SKODA (part II)
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The unknown sport models
Although a purely cheap range of cars, the post-war period of Skoda features also interesting sporting cars. Above (first and second pics), the Skoda "Sport" (1949), equipped with 1100, 1200 o 1500 cc. engines taken from the normal production. These engines can have one or two Roots compressors, the max power can reach even the 180 hp on the 1500 twin-compressor, absolutely not bad for the period! In the third pic above, the "Super Sport" (1950), with the same technical features of the "Sport".
All these cars were still at the level of the Western cars: during the '50s, the technical tradition of Skoda was still immune from the Soviet planning. Above, other expressions of this period, final developements of the "Spartak/Octavia" with front engine: the Skoda "1101 typ 968" coupè and roadster (three pics of the roadster and two pics of the coupè), experimentally realized during the late '50s. The engine was the same 1100 of the "Octavia", but modified with a new DOHC head, that gives a power of 92 hp (very good power!); the coachwork was all-aluminium. These cars are the last expression of the "first period" of Skoda: during the '60s, all the old production was replaced by the rear-engine models, surely less refined, although often with interesting special versions.
From the rear-engine models, even a Formula 3 car was obtained! Up, the Skoda F3 (1963), equipped with a 1000 cc.engine, 90 hp; the max speed was 210 km/h, and the weight of 410 kg. This car had a poor success in the international competitions, but, considering the cheap and simple layout, it was produced for the national "Skoda Trophy", as "entry-level" car to enter in the world of the competitions.
Above, the Skoda "Super Sport 1100" of the 1971 (first, second, third and fourth pics above), a coupè with liftable roof and with the engine of the "S-110R" (boosted up to 75 hp, 180 km/h of max speed), and the "Super Sport Ferat" of the 1981 (fifth and sixth pics), that was simply the "Super Sport 1100" of ten years ago...but rebuilted for a movie (a sort of Czechoslovakian "Knightrider")! It's a shame that the "Super Sport Ferat" was realized only for a movie...
In the three pics above, another beautiful prototype realized on the base of the rear-engine models: the "1100 GT-UVMV" of the 1971, always powered by the "S-110 R" engine with 75 hp. This car was probably realized on Skoda components by another little factory, in very limited series. It's a shame that the "1100 Super Sport", the "Ferat" and the "1100 GT-UMVM" never went in effective production (the "Super Sport" was realized in single copy): they were not different from many Western cars with the same layout (Talbot-Matra "Murena", Fiat "X1/9", etc.)!
In the first and second pics above, another "Formula Junior": the Skoda "MTX 1-01" of the 1971, always with a 1100 cc. engine derived from the normal "S-110". In the third, fourth and fifth pics, instead, the "B5 Spider" of the 1972: it had a 1500 cc. DOHC engine with 150 hp, 220 km/h! With the same engine, also the car in the sixth pic was realized: the "Baghira", realized in the 1977-78, with a very aggressive look. Therefore, although the strong limits of the Soviet-style industrial plan and the lack of resources, Skoda realized enough good racing cars during the Communist period.
Years '80s and recent models
The car in first and second pics above signed a new era for the Czech brand. It's the "Favorit" (same name of the pre-war model), launched in the 1987 (although it was designed at least six years before), first front-wheel drive by Skoda. The styling was realized by Bertone...ok, it's not a masterpiece of design, but the Italian designer was forced to use components already in production, as windows, headlights, etc. Although this outstanding limitation, the aerodynamic is enough good, with a Cx=0,36. With the "Favorit" (called "Forman" in the station wagon version, third pic above), the early automatic machine-tools were used, specifically for the production of this model. The engine, 1300 cc, 63 hp (54 with catalyzer), is the same of the "136 LS", but placed in the front; also a 1143 cc was realized, but only for the national market. The suspensions, very soft (differently from the very hard Lada Samara), are McPherson-type in the front, and with interconnected wheels in the rear.
The "Favorit" obtained a good success also in the Western countries, although the assembling was still imperfect. The Skoda planned to produce other versions, but they never went in production: in the first and second pics, the pleasant three-doors version, and, in the third pic, the sedan version (it reminds me the Fiat "Regata"!). In the fourth and fifth pics, instead, two racing evolutions: the "Favorit-H", with a Volkswagen 1600 cc. engine boosted to 175 hp (210 km/h), and the very outstanding "Favorit 4x4", realized for the Paris-Dakar and equipped with the engine of the Tatra "613" placed centrally (V8, 3500 cc, air-cooled)!
In the early '90s, the Volkswagen bought the Czech brand. In the 1995, the new "Felicia" was launched (another reprise of an old name), substantially a renewed "Favorit", with new windows, new rear door, new headlights and interiors (the rear headlights were the same of the "Golf"), and with a better assembling. The old 1300 cc was improved, it was available also in a "multipoint" version (68 hp); also new Volkswagen engines were fitted under the cowl, 1.6 with 75 hp, and 1.9 diesel. Above, in the first and second pics, the '95 model and the last version (with the front headlights taken from the "Octavia"). Even a special pick-up version was realized: the "Felicia Fun" (third pic), powered by a 1.6 VW engine: this car, in tuned version, won the Italian Mountain Racing Championship 1999! In the fourth pic, instead, an unknown cabrio version, produced by the Czech tuner MTX (also tuner of Tatra). With the "Felicia", the Skoda was also back in the 1996 to the WRC competitions (fifth pic). The "Felicia" had a very good success in Italy, for the reliability and the price.
The rest of the Skoda's history is well-known. In the 1997, the new "Octavia" (first pic, above) was launched, totally based on VW components, and with an high level of quality (also in this evenience, an old name was taken to reprise the tradition of the brand). The "Octavia" was realized also in a powerful WRC rally version with over 300 hp (second and third pics), heritage of a great tradition stopped by the political events. In the fourth and fifth pics, the prototypes of the substitute of the "Felicia": the "Fabia" (sixth pic), launched in the 1999. These cars are essentially derived from Volkswagen models, and, effectively, the "Felicia" was the last car totally realized by Skoda. Anyway, this is not a negative feature: now the Skoda are among the most reliable cars on the automotive market!
The last realization of the Czech brand, is a beautiful luxury-car, that reprises the long tradition of the Skoda about this type of car, and that will compete with cars like BMW and Mercedes! This car, called "Superb" (first, second and third pics above, sedan and SW versions) like the old pre-war model, has various engines: the most powerful is a V6, 2800 cc, 193 hp, but the first prototype, called "Montreux", had even a 4000 cc, W8 (a variant of the classic V8 layout, but with three heads), 275 hp. Probably this engine could be fitted in the next future. But it's not all: in the 2002, Skoda launched the prototype in the fourth and fifth pics above. It's the "Tudor" (same name of the little 1100 cc. model of the years '40...but there is only the name in common!), a beautiful and elegant coupè with the V6 2.8 engine, 193 hp. At the moment, it's not sure that this car will be effectively produced. Anyway, from the Skoda "105" produced till the late '80s, it's a great jump!
But there is still a relic of the old rear-engine Skoda: on the VW "Lupo 1.0" and Seat "Arosa", in order to reduce the price of these cars, a 1000 cc engine derivated from the "Favorit/Felicia 1.3" was fitted. And this engine, although the obvious modifications, is substantially the same of the old Skoda "105"! The past never dies...
Some pic is taken from http://www.skoda-auto.com/company/index.htm , http://auta5p.hyperlink.cz , http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Factory/4536/skodaeng.htm , http://skoda.samochody.com.pl/