Poundshop Porsche

Škoda brightens up the dreary Soviet automotive landscape.

A cherished 1989 Škoda Rapid 136 Coupé. Image: skodaowners.org

Coupés and convertibles, by their very nature, are rather frivolous cars. They typically cost more(1) than their more practical saloon, hatchback or estate equivalents and offer less in the way of space and versatility. Their appeal lies in their (not always) more attractive styling(2) and, more subliminally, in what they imply about their owner. He (usually) is, apparently, a free spirit, not weighed down by familial responsibilities, and sufficiently affluent to afford such an automotive indulgence.

The post-WW2 Soviet Union was a serious place run by deadly serious people. Preoccupied with five-year plans and other weighty matters of state, they had little time for frivolity. They had even less time for conspicuous individualism in their egalitarian utopia, so passenger cars were earnestly practical saloons(3) and estates. Coupés and convertibles(4) were regarded as symbols of capitalist decadence, and had no place in their five-year plans for the auto industry.

In one of the Soviet Union’s satellite states, however, a defiantly independent spirit survived the dead hand of communist control. The Czechoslovakian state-owned Škoda Auto tested the patience of their Soviet masters by producing a series of quite pretty (or, at least, characterful) convertibles and coupés. The early convertibles were simply soft-top versions of the company’s two-door saloons, including the 1955 Škoda 450 and its successor, the 1959 Felicia.

1964 Škoda 1000 MBX. Image: classicblog.cz

When Škoda switched to a rear-engined platform in 1964 with the 1000 MB, it produced a distinctive looking two-door notchback coupé version called the 1000 MBX with a wraparound rear screen and reverse-rake C-pillar which was, whisper it, almost stylish. The 1000 MB was heavily facelifted in 1969 to become the 100. Facelifted is probably not the right word, however, because the 100 looked really rather dowdy compared to its pretty predecessor, losing most of its brightwork and gaining a slightly morose look to its newly blunted front end.

Škoda, however, countered the disappointment by launching a fastback coupé version of the 100 at the Brno Engineering Fair in September 1970. Developed under the rather cryptic project code Typ. 718, the production 110R coupé shared the saloon’s 2,400mm (94½”) wheelbase but was distinguished by a rather elegant glasshouse with frameless door windows and very slim B-pillars, giving it an almost Italianate flavour, at least above the waistline.

Despite the shared platform and some superficial similarities, the coupé’s bodywork was almost all-new, with a much faster rake to the windscreen and a 40mm (1½”) lower roofline. The interior space was similar to that of the saloon, apart from more limited rear headroom. Luggage space comprised 250 litres (8.83 cu.ft.) in the shallow front boot and a further 120 litres (4.24 cu.ft.) behind the rear seats.

The dashboard was appropriately sporty, with its black vinyl covering and a speedometer and tachometer positioned directly in front of the driver, supplemented by three centrally positioned smaller gauges for fuel, water temperature and oil pressure. The steering wheel had twin metal spokes with circular perforations, another contemporary signifier of sportiness.

1973 Škoda 110R Coupé. Image: skoda-storyboard.com

Power was provided by a slightly enlarged 1,107cc OHV twin-carburettor inline four-cylinder engine with an aluminium block and cast-iron cylinder head. It produced maximum power of 62bhp (46kW) and torque of 64 lb ft (87Nm), driving the rear wheels through a four-speed transaxle gearbox. 0 to 62mph (100km/h) took 17.7 seconds and the top speed was 90mph (145km/h). Independent suspension used coil springs all round. Braking was by front discs(5) and rear drums, with optional servo assistance.

Despite the modest performance, the swing-axle rear suspension could cause unwanted and unexpected camber changes and snap oversteer. In this respect the 110R was compared, rather ambitiously, with the contemporary Porsche 911, which could be similarly tricky in extremis. As if to emphasise the point, later 110R models came with wheel covers that mimicked the classic 911 Fuchs five-spoke alloy wheel.

