Škoda’s predecessor Laurin & Klement built 12 BSCs back in 1908 but only one survives. It’s now joined the Škoda Museum collection
Škoda has really been putting in a shift at its museum collection lately. After restoring the last surviving 860 convertible for the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s founding, it's now set to work on a car built by the company’s predecessor, Laurin & Klement.
Built in 1908, a full 17 years before Škoda Works would buy the company and transform it into the Škoda Auto we know today, Laurin & Klement assembled 12 examples of the BSC, the ‘sporty’ trim level for the base BS offered at the time.
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Though Ransom E. Olds had already pioneered the assembly line seven years earlier in America, coach built cars were very much still the norm in Laurin & Klement’s heyday, leading to a mishmash of at least six different wheelbases for the BS, with several different body styles to match.
BSCs were the cream of the crop, its two-cylinder 1.4-litre engine’s power output cranked up from 10bhp to 12bhp. And, because the customer is always right, you could buy it as a rolling chassis for a specialist coachwork company to build a custom body on top of, or elect to take Laurin & Klement’s standard body instead.
The former option would set you back a princely sum of 5000 Austro-Hungarian krone, while an extra 500 krone would get you the standard coachwork on top. According to a currency conversion table taken from a Baedeker travel guide published a couple of years earlier, a BSC would have set an American buyer back $1375 with the standard body included, or $1250 without. By comparison, the Ford Model T which had launched the same year as the BSC was only $825. Not cheap, essentially.
This one is standard – and though its exterior features have been touched up for its Museum appearance, impressively its mechanicals are not only original but still working, including the engine. And we thought the Fabia was reliable…
Despite not being particularly well known outside its homeland, this BSC is also a movie star and an icon amongst Czech vintage collectors. Having been modified several times throughout its life, at one point this BSC was converted into a racing car for the film Dědeček automobile (Vintage Car), centred around motor racing in France.
Now, restored back to the same condition in which it left the factory 110 years prior after a two year restoration, it takes pride of place in the Škoda Museum, located in Mladá Boleslav, less than an hour’s drive from Czech capital Prague.