed the landscape for international trade and ended any potential threat that Škoda could present to Jaguar or Rolls-Royce.

Several Jawa motorcycles also go up and down the steps. “After this severe test, the motorbikes should be able to stand up to any road conditions,” the narrator says.

Svět motorů said the steps provided “a tough test of the technical perfection of the products of our automotive industry” and that the models used proved themselves.

The main car seen in the short clip is the Škoda 1101, commonly called the Tudor. It was made between 1947 and 1949, and an upgraded 1102 model lasted until 1952.

The test on the steps also included the Aero Minor, which was designed by Jawa Motors and manufactured by Aero. Motorbikes by Jawa round out what can be seen in the clip.

Detail of the cover of Svět motorů.
Detail of the cover of Svět motorů.

The reputation of Škoda cars suffered during the Cold War due to their poor mileage and constant breakdowns. The word “Škoda” means “pity” in Czech, and that led to the cars becoming the butt of jokes.

After the Velvet Revolution, the Škoda brand was taken over by Germany’s Volkswagen and revitalized.

Aero ceased making cars after 1951 to concentrate on airplane production. The successor company Aero Vodochody is still active in aviation. Jawa still exists as a motorcycle brand and makes retro-style motorbikes for the Czech and international markets.

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