Production started slowly and just 121 cars were manufactured in 1970, all sold on the domestic market. The 110R was, however, primarily intended for export, to generate valuable foreign currency earnings for Škoda. As production numbers grew in subsequent years, the vast majority were exported and an RHD version became available from September 1972.

1971 Škoda 110R Coupé. Image: classiccarcuration.co.uk

The 110R remained on the market for a decade, during which time a total of 57,085 were manufactured, 93% of which were exported. Updates were modest, but the car received a new twin-headlamp front end in 1973. The 110R also provided the basis for rally and Touring Car racing derivatives.

The 1976 replacement for the 100/110 saloon was originally intended to be a front-engined, FWD design and (at least) one such prototype was built. Whether it was lack of funding or Russian interference that forced Škoda to reconsider is a moot point, but the existing rear-engined RWD floorpan and mechanical package, already twelve years old, was instead rebodied for a second time to produce the 105/120(6). Although the new model featured worthwhile improvements over its predecessor, its mechanical layout was by now almost universally regarded as anachronistic and hopelessly outdated.

Škoda nevertheless pressed on and developed a replacement for the 110R coupé under the project code Typ. 743. Launched in 1981, it was initially called the Garde, although an alternative name, Rapid, was used in certain export markets including the UK and West Germany. The formula reprised that of the 110R: the Garde / Rapid was heavily based on the 105/120 but featured a fastback body that was 15mm (½”) longer and 20mm (¾”) lower than its saloon counterpart.

Sadly, its predecessor’s light and airy DLO with its frameless door windows was replaced by a more clunky looking arrangement, ameliorated somewhat by a sinuous curve in the waistline over the rear wheel arch. The engine was a further enlargement of the evergreen unit to 1,174cc, which was shared with the 120 saloon. It produced maximum power of 54bhp (40.5kW).

1985 Škoda Rapid 130. Image: motor1.com

A UK engineering company, Ludgate Developments, was commissioned by Škoda to develop and produce a manufacturer-approved convertible version of the Rapid. The rigidity lost in the decapitation was restored by way of a stout T-bar rollover hoop, painted black to disguise its rather ungainly appearance.

The Garde was facelifted in 1984 and renamed Rapid 120 in all markets. The facelift brought a new smoother front end, with the indicators relocated from the bumper to outboard of the new, flush-fitting headlamps. More significantly, the swing-axle rear suspension was replaced with semi-trailing arms, giving much safer and more predictable handling.

A year later, the engine was enlarged to 1,289cc, producing maximum power of 58bhp (43kW) and torque of 72 lb ft (98Nm). This was mated to a new five-speed transaxle gearbox, giving the car a 0 to 60mph (97km/h) time of 16.5 seconds and a top speed of 95mph (153km/h). This model was badged Rapid 130. The Rapid was sufficiently improved by the suspension revisions that Car magazine promoted it from Boring to Adequate in its GBU(7) listing and described it as “Spectacular value for money.”

Image: Autocar Magazine

In 1987 a new alloy eight-port cylinder head raised maximum power to 62bhp (46kW) and torque to 74 lb ft (100Nm). Maximum speed remained the same, but the 0 to 60mph (97km/h) time was cut to 14.9 seconds. The car was renamed Rapid 136.

Autocar and Motor magazine featured a teaser photo of the Rapid on the front cover of its 28 September 1988 issue, together with a very complimentary headline.

The Rapid remained in production until 1990. A run-out model, the 135 RiC, was the first Škoda model to feature fuel injection. A total of 44,634 Garde / Rapid coupés were sold over its nine-year production life.

The continuing affection for Škoda’s coupé models defies rational explanation. They were crude, slow and idiosyncratic, and outdated virtually from the off. Build quality was pretty good, but the materials and fittings used were often cheap and fragile. The front footwells were cramped, with the pedals offset towards the centre tunnel, forcing an awkward driving position. The tortuous run of cooling pipework from the Rapid’s front-mounted radiator to the engine caused frequent overheating problems, often exacerbated by poor maintenance.

