Praga is a manufacturing company based in Prague, Czech Republic. The company produced automobiles, karts and planes. The Praga V3S 5-ton truck was used by the Czechoslovak Army for more than half a century.
Praga was founded in 1907 to build motor cars as a venture between entrepreneur František Ringhoffer and the company 1. českomoravská továrna na stroje (“First Bohemian-Moravian Machine Works”, later a founding part of the ČKD factories). Ringhoffer only stayed for one year and in 1909 the trade name Praga (“Prague” in Latin) was adopted. One of its early models was built under licence from the Italian company of Isotta Fraschini.
In 1929 Praga merged with ČKD, one of Czechoslovakia’s largest engineering companies.
In 1929 ČKD’s BDmotorcycle was re-branded under the Praga marque. This was an advanced four-stroke single-cylinderunit constructiondouble overhead camshaft model of 500cc designed in 1927 by JF Koch. The “BD” designation was retained as its model name.
In 1932 Praga added a second motorcycle model, the BC. This had a single overhead camshaft engine of 350cc, shaft drive and a pressed steelframe. Praga ended production of both motorcycle models in 1933.
The factory was largely destroyed by air raids in 1945. After the Second World War it was rebuilt and resumed truck and bus construction. The firm was nationalized in October 1945. Passenger cars (only the mid-sized Lady) were also manufactured in small numbers until 1947, for use by government officials.
The M53/59 Praga was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun developed in the late 1950s. It consists of a heavily modified Praga V3S 6 wheel drive truck chassis and twin 30 mm AA autocannon.
In 2006 the Praga brand was purchased by the British company International Truck Alliance with the intention to produce trucks under the Praga brand in Lublin, Poland. In 2007 it produced gearboxes and hydraulic machinery. Later, the brand returned to the Czech company Praga-Export s.r.o.
In June 2011 the company unveiled their new race car Praga R4 at the Dutch Supercar Challenge in Belgium. It has an eight-cylinder engine of 520 hp, and has not yet been homologated for normal road traffic. According to its owner Petr Ptáček, the company is taking gradual steps, so that Praga cars will not only be seen on racetracks, but also made road-legal.
The Praga R1 from 2012 is a race car which competed in the Dutch Supercar Challenge and Britcar sports car racing. In 2016, the company delivered the first limited edition of the supersport road car Praga R1R, a derivative of the R1 race-car. This marks the first road-legal car under the Praga brand since 1947.