Through the prism of time: test drive Skoda Octavia 1962

Spend a few days driving a car from the middle of the last century – an invaluable experience.

From modern cars cars of that time differ slightly more than completely. Some solutions cause huge questions – for example, the fuel tank opening opens with a ringlet from the passenger compartment. Everything is almost customary, but the ringlet is next to the rear sofa, on the right. That is, to hide it even further from the driver is impossible even on purpose. Apparently about such things as ergonomics, then did not think about it, but it was technically easier to do so.

Another oddity – cars have only one side rearview mirror – left, plus saloon. Why “clamped” the second side – remains a mystery, the design of the machine does not interfere with its installation. Although, perhaps, with the traffic of those times, mirrors were not really needed at all.

The third point is the lever of the turn signals. He is on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel and moves for some reason up and down. Up – right turn signal, down – left.

The first Octavia came off the assembly line of the plant in Czechoslovakia in 1959, becoming the successor of Skoda Spartak. This is the eighth model of the Skoda concern, from there the name (octo – eight). Our car – 1962, this is the Type 702 version, which appeared in 1961 and was equipped with a motor of increased capacity, due to improvements, 2 horsepower was added.

So under the hood – a 42-horsepower engine with a volume of 1089 cm3. The twisting moment – 72 Nanometers at 3000 turns. How many “horses” have survived for almost 55 years – it’s not known how to drag yourself into the hill, despite the small weight, it’s already hard for the car. The passport maximum speed is 115 kilometers per hour. But now to such indicators the old woman can be dispersed, only if at very long movement under a bias. Nevertheless, in their best years, it was these “Skoda” that successfully participated even in the Monte Carlo rally.

For those times the engine was considered very progressive – the OHV gas distribution mechanism (OverHead Valve – upper valve with pushers outside the cylinder head), such engines are still found – though not in cars, but on heavy equipment.

The transmission is four-speed, with a shift lever on the handlebars. The switching circuit is inverted, this also takes some time to get used to. The first transfer – from itself and upwards, the second – from itself and downwards, the third – simply upwards, the fourth – simply downwards. The back stroke is strong on itself and down.

Suspension – front spring, with lateral levers, rear – with swinging semi-axles and lateral spring. On broken roads, the car quite comfortably swallows unevenness. But the management of such a car is not at all like a trip on a relatively new car. Feelings do not go to any comparison, even with 20-25 summer specimens. No complete obedience or clear connection of the steering wheel-wheel-steering wheel. The machine can simply be directed in the right direction and reconciled with the fact that it constantly needs to “catch” on sudden jumps from side to side.

Add to this sliding out of the hands of the handlebars with a thickness of pink with a backlash in half a turn, heat in the cabin – the air-conditioning then did not dream, drum brakes on all wheels, and it becomes clear that the profession of the driver in those years was really hard work. Of course, we must make a discount on the fact that the “Skoda” is almost 55 years old, and it is far from perfect, but in general the differences with modern cars are enormous.

A few hours of road in the process of getting out of new comfortable cars, and it becomes clear that in general everything is tolerable. The only thing – to disperse with oncoming cars on narrow roads with such a “chatter” – a serious test for nerves.

The salon is very small, the rear sofa is more for children, although the brochure represents the car as a full four-seater. But the driver’s seat is organized comfortably. The front sofa, although it is one-piece, has an adjustment. True, the front passenger will have to adjust to the driver – moving all together.

Skoda Octavia is built on a tubular spinal frame – originally a Czech word in the automotive world. This design was invented in the 20s of the last century and was first used on Tatra cars. Later it was adopted in Skoda – in modern cars such a design is no longer used, but Tatra trucks on the spinal frame are still successfully produced.

The main difference of the spinal frame is the construction, which is based on the central tube, inside it there is a shaft transmitting power from the engine under the hood to the rear axle. The advantage of such a design is rigidity and relative ease – it is loved by many due to its merits. The car was massively exported not only to Europe, but also to distant countries – Chile, South Africa, New Zealand. There went only a frame with units, and on-site were already making their own bodies.

The history of the Octavia model is 57 years old, but the modern Skoda Octavia is not the direct successor of that car from the middle of the last century. In 1971, the car stopped producing – the last Skoda Octavia Combi came off the assembly line, the model returned only in 1995, already in a much more familiar form for us.