As the most famous Czechoslovak ambulance, you probably remember Škoda 1203, however, even before this socialist gem saved our lives, patients were transported in slightly different cars.
It was the 1930s, and the National Statistical Office recorded in its registers 84 ambulances from Škodovka, 80 from Pragovka, 58 from Tatrovka, 3 Walter brand ambulances, 2 vehicles from Zbrojovka Brno and a single ambulance from the Prostejov company Wikov (Wichterle and Kovářík).
Many of you will surely remember that over time Wikov achieved the nickname Czech Rolls-Royce and also managed to produce the first aerodynamic car called the Drop. However, the company produced cars for a relatively short time, so not many of them have been preserved, however, among the “survivors” is the Wikov 7/28 ambulance.
Its current owner, specialist in veterans Lubomír Pešák from Olomouc’s Veteran Arena, came to the car quite by chance, through a home-made tractor with an aggregate from a stable engine. This agricultural machine was actually built on the shortened Wikov 7/28 chassis, which is why Pešák bought it together with all available parts and brought it to the workshop.
There it was found to be an almost complete Wikov 7/28 chassis with the number 285. Although it was not possible to trace what factory model this chassis originally stood on, the search began for a replacement. The initial thoughts of a racing car that heavily used the Wikov 7/28 base were eventually replaced by a focus on a funeral special, but the ambulance won out in the end.
On the one hand, it demonstrably existed at one time, and it was also possible to find two photos of the original Wikov ambulance in the Moravian State Archives. There it also turned out that the rear area for patients was not equipped by the car company itself, but by RA Smékal from Čech pod Kosířem.
Lubomír Pešák therefore ordered the renovation works, when the shortened chassis was returned to its original length and the original OHC 1477 cc in-line four-cylinder was started, which found inspiration in the Italian Ansaldo 4C models.
Subsequently, the renovators went to complete the bodywork in an identical way that the Wikov car company used in the 1930s. The whole process took three years, and the result was a fully mobile ambulance with period equipment including a mechanical siren and room for one lying or four sitting patients.
Does this seem strange to you? In practice at the time, it was nothing unusual, the cars simply changed the shape of the body as needed, therefore the model born as a family station wagon could easily be converted into a bakery van and then live out its life in the form of a racing special.
The Wikov 7/28 ambulance is headed for a public auction on the occasion of the Retro Garage auto-moto exchange, which will take place on November 11, 2023 at the Exhibition Center in Lysá nad Labem. This unique Czechoslovak gem will be auctioned from CZK 850,000, however, it has a price potential of up to CZK 1,600,000. And when you look at the Wikov ambulance model, don’t you think it’s prettier and more stylish than the classic Škoda 1203?