Škoda celebrates 60 years of the Octavia name in 2019, with more than 500,000 examples having found homes in the UK since the very first model rolled onto our roads in 1959. The eighth post-war car to be designed and built at Mladá Boleslav, the Octavia took its name from the Latin word for eight – octo. In terms of design and engineering, the Octavia featured the same advanced tubular backbone chassis design as its predecessor (the 440/445) but introduced more sophisticated coil spring suspension that transformed the driving experience.
Power came from a 1.1-litre four-cylinder engine that developed just 40Ps. A modestly more powerful 1.2-litre, 45Ps engine arrived later the same year, followed by a range-topping 50Ps in March 1960.
By the early 1960s, Škoda’s export drive was in full swing. The Octavia’s combination of elegant looks, robust engineering and fi ne value made it a hit with British buyers, while the availability of a new estate version broadened its appeal even further. The arrival of the rear-engined 1000/1100MB in 1964 marked the end of the road for the first-generation Octavia saloon. However, with its replacement unsuited to an estate car layout, the Octavia estate remained in production at Kvasiny until 1971.
Between 1959 and 1971, a total of 360,000 Octavias were produced, including more than 54,000 estate versions. 1,451,636 examples of a new-generation Octavia Mk1 were built from 1996-2004, followed by 2,274, 529 of the 2004-2013 Mk2. The current Mk3 has sold over 2.5 million examples since 2013.