For all those shortcomings, the Škoda coupés that survive are cherished by their owners. Perhaps it is, in part at least, for what they represented: plucky little Czechoslovakia metaphorically thumbing its nose at the Kremlin and refusing to be cowed. Škoda’s survival against the odds and the ability of its engineers to make much out of very little prompted Volkswagen Group to acquire the company and turn it into the commercial success it is today.

It is, however, a matter of regret for me that Wolfsburg succeeded where Moscow had failed, forcing bland conformity on a previously independent-minded and innovative company.


(1) Ignoring the Morris Marina Coupé (always a sensible course of action, I think).

(2) Ditto.

(3) Egalitarianism didn’t prevent there being a hierarchy of models, from small and crude to large and luxurious, the latter reserved for the ‘more equal’ senior members of the ruling communist party.

(4) Apart from parade cars, roofless limousines that allowed heads of state to salute their military and bask in the entirely spontaneous adulation of the crowds on state occasions.

(5) Supplied by the British company, Dunlop.

(6) Christened ‘Estelle’ by Škoda’s UK advertising agency.

(7) Good, Bad and Ugly.


Author: Daniel O'Callaghan

Shut-line obsessive...Hates rudeness, loves biscuits.

53 thoughts on “Poundshop Porsche”

  1. One just can’t help but like these cars. Thanks, Daniel, for reminding us why.

  2. On my tours of what was once East Germany revealed a wealth of alternative engineering concepts in bike and car form. I am sorry that in renewing the run-down societies of the former Warsaw Pact countries some novel thinking got lost (engineering thinking). The Skoda shows some interesting solutions to problems which were more than just the ones of making a vehicle that can move under its own power. Some of that intelligence got squashed when VAG introduced its norms. So what, you might say, the new Skodas are excellent cars. They are though, not that engaging to think about other than the enjoyable fact an L&K edition Superb is a much lovelier car than many products sold at twice the price.

  3. Just to put things right, Czechoslovakia, while certainly a vasal state, was territorially not actually “a corner of the Soviet Union”.

    More importantly, I fondly remember my father’s Škoda 110R as the first car of my childhood. Behind the iron curtain it was certainly an enviable machine. But, far more pressing than mentioned rear axle “joyful” nature, the highly asymmetric weight distribution had a more tangible and noticable consequence of feeble front end grip. This was painfully obvious in winter conditions, when good traction provided by rear tires was of little use, as the front end had no grip at all and car was almost completely unsteerable on a slope. The car was strongly susceptible to crosswinds as well. Everyone in the car, not only the driver, could feel and see the front end being thrown off course significantly upon facing windgusts. As I live in area of strong Bora wind, a solution was necessary at least during winter months and to amend this, we constantly drove around with at least 50kg of sand in the trunk, which improved handling in windy & winter conditions considerably.

    1. Good morning Vili. Thank you for sharing your memories of the 110R. The addition of bags of sand under the bonnet also had a beneficial effect for the handling of my first car, a VW Beetle!

      I have changed the description of Czechoslovakia to a ‘sattelite state’ of the Soviet Union, which is, I hope, more technically correct. I have huge admiration of the resilience of the countries that fell under Soviet control and that extraordinary resilience and courage is again much in evidence today.

      Slava Ukraini.

  4. The 1976 replacement for the 100/110 saloon was originally intended to be a front-engined.
    It should be large production car in colaboration with East German Trabant and Wartburg. But there was East Germany lack of funding. So it was developed Škoda Favorit. And Trabant and Wartburg got only four stroke engine.

    1. Here are a couple of photos I took of a “Comecon Car” prototype in the AWE museum in Eisenach:

      The resemblance to the Škoda 105/120 is self-evident.

