History

Explore the history of the Praga's 113 years of engineering excellence.

Born in 1907

1910s

The Praga brand was founded over 100 years ago and the company has since designed, engineered and manufactured hundreds of thousands of automobiles, trucks and buses, motorcycles, airplanes, military and agricultural machinery. Consumer-driven model line-ups and bespoke solutions to challenging technical briefs were introduced across Praga’s portfolio . Praga became one of Central Europe’s biggest automotive engineering firms in the first half of the 20th Century and grew to become one of Czechoslovakia’s “big three” brands.

Praga Charon

Praga Mignon 1911 – 1924

Praga V & T

Praga Grand 1912 – 1921

Praga L & LD

Praga Alfa 1913

Praga R

Praga K

Praga N

Growing in the twenties

1920s

Motorcycles and motorsport – Praga’s specialisms did not just focus on automobile production. The company grew quickly and diversified into the production of trucks and buses as well as agricultural technology. Praga’s now highly regarded lead engineer J. F. Koch also moved the brand onto two wheels with our first official motorcycle, the Praga 500 BDS. The bike proved to be most popular in its sidecar configuration and was also successful as a racing bike and expedition workhorse.

Roaring twenties – But automobile production remained the key focus during the 1920s, Praga’s most successful decade so far as a car manufacturer. The company continued to produce the popular Alfa, Grand and Mignon types, upgrading the cars through several technical and design iterations to produce vehicles tailored to rapidly changing market demands. A new type of Piccolo was introduced in 1924 as a smaller car than the Praga Alfa and representing a more affordable vehicle instantly popular amongst Central Europe’s growing market of first-time car buyers. It became Praga’s most popular pre-war automobile.

Praga agriculture – Praga began to manufacture three types of motorised ploughs from 1913 through until 1925, subsequently licencing the successful design out to several factories in Europe. Praga’s growth was challenged by the Great Depression and well documented political upheaval in the region from the 1930s, but these difficult circumstances did not reduce Praga’s influence in the first half of the 20th Century.

Praga Mignon 1911 – 1924

Praga Grand 1912 – 1921

Praga L & LD

Praga R

Praga K

Praga N

Praga Grand 1922 – 1926

Praga Alfa 1922 – 1926

Praga Piccolo 1924 – 1926

Praga AN

Praga Mignon 1925 – 1929

Praga MN and LN

Praga Alfa 1926 – 1928

Praga Alfa 1927 – 1929

Praga Grand 1927 – 1932

Praga Piccolo 1927

Praga Piccolo 1928 – 1932

Praga 500 BDS

Praga AT

Praga Alfa 1929 – 1933

PRAGA TAKES OFF

1930s

Despite the impact of the Great Depression the 1930s represent probably the most diverse period in the company’s history. Praga continues to manufacture existing models and develops new models, Baby, Golden, Lady and Super Piccolo (an upgraded version of the Praga Piccolo). The Praga 500 BDS motorcycle is followed by a new 300 BCS and Praga continues with the production of trucks and buses including the type TOT, the company’s first trolleybus. Another new direction for the company’s portfolio is the production of light tanks supplied to a diverse range of armies in Sweden, Ethiopia, Romania, Iran, Peru, Switzerland, Latvia and, of course, Czechoslovakia.

Praga takes to the skies – The most significant development in the 30s is the production of Praga aircraft, with the Praga E.114 ‘Air Baby’ single-engine sport airplane leading an airborne revolution for the company.

Praga L & LD

Praga N

Praga AN

Praga MN and LN

Praga Grand 1927 – 1932

Praga 500 BDS

Praga AT

Praga Piccolo 1928 – 1932

Praga Alfa 1929 – 1933

Praga 350 BCS

Praga E-39

Praga Piccolo 1932 – 1933

Praga Piccolo 1932 – 1934 (P201-5)

Praga TNSPE

Praga BH-111

Praga TN (TND) ; TO

Praga SND (SNDgs)

Praga RN

Praga P-1

Praga Baby 1934

Praga Golden 1934 – 1935

Praga Super Piccolo

Praga Piccolo 1934 (P 306-307)

Praga RND

Praga Air Baby (E-114)

Praga Baby 1935 – 1937

Praga Lady 1935 – 1937

Praga T III – T9

Praga RV

Praga AH-IV

Praga AV

Praga Alfa 1937 – 1942

Praga Golden 1937 – 1938

Praga Piccolo 1937 – 1941

Praga TOT

Praga E-210

Praga Lady 1938 – 1947

Praga LT vz. 38

Praga E-51

Praga E-211

PRAGA BATTLES ON

1940s

The Second World War brought subordination of the factories to the German occupation forces and Praga’s experienced engineers and employees are forced to produce military vehicles and machinery, predominantly the light tank LT mk.38 and transport vehicles. Unsurprisingly this production is affected by several acts of sabotage by patriotic employees, yet Praga still manages to produce some cars, including the Alfa, Piccolo and Lady, along with some trucks and buses.

During an allied bombardment in 1945, nearly 90 per cent of the company’s production facilities are severely damaged forcing a move to Vysočany after the war. A final 97 Praga Lady cars are produced, marking the end of automobile production at Praga as the company focused only on production of trucks and buses; vehicles of greater demand in the region at the time and in the political circumstances.

Praga AN

Praga MN and LN

Praga AT

Praga SND (SNDgs)

Praga RN

Praga Air Baby (E-114)

Praga RND

Praga RV

Praga T III – T9

Praga AH-IV

Praga Alfa 1937 – 1942

Praga Piccolo 1937 – 1941

Praga Lady 1938 – 1947

Praga LT vz. 38

Praga E-114

Praga A150

Praga E-1

PRAGA GOES TO WORK

1950s and 60s

Praga’s industrial focus was predominantly defined by post-war strategies from the 50s leading to the sole production of trucks . Two very popular models are manufactured: the Praga V3S, an all-terrain utility vehicle produced at first for military purposes, but soon becoming popular for civil purposes, and the S5T, a more road-oriented option of the V3S. Owing to their reputation for reliability and versatility, the V3S and S5T build a popular following; it is not unusual to meet a V3S on Czech roads even today following almost forty years of unbroken production. After further rearrangement of the Czech car industry in 1964, Praga’s factories are completely recommissioned to produce transmission components for the majority of Czechoslovak-manufactured trucks, removing Praga from the map of automotive manufacturers for the next 30 years.

Praga RN

Praga RND

Praga AH-IV

Praga A150

Praga V3S

Praga S5T

A NEW DAWN

1990s

Enduro bikes – Praga revived its two-wheel history in the 90s, manufacturing a motocross and enduro motorcycle and tempting experienced engineers from the more established Jawa Strašnice bike brand to join the rejuvenated company. First prototypes were introduced in 1997 and the production of ED 250 started the following year. The bike was later available in an homologated option suitable for road traffic. Even though “enduros” represent only a small chapter in Praga’s history, they achieved racing success with Phil Converse, who came second in the 1999 USA Motorcycle Cross Country Series on his Praga ED 250, and Martin Lind who came 7th in the 2000 world championships on his Praga ED 610.

Keep on truckin’ – Praga also continued its truck production manufacturing several models specialising in utility vehicles for difficult terrain conditions. The Type UV 80 was followed by several models branded with names of cars from the beginning of the 20th century, the Alfa TN and UN, Golden and Grand. These vehicles were popular with private businesses and especially the State for extreme work environments such as road maintenance and the fire brigade.

Praga V3S

Praga ED 250

Praga ED 610

Praga Grand 2001

Praga Golden 2001

Praga Alfa UN & TN