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Laurin & Klement


Vaclav Klement and Vaclav Laurin started a bicycle repair workshop in 1896.  It was only a short while later that they started to build their own two-wheelers which were sold under the name Slavia.  In 1898, a larger factory was built in Mlada Boleslav.  A year later, the company started with the production of motorcycles and in 1905 the first car was introduced under the name Laurin & Klement.  In 1907, the company employed more than 500 people.  The Laurin & Klement make also invested a great deal of money in racing and not without success.  Between 1908 and 1911, the make won no less than 57 first prizes, 25 second prizes and 11 third prizes.  In 1912, Laurin & Klement took over the RAF motorcar factory.  This made them the largest car manufacturer in Austria.  After the war, the town of Mlada Boleslav was part of the new republic of Czechoslovakia.

During the first few years, production has hardly affected, but there was new competition from the manufacturers Tatra and Praga.  In order to strengthen the position on the internal market, the company merged with Skoda in 1925.  Up until 1928, the cars were sold as Laurin & Klement-Skoda.  Thereafter, the words Laurin & Klement were dropped.  Once again, an illustrious make had disappeared from the market for ever.

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