Vladimír Svoboda (1946 - 2020)
JUDr. Vladimír Svoboda, the Head of Sales at Eberspächer, spol. s r.o. was the first in Czechia to have taken interest in the beginnings of independent heaters. He joined the automobile industry at the beginning of the 1970s as a patent specialist in the development department of n.p. Autobrzdy Jablonec. The aim of the company was to develop globally competitive equipment while avoiding valid foreign patents to a maximum extent which were abundant in car equipment at the time of new technology implementation. It applied to components of brakes, electrical equipment as well as independent heaters. The independent heater was particularly desirable for air-cooled passenger and especially utility Tatra vehicles intended as military vehicles for the Warsaw Pact armies. When the patent could not be avoided, the license had to be purchased. In the then Czechoslovakia it was a problem of a notorious lack of foreign currency as well as equally missing materials, know-how, production technologies and all other things. Then, a very unusual idea in the then isolated COMECON community was born - production cooperation involving license element. That is a part of Eberspächer heater history too. Vladimír Svoboda personally witnessed the start of this unique cooperation between the Czechoslovak socialist enterprise and west European private company. The name of the company was Eberspächer. Mr.Svoboda´s relationship with the Esslingen-based manufacturer resulted in his company becoming the first Eberspächer representative in the Czechoslovakia in March 1991. Vladimír Svoboda is still in the field and he has proved that it is more than a job to him. Not only has he posed a question when and how the independent heater got into the car, but he has even set out to follow its trace back to the history.