Two vintage ŠKODAs from the 1930s at the Schloss Bensberg Classics
ŠKODA will be fielding two vintage automobiles at the fourth Schloss Bensberg Classics this year. A ŠKODA Popular Monte Carlo will be representing the brand in the starting grid of the high-profile Rallye Historique on the first day. On the second day, a 1932 ŠKODA 860 will compete for a top position in the Concours d’Elégance before a demanding jury.
"Very important cars only" is the motto bringing together vintage vehicles against the sumptuous backdrop of baroque-era Schloss Bensberg. The main events will be a Rallye Historique with an illustrious starting grid and a Concours d’Elégance featuring some of the most beautiful and most sought-after automobiles in the world.
“ŠKODA is one of the world’s most tradition-rich automobile brands,” says Werner Eichhorn, ŠKODA board member for sales and marketing. “The two cars we are fielding in Bensberg are cases in point. We are proud that they are taking part in one of the world’s leading vintage car events,” says Eichhorn.
The elegant 1937 ŠKODA Popular Monte Carlo coupé is a real rarity. In all, only 72 ŠKODA Popular Monte Carlo – convertibles and coupés – were built as a special edition of the ŠKODA Popular from 1936 to 1938. The occasion was ŠKODA’s success at the 1936 Monte Carlo Rally, where Zdeněk Pohl and Jaroslav Hausman in their ŠKODA Popular took second place in the less-than-1500cm category and 20th place in the overall rankings.
The ŠKODA Popular Monte Carlo is powered by a 1,386 ccm four-cylinder four-stroke engine putting out 30 hp. Notional top speed is 110 kph, but it has been years since this 76-year old veteran was last driven this fast. On Saturday, the ŠKODA Popular Monte Carlo will take to the road as part of the Rallye Historique which will see participants covering about 150 kilometres through pretty Bergisches Land near Cologne.
Another gem is the open 1932 ŠKODA 860 luxury car. Close to 100 were made between 1929 and 1933. “860” denotes the number of cylinders and the engine’s power, with the leading 8 referring to the water-cooled eight-cylinder inline with a displacement of 3,880 ccm, while 60 is the engine’s horsepower rating. This majestic vehicle 5,424 mm in length was made in 1932, with Prague-based coachmakers Jech customising a body for the 860.
The ŠKODA 860 on display in Bensberg is a real exception. It is one of only four ŠKODA 860 Cabriolets ever made and it is the only 860 Cabriolet to survive to this day. Following a chequered history during which it served in a fire brigade, among others, the car headed for a happy ending from the 1970s onwards. In 1974, Jaroslav Janáček of Rožnov pod Radhoštěm in what is now the east of the Czech Republic began rebuilding the car, a task he completed in the late 1990s. At the turn of the millennium, the ŠKODA Museum acquired the car. In Bensberg, the ŠKODA 860 will be competing in the Concours d’Elégance, which brings together some of the world’s finest vintage cars.
This year will see the fourth edition of the Schloss Bensberg Classics. Two years ago, the competition was admitted to the “Louis Vuitton Classic Concours Award”, putting Schloss Bensberg Classics in a league with renowned competitions such as Pebble Beach/California or Villa d'Este/Italy. The jury at Schloss Bensberg Classics features some famous names in the automobile industry, among them Giorgetto Giugiaro, Chris Bangle, Jacky Ickx and Walter de’Silva, with Franz-Josef Paefgen in the chair.