The Škoda Superb also exists in a two-door version. True, it does not bear the name Superb, and moreover, this car did not even make it into production, but it is still firmly connected to the flagship of the Mladá Boleslav brand and, thanks to its design, is unforgettable. And it’s even more than 20 years old!

We’re talking, of course, about the Škoda Tudor, a design concept unveiled in 2002 that, in simple terms, is a coupé version of the first-generation Superb – although the Tudor was originally designed independently of the Superb. But more on that later…

“We are from Wilfried Bockelmann in 2000 (then head of technical development at Škoda Auto – editor’s note) they were given the task of designing some other cars apart from the then produced trio of Fabia, Octavia and Superb. For example, the Fabia pick-up, Octavia cabriolet or Superb in the estate version were created. It was clear from the beginning that they would not be mass-produced, but it was about showing our competence for more complex tasks, in short, what the designers in Mladá Boleslav are capable of,” recalls Zdeněk Cibulka from the brand’s design department, who, under the guidance of the then chief designer Thomas Ingenlath, just designed a large four-seater coupe named Tudor.

And that interested Wilfried Bockelmann the most. So the team in the design department set to work. A 1:4 scale model was created, it was enlarged in the computer and parts for a real-size plastic model were made from it. And then the final car immediately followed. All this within a few months.

The original design looked different

The resulting concept was impressive – the 4,803 mm long, 1,765 mm wide and 1,469 mm high car with a 2,803 mm wheelbase was particularly impressive with its elegant and sleek silhouette with a gently sloping roof line. Interestingly, the original vision was different.

“At first, the car looked completely different in the drawings, because we designed a completely new show car with original front and rear parts, different from the current production,” describes Zdeněk Cibulka. “We got the green light to have a model made, but we still had to bring the appearance closer to a production car, specifically the Superb model,” he adds.

Therefore, the front mask was taken over from the serial model without major changes, and except for the different lights, also the rear part of the car.

Photo: Škoda Auto

Too bad Tudor.

The rear lamps were therefore original. And unconventional for its time. “At that time, lights were made by making a chamber, putting light bulbs in it, and the designer’s work consisted only in designing the contour shape of the light,” remembers Cibulka.

However, the Tudor does not have the turn signal and reverse light located side by side as was done up to that time, but the orange turn signal bulb is hidden behind the reverse light reflector. The light of the turn signal bulb is reflected from the reflective surface and shines around the reverse light reflector.

“In addition, it was here that the typical light signature in the shape of the letter C began to be born, which was fully developed in the second-generation Octavia,” notes Cibulka. The red cover glass of the rear lights is arranged on three sides of the reflector’s perimeter.

Another characteristic element is the stylized inscription on the rear door. It is said that the designers were already inspired by Czech crystal when designing its font. “We were looking for a font for the model name, different from the official font at the time, something simple, but at the same time distinctive,” says Zdeněk Cibulka. The sharply cut font later developed into the entire morphology that made it onto the brand’s production models.

Photo: Škoda Auto

Škoda Tudor also got a distinctive interior.

Today, we associate the Tudor coupe with an elegant dark red metallic paintwork, but originally, gray-brown metallic paint was planned. However, shortly before the premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, Škoda changed its color.

The interior is also worth mentioning, especially the dashboard with two displays. There is a large navigation display under the air conditioning vents, the second one on the center console was intended to control the air conditioning.

And the choice of drive unit was interesting. In Škodovka, they went for a 2.8-liter six-cylinder gasoline engine with 30 valves and an output of 142 kW (193 hp), connected to a five-speed manual transmission. The front wheels were driven.

The car got lost in India

After the ceremonial premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in 2002, where the coupe aroused a lot of admiring reactions, the car headed to the Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav. Not only the Czech public could see it there.

Dramatic circumstances accompanied the concept when it was loaned to India for an exhibition. After the event, Tudor disappeared, and a search was even announced for him. Fortunately, this inconvenience had a happy ending.

After several months, the car was found parked in the hall at the train station. After returning to the Czech Republic, it had to be completely renovated to its present form. Today, the Škoda Tudor is exhibited in the Škoda Museum depository in Mladá Boleslav.

“Even today, when I see the car in the museum, I feel proud of the car we managed to design back then,” concludes Zdeněk Cibulka.