Skoda Rebuilt A Race Car You’ve Never Heard Of
Only two Skoda 1100 OHC coupes were made, and both had extremely tough lives
Once upon a time, Skoda had a thing for sports car racing. You may have seen the company parade around its open-top 1100 OHC Racer, a car that Car Throttle had the good fortune to drive a few years ago. What you might not realize is that this car had a sheetmetal brother.
While two of the three Spiders have had relatively easy lives and belong to Skoda, the two coupes have had a much harder time. The rise of the Cold War limited competition in Czechoslovakia, and even that did not last long, with technical changes in local championships rendering its 1100cc inline-four obsolete. Without using them, Skoda sold both cars to individuals.
Each had a checkered history that followed, involving multiple crashes and uphill use, while drifting further and further from the original specification. One ended up with an engine from a Felicia, the other from an Octavia.
Several decades later, Skoda thought it should rectify that. For the past few years he’s been busy working on one of the coupes to bring it back to its former glory. The Skoda Museum’s restoration workshop collaborated with the company’s prototype construction center, starting only with the original chassis.
Fortunately, the Skoda archives contain all the old technical documents and drawings, and lessons have been learned from the restoration of the open on which to build. By the end of 2015, the project was moving forward, with a refurbished chassis treated with an all-new radiator and fuel tank among other parts.
Reproducing the bodywork faithfully was an extremely complex task, involving scanning drawings, studying old photographs and creating a 3D model using CAD. “Checking and correcting the shapes of individual elements, such as the rear lights, took tens of hours,” says Skoda. The panels are made from aluminum sheets 0.8 to 1.0 mm thick, beaten into shape and riveted by hand the old fashioned way.
All that hard work was worth it – the results are amazing. Mechanically it’s like the open version, which means 92bhp from that 1100cc engine. Mounted behind the front axle, the powertrain develops 92 bhp at 7700 rpm and will continue up to 8500. Decent sleeves for the time, and the little inline-four delivers impressive performance even in a modern setting. At 555kg, the power-to-weight ratio is similar to something like a Ford Fiesta ST.
Hopefully Skoda will be just as eager to bring this 1100 out into the open.