      My understanding is that the Comecon Car / RGW Auto project failed because:

      i.) The Czechs and East Germans couldn’t agree on anything, even the most basic of parameters, or which nations in the bloc would build the major parts – Wartburg had developed a very advanced OHC engine, but it was decided that a Škoda design would be used for the new car, while the DDR would provide the gearboxes and driveshafts.

      ii.) It was intended that the car would be built at the rate of 600,000 per year, and match the capabilities of the best Western European rivals. To do that would require a huge investment in tooling from western and Japanese suppliers, paid for in hard currency,

      Probably the cost matter was the main reason for the entire Comecon Car project being abandoned by order of the Prime Ministers of the the DDR and Czechoslovakia in 1977.

    2. And here’s another photo:

      Say what you like about Die Wende, at least you can leave a fire extinguisher unattended in a public place these days…

    3. Comecon Car / RGW Auto project failed for many reasons, but at the end are always money.
      At the beginning should every manufacturer had own body, the engines were in the front and were always 4-stroke by Škoda, axles should Škoda take from Wartburg/Trabant. Wartburg/Trabant should had the front wheel drive, Škoda rear wheel drive. Škoda than changed to front wheel drive too to cut cost. Cost reduction ended at the the every car had very similar body. But East Germany than stoped comunicate. They didn’t have money for new factory manufacturing.
      Maybe it was beter. There should be dense traffic between factories only by railway. But there were only single – track railway line.
      This is central planing economy.

    4. From my notes, the copper-coloured Comecon Car prototype is from 1978, and is codenamed Typ 610M/1. It is described as being a successor to the Trabant 610 and Wartburg 353 for introduction in 1985 – these guys didn’t hang about…

      The drivetrain is described as a modified Škoda or Dacia engine mounted longitudinally ahead of the front axle, 1289cc with 54PS power output. So the Renault 12 comparison makes sense. The Dacia 1300 had been around since 1969, but was more modern than other western cars – Lada 1200 and Polski-Fiat 1300/1500 – which would have been known to the Comecon Car designers.

    5. It’s a long way. All begins in political liberalization of the 1960s. Škoda hired Giorgetto Giugiaro to design new car. His project Škoda 720 didn’t realize afther the 1968 Russian invasion. So Škoda designed Škoda 742 very similar to it but with engine rear and RWD that came to production in 1976.

  5. These rear-engined Skodas from the iron curtain era, and especially the coupé versions, indeed have a certain kind of charm- warts and all.
    Late in its life, a facelift proposal was apparently in the works which seemed to be an attempt to give the car a more modern appearance while diverting attention from the fact that the car was rear-engined. Likely due to the collapse of the Eastern Bloc around that time it never got beyond this stage, but it doesn’t seem to be a big loss:

    1. Anyone else seeing Citroën influences in that revised front end, or is it just me?

    2. It’s not just you Daniel; it’s the overall shape of the front wings that are like a slightly more squarish rendition of those of the CX I think.

    3. Renault fuego front bumper combined with CX front wings amd early Daytona lights.

    4. This 1982 coupé version of the rear-engined Skodas did I commented only for the kind of charm.
      But it not only looks a little bit like a Citroen. In fact it has a front engine and front wheel drive. It was developed in Slovak Bratislava by BAZ (Bratislava Automobile Works). It has Zastava 101 engine and powertrain. The long front plastic bumper (Škoda Rapid Coupé has sheet metal under short plastic bumper) has radiator blowhole. The large round headlamps are from Czech lorry.

    1. The homologation special Skoda 130 RS is another interesting story. There should be 1,000 examples for the homologation. This was not real for the communist state. In fact, there were only 38 and the FIA was told that the rest were in state security. Louis Chiron and Elishka Junkova even sent a letter to the FIA to let this car race.

    2. Impressive backers! I can see why Elishka Junkova would have chosen to plead the Rapid’s case, but I’m curious about Louis Chiron’s interest. I wonder did Ms Junkova persuade him to help out?

    3. Eliška Junková and Louise Chiron certainly knew each other as former successful car racers. At least from later sporting happenings. And I think Junkova had must convinced Chiron. She probably did dosn’t know how many homologation specials were really build.

    4. Understand the engine used in the 180 RS / 200 RS was from the stillborn Skoda 720 prototype (also on the 760) and that it is stated to be an all-new all-alloy design.

