Mr Emil Příhoda was born in Žižkov, Prague, on 16 April 1932. He has remained a die-hard “Žižkover” even though life took him to other parts of Prague as well as other places in the Czech Republic. He trained to be a car mechanic without having any say in it as was a custom those days. Under a job placement scheme, he started working for the car manufacturer Škoda, a.s. Praha.
Thanks to his natural curiosity and hunger for victory, so characteristic of him as a top sportsman, he made it to the “Young Škodovak“ selection. He passed his journeyman exams at the state-owned Praga plant in Prague. This predestined not only his next journey to Praga cars but also his admiration for any product made by this car manufacturer. As any young man with professional knowledge, he longed for his own car and tried to get money in any possible way. He built kayaks, which he also used in competitions, repaired and fixed bicycles, and helped repair cars also outside of his working hours.
In 1955, he got married. Two years into the marriage, the couple's first son was born, followed by a daughter two years later. At the time, Mr Příhoda was already a proud owner of the Praga Alfa, a four-cylinder convertible from 1924. The car could easily fit in the necessary prams and fully meet the family's needs while travelling across Bohemia as well as abroad.
Responsibility, hunger for knowledge and interest in new things encouraged him to study at a secondary school, and later at a university by distance learning. Even though he also worked in other fields, not just the car industry, his love of anything with the name of Praga persisted. As early as in 1957, he had his five Praga cars parked at various places in Prague and therefore decided to officially announce the establishment of a museum which he named Automuseum Praga. He carried on collecting old veteran cars. Gradually, he compiled a collection of Praga cars, passenger cars, trucks and utility vehicles, complemented with extensive documentation and other collectables, unparalleled both at home and abroad.
Over several decades, he helped by giving advice, providing missing parts or original drawings to a large number of both domestic and foreign collectors. He has always favoured the domestic industry and helped popularize Czech products, which is a sign of sincere patriotism. He put his knowledge and experience into his book titled Praga – 90 years of car manufacturing.
Despite the adversity of fate – his wife died, followed by their son at the age of 57, who was to carry on the family tradition – he has never abandoned his collection and keeps fighting for its preservation.