After Gavrilo Princip had shot dead the heir to the
Austrian throne, Franz Ferdinand d’Este, on 28 June
1914, car manufacturers started looking for forms of
competition other than times achieved on racetracks.
were fired in
On the start line again
A decimated Europe was slow to recover from the ravages
of war. The first race in the newly founded Czechoslovakia
took place in September 1920 on a 129.6 km circuit. Of the
12 participants, Pavel Münzer won on a 4.7-litre L&K type Mf.
The Zbraslav – Jíloviště uphill race in 1922 with 95 racers on
the start line was more attractive. The under-2.8 l class was
won by Bertrand in an L&K (3:59.05). Breuer beat all rivals
in this car in the Schöber uphill race in 1922, including in
the five-litre category. Held for the first time in 1922, Ecce
Homo became a famous event and still exists today. Driving
an L&K race car on a 7.75 km track, Bertrand beat all his
rivals with a time of 6:53.3, including Mittermüller in a Tatra
whose engine was twice as big.
Zbraslav at the start. Driver Svoboda in an
L&K RK/M 5.3 l wins the trophy for the fastest
series-production car (1922). Today, the RK/M OHV
can be seen at the National Technical Museum.
In the mid-1920s, the Mladá Boleslav car manufacturer stopped appearing at motorsport events for
some time. The company’s overall situation resulted
in a merger with ŠKODA, a Pilsen-based engineering
group, in 1925. To support the domestic automotive
industry, the Autoklub held 1,000 Miles of Czechoslovakia for three consecutive years, the first of
which was in June 1933. Drivers had to complete the
Prague-Bratislava-Prague route twice. ŠKODA entered
the race with three 637s (six-cylinder vehicles) that
came 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the under-two-litre class. In
1934 the brand finished second in the under-2,000 cm³
category. In the third (final) run in 1935, Antonín
Komár / Vladimír Houšť finished 5th.
6 | 120 years on the racetrack
Zbraslav–Jíloviště uphill race of 1921.
An L&K driven by Kern from Jihlava
wins the under-5 l class.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing – what seems
to be a touring car by L&K (driven
by Bertrand) actually had a 2,660 cm3
Sm engine under the bonnet and,
probably also an OHV valve train.
ŠKODA RAPID SIX for 1,000 Miles
of Czechoslovakia (1935). This car was
based on the 637 with a central frame and
a six-cylinder 1,961 cm3 engine, generating
36.8 kW (50 hp) with a top speed of 130 kph.