Hidden Skodas: Unlocking the brand's secret museum room

In his role, the third-generation Velebný leads a team of five people at the depository: one engine specialist, two bodywork specialists and another two ‘hybrid’ specialists. “And me, the boss,” adds Velebný.

But for him, this is much more than a day job. “Of course,” he laughs when asked if he owns any classic Skodas himself. The list he rattles off doesn’t disappoint. In his five-car garage sits a Favorit Rally – currently being restored with his son – and a Skoda Formula 3 car which is “on the waiting list”.

But his prize possession is something of a gem: Skoda’s sole-running Le Mans car, which finished fifth in 1950’s 24-hour event. Adorned with the number 44, it has been fully restored by Velebný over six years, and he now campaigns it in the Le Mans Classic event each year. “Many projects,” he says. “It is like having my own museum at home, but there is not enough space!”

Back in the workshop, filled with period machinery used on a daily basis, we again look over the 110 L Rallye, today being readied for a special display at the museum. “This building is more than 100 years old,” says Velebný, pointing at the tattered walls and beamed ceiling. “We are restoring historic cars in a historic building.”

Skoda 1000MB

Skoda’s first mass-produced car could easily be billed as the Czech Ford Anglia. As well as being the debut for the brand’s new frameless platform (no more frame-on-chassis designs), the 1964 1000 MB was powered by a 36bhp 1.0-litre rear-mounted four-pot at a time when anything other than a front-mounted powerplant was rarely considered.

Sixty years on it can still eat up the miles, although too much speed tends to transfer weight to the rear and the steering becomes light. Quirky touches come in the form of a pre-EV-era ‘frunk’ and a grille that drops down to reveal a spare wheel.

Skoda Popular Monte Carlo

skoda popular monte carlo front three quarter

Just 10 of these grilled-light specials were built, and three  remain. This late-1930s GT was commissioned following the brand’s second-place finish at the 1936 Monte Carlo Rally.

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