The Škoda Popular is a small family car
that was made in Czechoslovakia
from 1933 to 1946. It was the company's most affordable car at the time.
In the early 1930s Škoda introduced a new line of cars that significantly differed from its previous products. A new design of chassis
with backbone tube
and all-around independent suspension was developed under the leadership of chief engineer Vladimír Matouš
and derived from the one introduced by Hans Ledwinka
. First used on model Škoda 420 Standard in 1933, it aimed at solving the lack of torsional stiffness of the ladder frame
The new design of chassis became the basis for models Popular (845–1,089 cc), Rapid
(1,165–1,766 cc), Favorit
(1,802–2,091 cc) and Superb
[ In 1933 Škoda had 14% share of the Czechoslovak car market and third position behind Praga and Tatra. The new range made Škoda the market leader by 1936, with 39% share in 1938.] [
The first car in the series was the Škoda 420 Standard, launched in 1933. It was a two-door saloon with 2,430 mm wheelbase and 995 cc, , four-cylinder sidevalve engine. 421 were built.
In 1934 Škoda introduced a smaller version, the 418 Popular. This had a shorter chassis and smaller engine, displacing only 902 cc and producing . A two-door saloon, two-door four-seat convertible and two-seat convertible roadster were offered, along with a commercial van with a payload.
In 1934 a team of seven Czechoslovaks including Dr Zbislav Peters, Baron Jan Nádherný z Borutína and racing driver Zdeněk Pohl drove four Škoda Popular convertibles from Czechoslovakia to India. They left Prague on 12 May, drove through Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan and India and reached Calcutta on 10 September.
Production of the 418 did not continue after 1934, and only 200 were made, but Škoda applied the "Popular" name to subsequent versions of the 995 cc model 420. In 1935 the 420 Popular body was revised and the wheelbase was increased from 2,300 mm to 2,430 mm, the same as the original 418 Standard. Noticeable changes included the increased rake of the radiator grille to give the car a more streamlined appearance. Škoda continued to offer a two-door saloon, two-door four-seat convertible, two-seat convertible roadster and commercial van versions, and enlarged the range with a four-door saloon with suicide doors.
From 1934 to 1937 Škoda built 4,200 model 420 Populars. They included 330 two-door convertibles made in 1936–37 for the Czechoslovak Army.
In 1934 Škoda launched the Popular Special Sport, which was an enclosed two-seater. Its engine was the standard 995 cc size but with its output increased to . It had a revised, streamlined body with a curved radiator grille and swept, fastback rear. From 1936 its name was shortened to Popular Special.
In January 1936 Zdeněk Pohl and Jaroslav Hausman drove a Popular in the Monte Carlo Rally, coming second in the 1,500 cc class. Škoda launched a Popular Monte Carlo model with a 1,386 cc, Škoda Rapid engine and ATE-Lockheed brakes. Its chassis was wider but had the shorter 2,300 mm wheelbase. It was offered in enclosed or convertible Roadster, Roadster de Luxe and Coupé Sport versions. King Peter II of Yugoslavia had a two-door convertible.
In 1937 Škoda applied overhead valves to the 995 cc engine to create the Popular OHV model. This produced and had a top speed of but was as economical as the sidevalve. Wheelbase was slightly increased to 2,440 mm. The Popular OHV was produced until 1938 and a total of 5,500 were made.
In 1938 Škoda enlarged the OHV engine to 1,089 cc, which increased its power to . The Popular 1100 OHV also had hydraulic brakes. Versions offered included a two-door four-seat saloon, two-door four-seat convertible, a two-seat convertible roadster, a commercial van and an ambulance. Production continued until 1946 and a total of 6,600 were made.
In 1939 Škoda revised the body of the 995 cc model and called it the Popular 995 "Liduška". The radiator grille is more curved but also more upright. Versions offered included a two-door saloon, commercial van and an ambulance. The model was produced until 1946 and a total of 1,500 were made.
In 1940 Škoda gave the 1,089 cc model the same body as the 995 "Liduška", increased its power to and called it the Popular 1101. Versions included a two-door convertible for the Royal Hungarian Army. Production continued until 1944 and a total of 1,019 were made.
After the Second World War Škoda revised the body of the Popular 1101 to create its successor model, the Škoda 1101/1102 "Tudor".
Category:Automobiles with backbone chassis
Category:Cars introduced in 1933
Category:Cars of the Czech Republic