Saturday, October 15, 2011

1958 Skoda 440 - Save It From Becoming A Lawn Ornament...

Skoda and Wartburg were the only Eastern European car manufacturers brave enough (dumb enough?) to attempt to market their cars in the US during the height of the Cold War.

They didn't sell many, but a few did manage to find homes. (Click here to see some amusing / scary mail directed at the car's importer, courtesy of wartburgusa.com.) This is one of those cars.

In 1958 the 440 was priced around $100.00 more than the standard VW Beetle. It came with a front mounted 1100cc engine. Like the VW, it was slow (top speed: 72 MPH, 0-60: 34 seconds), but got good gas mileage (35 MPG). The interior was - when compared to the VW - decently appointed and comfortable. By most accounts it was a well built, reliable car.

One of the coolest / oddest features of the 440 was the windshield and rear window being interchangeable.

This 440 is rough. Very rough. The seller was thinking of using it as yard sculpture. (He must have car geeks as neighbors.) It may be too far gone to be restored, but it looks to be fairly complete and most likely has some very usable parts. It's certainly too good to become sculpture.

Located in Saint Louis, MO, click here to see the eBay listing.

8 comments:

Trevor said...

Nice to know that we have a long and illustrious history of hating car importers. Sadly the feeling is alive and well in most of the country. I've even had well educated relatives say "I'm not employing any Americans" by driving a VW everyday.

Anonymous said...

By the time you are done spending thousands to restore this, you might be able to get back your original $400.

Unfortunately, not every car is worth saving.

Just A Car Geek said...

Anon - I agree to an extent.

As I said in the post, this is probably best used as a parts car.

But, as you've probably figured out from the cars I feature, I feel that it's often cool just to restore a car for the sake of restoring it and not worrying about its value.

I'm a big fan of restoring a car and using it. Hopefully the fun of the restoration, the driving experience and the knowledge of knowing you've "saved" (for lack of a better word) a little piece of automotive history will more than make up for any monetary loss.

Dave

Anonymous said...

Come to Aussie..I'll sell you my entire collection of Skoda Octavia sedans, wagons [Combi] and Felicia convertibles...my 1202 Combi wagon was featured in a write up on here a few years ago..I've still got it...sadly Skodas are a marque with less followers. Spam: google around you'll find my cars if you are in Aussie wanting one.
cheers Rusty

Just A Car Geek said...

Rusty - email me some links to your cars. I'll feature them.

Dave

rrshadow2 said...

rarely would I ever suggest this, but the comment about spending thousands to restore a car with a value of around $400.00 is correct, This car would be best used as the base of some sort of custom job, powered by a V8 engine, using tail lights from some other car, pretty much use what you DO have and everything else borrow from other cars to get this back on the road. Nobody else is going to show up at the local cruise night in a Skoda

Anonymous said...

thanks dave...will do [ps I have weirder cars than this...hee hee]

rrshadow2..I agree with you on cars that are rough can be candidates for rodding...

unfortunately the chassis on these skodas..although incredibly robust [infact believe it or not these chassis do not look much different to Skoda chassis used during the war including on I believe Amoured cars although a larger version]...how do I know..I am into military vehicles too [keeping my 1102 roadster./convertible to build [or dream to build] a fake WW2 staff car...basically the design is the same basics ie; strong..a centre chassis tube not rails]

although very strong the centre tube makes it difficult to fit anything longer than skoda transmission, as cutting the tube will destroy said chassis.]

ironically there are few decent skodas available in australia as enthusiasts do hold onto the good ones, and few restoration projects come up...maybe thats because years ago i bought em all hee hee...sadly Ill health means i must part with mine..Skoda enthusiasts are a loyal bunch so although few and far between those into Skodas rarely part with their good ones.{ A friend just imported 2 nice ones from their homeland as restored ones are hard to find.]

cheers rusty

Rancher said...

That is a pity not have any more information and/or contact for anonymous from Australia to address him personally.
We used to have a contact on Major Warwick family - Skoda 440 dealer and racer in Mobilgas Trial but all was lost after PC damage. :(
To know more about Skoda 440, pls, do not hesitate to visit www.spartaky.cz - web dedicated to this model.
If you have information and/or pictures about old skodas from 50th found abroad they are welcome on my email.

See my Skoda 440 with me

Just to continue the story of Black Skoda 440 from Saint Louis, Missouri. Reportedy it has been sold to lsome Museum.