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Ivan Llendl and Martina Navratilova are two of the big names to come from out of the Czech Republic, but can you guess the other? No it’s not a sport’s star but one of the world’s oldest car marques – Skoda.

Skoda had its beginnings way back in 1894 when a bookseller by the name of Vaclav Clement had problems with his broken bicycle. Common sense told him that he should pack up his bike and send it off to its German manufacturers. He did so, but he received a reply from the German workshop: “If you want your bike fixed, then please send it with a written letter in a language that we can understand.” Totally ticked off at the reply, he packed his books away and started his own bicycle business in the Czech Republic. Vaclav Clement recruited his friend Vaclav Lauria, and together they manufactured some very popular bicycles.

It was in the early 1900s that they both turned their attention to the four-wheeled motorcar. Their first car, the Vorturette A, rolled off the production line, and people liked the car very much. The Vorturette A, in the Czech Republic, is a classic.

In 1924 a disastrous fire ripped through the whole factory, and left it entirely gutted. The two men looked to Skoda for help. Skoda was the Czech’s biggest industrial enterprise, and in the years to follow Skoda was to make all sorts of different vehicles.

In 1987 the Skoda Favorit was designed and popped into production. This was to be Skoda’s greatest car yet, and the little Skoda Favorit became very popular around the globe. Success continued to build, particularly when Volkswagen hooked up with Skoda in 1991.

Today Skoda’s reliability, quality and design are amongst the best of them, and in Germany Skoda has become the fastest growing brand. In the early 2000s, a number of the Skoda vehicles captured prestigious awards. In 2005,

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