LIAZ

LIAZ  logo-liaz

The abbreviation LIAZ means Liberecke Automobilove Zavody, it was a czech
truck manufacturer.
There was a car production in Liberec since 1906, when Reichenberger Automobil Fabrik, RAF, started manufacturing of cars, trucks and coaches. During the first world war RAF joined together with Laurin & Klement from Mladá Boleslav (todays Škoda) and the car division of Škoda in Pilsen. They produced trucks and parts for cars untill the second world war started.
After the second world war was the activities were taken over by the state, and in 1951 a truck production was started up, at factories in Rýnovice, Jablonec nad Nisou and Ministovy Hradiste.
The new era started officially, when the new LIAZ company , was established in Jablonec nad Nisou at 1.1.1953.
The trade name LIAZ was used from 1974.
The production range expanded to trailors, heavy tractors, trailor tractors, platform trucks and engines. The Liaz company expanded, with factories in Mìlník, Zvolen (Slovakia), Velký Krtíš (Slovakia), Poerov and Holýšov. In the 1989 Liaz produced 18 000 vehicles and 23 000 engines. LIAZ became one of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in Czechoslovakia.
But the dramatic political changes in eastern Europe after 1989 made changes in short time.
At 1.5.1992 Liaz privatization began, and in august 1995 Škoda Pilsen bought 52,4 % share of stocks. The company´s name changed to Škoda Liaz a.s.
But the economic condition of the company was much more difficult. The new product – Škoda Liaz Xena – coudln´t help, the competition was too hard. The last model, Fox, was a tipper, an ideal vehicle, but it came too late.
Since august 1998 all the vehicles have been named Škoda. In 1998 a new manager was elected who was the 6th one during the past 8 years. In 1998 the production was only 309 trucks, in 1999 only 133.
In .2000 Sipox Holding from Slovakia became the new owner of Liaz. New name of the company was Liaz Sipox a.s. .
The very last Liaz truck was made on 1.9.2003.

TEDOM a.s., Engines Division is the successor company of Liberecke automobilove zavody – LIAZ (Liberec Automobile Works – LIAZ) that was originally established in 1953. The company underwent massive technical and operational development and became an internationally recognized company that exported its products successfully to many countries around the world.

In 2003 the company became a member of TEDOM Holding, which had long been an important customer of LIAZ engines. The engine production is incorporated into the TEDOM Holding as an independent division based in Jablonec nad Nisou.

The first Paris – Dakar race
This has a special place in the history of Liaz Company. It was not just about trucks, but also about a motorcycle with the Rotax engine built and modified in Liaz, with which Pavel Orth from Jablonec n / N participated in this race.

In November 1983 the office of engine designers of the LIAZ national company in Jablonec nad Nisou got the idea to participate in Paris – Dakar rally with Liaz. In the spring 1984 the managing director finally decided that two Liaz trucks would participate in the next year’s “Dakar”. They only had the information about this race from foreign magazines. They needed to find someone, who had participated in this race, and therefore had required experiences. Finally, Frenchman Alain Galland became this source of information. During the three days continuous interrogation he willingly answered all questions.

He left the Liaz people with a workbook full of notes and the preparation for the race began. The main task was to build a truck capable of making it all the way to Dakar. In Mnichovo Hradište works on building this truck began and in July so-called “truck zero” left the company. The stage of development of the special truck followed. The truck zero was tested under various conditions and subsequently it was adapted accordingly. One of the tests was conducted on the hard field surface at a speed of around 110 km/h. After Alain had personally tested the truck he said that no other vehicle in the world can do it. It was necessary to drive as many kilometers as possible with this truck in order to detect possibly any and all shortcomings. After all tests and adjustments were made on the truck zero the production of two race specials started.

At the start of the 7th year of the Dakar race there were really two Liaz trucks. The first one had the starting number 626 and its crew consisted of Jiří Moskal, Jaroslav Joklík and Radek Fencl. The crew of Liaz number 627 consisted of Alain Galland, Zdeněk Kovář and Josef Brzobohatý. Both trucks passed the prologue with great results – they placed the fifth and the sixth of fifty-four trucks. In Europe only the connecting stage in Sete followed, from where rally participants were transported by ferry to Algiers. So, the true racing starts up in Africa.

However, in the first African stage (Algiers – El Golem) the first problems came. On a hard bumpy road steering rods of both vehicles were bent. In addition, Liaz 627 had a problem with broken rear shock absorbers and failed the limit of this stage as a result (15 penalty hours). However, Liaz 626, managed to arrive within the limit. In the next stage, which leads to In Salah, the 627 truck drove carefully as the crew was afraid of the connecting rod. This time number 626 failed the limit. After this stage Alain says that both vehicles have to give up because they are poorly prepared. Others, however, agreed that the bars had to be strengthened by welded reinforcements. Each crew used different solution of reinforcements, but the point is that both vehicles can continue. However, Alain disagrees and surrenders. Due to this Liaz 626 is eliminated from the competition, but Zdeněk Kovář and Josef Brzobohatý are determined to reach Dakar even out of the competition. Therefore only the vehicle no. 627 completes the next stage, In Ekker, within the competition; the other vehicle continues out of the competition.

From this moment on 627 continues without major problems until Agadés. There the crew checked the front axle, which during the previous stage did humming noise, and discovered that the rolling bearing broke down. The exchange is not possible, so the axle must withstand up to Dakar. Experienced racers say that if you make it to Agadés, so the worst is over and you can usually make it to Dakar. So, the Liaz racers hope it’s true a that the vehicle with the damaged front axle and broken rear shock absorbers can make it.

In the end, Liaz truck really made it and so the first Czechoslovak truck, Liaz 627, made it to the end of Paris Dakar Rally on 22 January, 1985. The winner of that year of the rally among trucks was Karl-Friedrich Capito with Mercedes before Jan de Rooy with DAF. Although he led from the start he lost his victory in one of the last stages up in Senegal, which led through the canopy of the trees. Branches crashed into cabs of large trucks and threatened to break the windshield. Thus only small Unimogs, one of which was driven by Capito, were able to drive at a full speed. Despite de Rooy in an effort to catch the limit completely destroyed the cab and shattered the windshield, all big trucks including de Rooy got penalty for missing the limit that was why he missed the victory. Liaz 627 in the end placed the 13th among all trucks, which was a wonderful result. The second Liaz also finished the Dakar rally, but due to the surrender of one of the crew members it only did so out of competition.

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