      However there seems to be some degree of overlap between the existing Skoda OHV and planned Skoda OHC engines both in terms of capacity (e.g. 1498cc OHV vs 1498cc OHC) and relation, also is this engine the same as the 1.6 OHC proposed for both the Favorit and Felica much later or what was used in the Rapid Gunsch in 1.5 guise?


    5. Rapid Gunsch had larger stroke OHV. Skoda Favorit ls 1600 should have had brand new 1596cc engine 83,5 x 78 mm.

    6. Martin Pravda

      Thanks for clearing things up, is it known what the stroke of the 1.5 OHV engine in the Skoda Rapid Gunsch was? Was that the limit of the OHV engine?

    7. You have to ask Gunsch. It was West Germany modifier of Škoda cars. Rapid Gunsch 1.5 was 1987 prototype for attracting interest of people.

  6. Great headline. (actually, it says it all!)
    Nevertheless, thank you, Daniel, for dedicating a longer article to the Skoda Coupe. I think the driving pleasure was (and still is) in line with the headline. Happy those who enjoyed it then – and who have the privilege of enjoying it still today (although I’m afraid the cost of a Skoda Coupe today is almost in the price region of a rear-engined Porsche).

  7. „It is, however, a matter of regret for me that Wolfsburg succeeded where Moscow had failed, forcing bland conformity on a previously independent-minded and innovative company.“

    WTF. This is about on par with Bo Jo liking Brexit to Ukraine’s fighting the invasion. Have I missed DTW being run by Rupert Murdoch?

    1. CX.GTi: Would you like to hear my evil laugh? It’s very convincing, I’m told…

    2. Good evening CX.GTi. I am baffled, and frankly offended, by your comment. I didn’t think that it was at at all controversial to say that Škoda’s current output lacks distinctiveness, thanks to VW’s (undoubtedly very profitable) platform and component sharing policies. To suggest that this comment is in any way equivalent to Johnson’s crass and stupid remark is, well, crass and stupid.

    3. Dear Daniel,

      I invite you to re-read the passage of your article and to give your self the freedom to allow different points of view.

      In the article, VW is not only compared with an utterly inhumane, brutal and totalist regime. A regime with tons of blood on their hands, which for over 70 years caterpillared independent minds across eastern Europe and beyond, for the sake of a greater socialist good. VW is obviously even worse than the inhumane, brutal and totalist regime, as it “succeeded” where the regime “failed”, by “forcing bland conformity on a previously independent-minded and innovative company”.

      I find this comparison tasteless, oblivious of history, and disrespectful of both the people who suffered from the USSR and to “Wolfsburg” (who certainly are no angels, mind). As such, it is exactly down the same road as Boris Johnson’s comments on Ukraine/Brexit, like it or not. If, as you say, you’d merely wanted to express that “Skoda’s current output lacks distinctiveness”, then there would be about a million different ways to do so, without resorting to crude comparisons.

      I understand nobody enjoys being criticized. However, I am quite disappointed that you resort to insulting me by calling my comment “crass and stupid”, instead of investing some thought on a grown-up discussion. But then again, this is exactly Boris Johnson’s technique, too, isn’t it?

    4. Gentlemen: Words matter. They carry a power that we sometimes do not intend to wield. Therefore it behoves us all to use them with care. CX.GTi, you have been a reader and commenter for some time and I would have thought that by now you would understand that we are not overtly political here, and certainly do not act as apologists for murderous regimes. I can accept that you felt strongly about your interpretation of what Daniel wrote, but the manner in which you chose to express your feelings seemed consciously inflammatory, so for you to express disappointment in Daniel’s response strikes me as being a little disingenuous.

      To be honest, I found your comparison an insult, especially in light of the effort and care we have applied to this site over the past seven years.

      If Daniel’s mode of expression allowed such a misconception to take hold, there were other ways to express your disapproval; to paraphrase your own words, “there would be about a million different ways to do so”.

      At the risk of repetition. Words matter.

