Click on the images above to view the old and new Skoda Octavia in high resolution

Skoda's mainstay model has hit the half-century mark, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year. The original 1959 Skoda Octavia was so named because it was the eighth model produced by the Czech automaker, at the time a state-owned enterprise until the Volkswagen Group came in and acquired the company in 1989. Developing a new Octavia was the first order of business for the German engineers who marched on the Czechoslovakia, which debuted in concept form in 1992 just before the communist state fell. The upheaval would mean the new Octavia wouldn't hit the market until four years later, and Volkswagen has overseen a succession of facelifts and updates since. More details can be found in the press release after the jump, and you can click on the images above to see the original and most recent Octavia in high resolution.
PRESS RELEASE

ŠKODA OCTAVIA CELEBRATES ITS 50TH BIRTHDAY

The Škoda Octavia is celebrating its 50th birthday this year after the first production of the best-seller took place in 1959. The Octavia replaced the Škoda 440, also known as 'Spartak'.

The company magazine 'Ventil' explained the meaning of the name in their January 6, 1959 issue.

"Our new vehicle has a new name too – the Škoda Octavia, as it is the eighth model produced by our nationalised industry."

The Octavia was the first model to be developed internally in 1989 after Škoda became part of VW Group. The first concept car was made in 1992. The vehicle was launched in 1996; its Octavia estate version was introduced two years later, followed by the Octavia 4x4.

In 2000 a new, modernised Octavia was introduced that is still manufactured in Mlada Boleslav today - the Octavia Tour. In February 2004 the company launched the second-generation Škoda Octavia, which was then facelifted in 2008.

Škoda, the Czech Republic's biggest car manufacturer has sold over 2 million Škoda Octavias worldwide and currently offers a vast range of trims, including the sporty Škoda Octavia RS and the Octavia Scout.