Through the prism of time: test drive Skoda Octavia 1962

Spending a few days driving a car in the middle of the last century is 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. But, apparently, things like ergonomics were not yet thought about, 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. Though, probably, at a traffic of those times mirrors generally were not especially necessary.

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 went off the assembly line of the plant in Czechoslovakia in 1959, becoming the successor to Skoda Spartak. This is the eighth model of the Skoda concern, and 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 power, 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 gas distribution mechanism OHV (OverHead Valve – upper valve with pushers outside the cylinder head), such engines are still found – although not in cars, but on heavy equipment.

The transmission is four-speed, with a shift lever on the handlebars. The switching scheme 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 irregularities. 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 a clear connection between the steering wheel and the 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 slipping from the handlebars of the thickness of a pinky 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 need to 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.

Several hours of road in the process of weaning away from modern comfortable cars, and it becomes clear that in general everything is tolerable. The only thing – to drive around 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 this 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 is a shaft, which transfers power from the engine under the hood to the rear axle. The advantage of this design is rigidity and relative ease – it is loved by many at the expense of its merits. The car was mass exported not only to Europe, but also to distant countries – Chile, South Africa, New Zealand. Only the frame with the units went there, and their own bodies were already in place.

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 was returned only in 1995, already in a much more familiar form for us.

Author: Kleimenova Sophia