      I would ask everyone – especially in these heightened times – to carefully consider their expression.

      Thank you.

    5. Dear CX.GTi. We will have to agree to disagree on the interpretation of my statement in the piece. I believe that it is beyond all reason and credibility to infer from it that I in any way equated the behaviour of VW Group to that of the Soviet Union.

      That said, I regret that you clearly took great offence from your interpretation of the statement, as did I from your comment. Let’s put it down to a misunderstanding on both sides and move on.

    6. If I could wade in here: it´s pretty clear this isn´t an output of Kremlin ideology so any parallels drawn between Comecon management methods and VAG management methods are just that, vague parallels. Benefit of the doubt, and all that.

  8. Also a fan of the Skoda Coupes (particularly the 1.5 Rapid Gunsch) and have come to appreciate pre-VW Skodas were arguably the among the best of what the Eastern / Soviet Bloc had to offer.

    At the same time it is funny how a typically cash-strapped Eastern Bloc marque like Skoda, while not able to bring their various FWD projects into production with the exception of the Favorit after a protracted gestation period, were still able to uprate their engines with new alloy eight-port cylinder head. Which is more than can be said for one Western Bloc carmaker that was either unable or unwillingly to do the same despite being comparatively better off (if still relatively similar cash-strapped).

    Were Skoda indeed influenced by the Dauphine or R8 for their rear-engined models as have seen claimed online, if not basically being the unlicensed Eastern Bloc version of the Hino Contessa (one that was actually said to be better than the rear-engined Renaults)?

    1. Speaking of evil conspiracy theories, and being influenced by Renault… I can’t help myself from seeing a re-bodied R12 in the Comecon Car / RGW Auto… Anyone else?

    2. Yes, gooddog – I wondered what it reminded me of and it’s the R12 – especially from the front 3/4 view.

    3. Read that a few Wartburg projects were to make use of mostly Dacia-sourced Renault engines, although have no idea if the Comecon Car / RGW Auto was included.

      The follow links make a claim the rear-engined Skodas beginning with the 1000 MB had R8-based or inspired running gear (if not actual help from Renault), yet concede it could be complete BS as cannot find anything else about it online short of the influence being limited to featuring the same rear-engined layout.


  9. Hi Daniel, thanks for a reminder of these charming little cars. They were always a welcome sight from the back seat on the long family trips we used to undertake when I was little. Well, ‘long’ by Dutch standards. Czechs seemed to have an independent spirit anyway, as evidenced by Skoda’s big brother, Tatra. They proved engine at the back (way at the back, 911-style) didn’t have to be a tiny unit: you could also hang a V8 in there, air cooled and all…

  10. Some of the Škoda 1000 MB’s details are lovely – the spare wheel hatch, and in particular, the fuel filler cap in the front wing are nicely done. The ‘Herb Alpert covers the Beatles’ music made me smile, too.

    1. Great film!

      Enough luggage space for a defection there…

    2. I love all that sixties modernism on show in the film, although I was alarmed by the amount of positive camber displayed by that rear wheel in hard cornering. The tyre was threatening to peel off the wheelrim! I imagine real life in Czechoslovakia was much less glamorous than as presented, but western advertising was and is no different in that respect.

      Thanks for posting, Charles.

  11. The reason why two-door sports cars survived in Czechoslovakia stemmed from communism.
    Communist Czechoslovakia had no money for modern Western technology. The plant for mass production of the Skoda 1000 MB was equipped with Renault machines. In order to get Western money, Czechoslovakia had to offer something the West would be interested in. Russia had oil and gas, Poland partly oil and agriculture, East Germany had compatriots in the West. Czechoslovakia also offered cars, for which there were long queues in Czechoslovakia itself. To attract as many buyers as possible in the West, it offered at least two-door sports cars. Because station wagons couldn’t do it because of the engine in the back. Station wagons would sell more in the West and get more money from the West. The story of why the Skoda 1000 MB switched to a rear engine is also interesting. It was to reduce the production cost of the front engine and RWD. However, Skoda did not have the money to license front wheel drive technology. So the engine was moved to the rear. The Skoda 1000 MBX itself was not very rigid, it wiggled and sold little. So its representative took inspiration from the Simca 1200S coupe, which Skoda bought.

    1. Hi Martin. Interesting background, thanks for sharing. 👍

    2. You’re welcome.
      The Tatra 613 is another example of political loosening in the 1960s. The body was designed by Carrozzeria Vignale. It was to be mass-produced and exported to the West. In the end, however, it was produced in small series for the nomenclature. After 1968, Tatra had to increase the production of trucks for the Eastern Bloc. Originally, it did not even produce a personal Tatra 603. But the Czechoslovak nomenclature was not satisfied with the then Russian luxury cars. Stalin was already dead, so she approved a long-prepared project. The Tatra 603 was introduced at the Expo 1958 in Brussels and sold even in the West.
      Skoda has benefited a lot from car racing. Both advertising and higher-capacity 1.2 and 1.3-liter engines or semi-trailing arm suspension and a five-speed transmission. The reason why the Škoda Rapid did not race like the 130 RS but instead raced the Škoda 130 LR was the declining sales of the Škoda 742 sedans in the west.
      The production of mass passenger cars in the Eastern bloc has not been restricted by the Russians since the 1960s. It was clear that the Eastern Bloc could not do without them and that the Russians themselves would not produce the required amount. When they had the Lada car factory built by Fiat, it was a signal to the Eastern Bloc states that they could do the same. Overall, Polski Fiat and Poland became too indebted in the west and ended in state of emergency.

    3. Was the Renault connection limited to just the machines and general production tooling or did it include Skoda drawing upon other existing Renault designs and patents to create the 1000 MB?

    4. The Škoda 1000 MB was developed as a complicated, long-lasting development of a new Czechoslovak passenger car. That’s why it looked a bit outdated at the 1964 show. Many prototypes of many concepts have been built. The Ministry of Commerce has chosen a front-engined, RWD. Ministry of home affairs front-engined, FWD. Ministry of Industry rear-engined, RWD.
      Renault provided the machines and general production tooling. However, Renault liked the pressure casting of the Škoda 1000 MB engine block and bought a license.

      I do not want to forget.
      1987 a new alloy eight-port cylinder head that raised maximum power of Škoda mass engines also came out of Škoda racing engines.

    5. The Tatra 613 was originally intended to be mass-produced and exported to the West as a Coupé too.

      Correction. Renault bought a license of vacuum casting of the Škoda 1000 MB engine block. Not pressure casting.


    6. A few more details.
      The headlights of the 1000 MB Škoda were recessed like a Porsche to reduce sensitivity to crosswinds. It therefore looks much smaller.
      The Vignale’s Tatra 613 body was initially concerned that it might look like a Renault 16.

  12. The last time I saw a Škoda Rapid was on a typically balmy British summers day back in August 2017. Badly parked but I’d forgiven the driver on seeing such a well looked after little gem. The car appears to be on SORN, now, hopefully stored somewhere drier.

    Enlightening story and comments.

    1. That’s a lovely example, Andrew. Thanks for posting the images.

  13. After a lot of searching, I remembered this in my files, tucked away rather too deeply. The artist is a Czech fellow named Vladimir Bidlo. Should anyone have any further information regarding him , please feel free to enlighten me:

    1. very late

      Vladimir Bidlo

      Born on October 19, 1926, Kouřim (Kolín), Czech Republic
      † 1997, Prague, Czech Republic

      1942 – 1945 State School of Graphics / Secondary School of Graphics / Higher School of Art Industry, Prague, Müller Karel
      1942 – 1945 State School of Graphics / Secondary School of Graphics / Higher School of Art Industry, Prague, Lander Rudolf
      1945 – 1950 University of Applied Arts (from 1945), Prague, Tichý František
      1945 – 1950 Charles University, Prague (Faculty of Pedagogy, Art Education),

      some of his work can be seen on

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