Skoda 130 RS

It's still hanging in lots of garages on posters. When it comes to it, everyone has words of enthusiasm, praise, respect and pride for it, because it is "our" Czech car. A lot of people build replicas of this car at home, or try to at least slightly modify their 110 R in its style. This car was and is a sporting icon. Yes, we are talking about the Skoda 130 RS, the greatest legend and the most successful car in the history of the Skoda brand.

With the arrival of the 100/110 series (type 722) in 1969, the 100/110 L Rallye sports models as well as the 110 RV coupe were introduced. In 1972, the Skoda 120 S, which was derived from the Skoda sedan of the 100/110 series and became with the most widespread and used sports "equipment". The impetus for the development of a new competition special was the crew of Hubáček – Minářík with a Renault Alpine A 110, for which the type 120 S with a 1200 cm3 engine could not be enough. Skoda responded in 1974 with the 180 RS and 200 RS models, capable of competing with the Alpina. They were heavily modified cars based on the 110 R with a considerably reduced and widened body and 1.8 and 2.0 ls engines with a modern OHC distribution. Various structural changes to the storage and center of gravity of the aggregate, a new rear axle, or a Tatra gearbox (which ultimately did not work) were tried. They were powerful machines (163 hp) belonging to the B5 group, which unfortunately could not be homologated for foreign competitions.

The starting point of this situation was a new model that would be able to be homologated for European and world rally competitions, circuit competitions and uphill races, so in 1975 the Skoda AZNP sports department introduced a new model in the category up to 1300 cm3 – the Skoda 130 RS model (type 735). The basis remained the 110 R coupe, whose bodywork had to be lightened and widened, which accentuated the already beautiful shapes of the original "erka". It was not possible to interfere with the skeleton, so the lightening took place on the outer panels of the body. The roof, hood, and doors were made of sheet aluminum, the front spoiler, front and rear fenders, and the rear hood were made of fiberglass. The glass (except for the front) was replaced by Makrolon and all interior equipment was reduced to the bare minimum. The interior contained only a pair of light laminate shell seats with four-point Moravan belts, the on-board instruments included a speedometer, tachometer, thermometer, oil pressure gauge, coolant thermometer and fuel gauge. The competition version weighed 825 kg, the circuit version even 740 kg, while the maximum speed varied from 145 – 220 km/h, depending on the gears used, and the acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h took place in 7.5 seconds.

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The engine was based on the 120 S model – an in-line four-cylinder with a three-way crankshaft with OHV distribution and a five-channel cylinder head was rebored to a volume of 1289 cm3, it was fitted with an eight-channel cast-iron cylinder head with larger valves, a sports camshaft and pressure lubrication of the crankshaft with a dry case. The block was modified for larger cylinder liners (bore x stroke 75.5 x 72) with a sport camshaft. The compression ratio ranged from 10.5 to 11.7. The preparation of the mixture was provided by twin Weber 40 (45) DCOE carburetors. Cooling was provided by an impact radiator located at the front of the car. The best performance was achieved by an engine with a cylinder head with angular channels and a combustion chamber designed by engineer Michl. The exhaust pipe was solved 4 – 1, i.e. from the cylinder head, four pipes of the same length of 80 cm, which opened into a common one, led across under the rear face. Depending on the settings, the performance ranged from 100 to 115 hp at 7000/7500 rpm for competition cars, up to 142 hp at 8000 rpm for race cars. The torque of the most powerful version reached 137 Nm at 5000 rpm. These values were transmitted by a new Fichtel & Sachs clutch with a disc spring and a diameter of 190 mm. A fully synchronized four-speed gearbox with constant ratios from 4.44 to 3.9 cooperated with a differential with adjustable gearing. Dry semi-axles with parallel joints of the Löbro brand transmitted power to 13'' wheels made of light alloys of domestic production or ARC Brno (split wheels) with a size of 210/60 x 13 (asphalt), or 155 x 13 (snow). In 1979, 15'' discs with GoodYear tires 7/21.5 at the front, wider 8/21.5 at the rear began to be installed. In the course of development, the hundred and thirtieth was supposed to receive a five-speed gearbox (it was longer, requiring modification of the body tunnel), but in the end it was not homologated. Elements from the 180 RS and 200 RS models were used on the chassis. Instead of a classic swing axle with one longitudinal arm, which did not provide ideal grip due to too much swing at a sharp pace and on different surfaces, Eng. Nepomucký and Eng. Jabornický designed a new trailing arm rear axle with a much smaller wheel swing (15°). Stiffer Koni springs and dampers contributed to everything. The front axle was extended by 100 mm by adjusting the length of the upper and lower arms. The front discs were fitted with Girling calipers, the entire system received a vacuum booster and Castrol fluid. The entire chassis was covered with a 5 mm duralumin sheet.

The "Stotřicítka RS" was without a doubt our best competition car of the time, which could be created under the given conditions. When Paul Frére tested the Skoda during homologation, he described it as a "sensational Skoda" with excellent and balanced driving characteristics, with excellent acceleration, traction and ability to drive in powerslid. On the contrary, a minor weakness was understeer due to the "all-rear" design and the light bow, which, moreover, tended to bounce on uneven surfaces. Thanks to its advantages, the Skoda quickly became the best machine on home soil in its category both on special stages and on race circuits.

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Let's mention at least the most significant successes of "ereska", because there were countless successes on home soil. In the Cup of Peace and Friendship, she won clearly, the title of European champion in marques from 1981 was much more valuable, thanks to the crews of engineers Vojtěch, Enge, Šenkýř, Bervid in the factory cars and Michl, Vaníček and Martinovský in the club car. In the same year, Vojtěch and Enge recorded the best endurance race finish in the European Endurance Championship, finishing second behind a Mazda RX7. Bobek, Fešárek, Samohýl, Sivík, Zapadlo and Žíd were among the other circuit drivers on the "hundreds".

"Ereska" was used in rally competitions in 1976 and the crew Blahna – Hlávka immediately dominated the domestic series. At the Barum rally, popular Norwegian driver Johnny Haugland beat cars like the Porsche 911 or the Opel Kadett GT/E with the "one hundred and thirty". Skoda 130 RS also started in world competitions and often placed in the second ten absolutely. At the Monte Carlo Rally in 1977, Skoda achieved 1st place in the A Group 2 category and 2nd place in the under 1,300 cc class. In 1979, the Trajbold – Charouz crew managed to finish in 3rd place at the Wartburg rally. At the Akropolis Rally, the crews Zapadlo – Motal placed 9th and Blahna – Hlávka took absolute 8th place.

The Skoda 130 RS was and is a gem not only of our automotive history. Even though she had to deal with some of the limitations of the time, she was pushed to perfection as far as possible. The number of pieces varies, the probable number is 62, of which 38 were the figure directly in the Skoda. Engines with OHV distribution and three-bearing crankshaft mounting have been tuned for excellent values while maintaining reliability. Just as the axles were adjusted, which ensured a great driving performance. And so one could admire the improvement and tuning of the entire car, which arose from the already "outdated" 100/110 series. It is also, among other things, a kind of proof that the engineers of that time had great potential, but the regime tightened their belts considerably. The popular 110 R coupe was followed by the Garde and Rapid models, both coupes with a flowing rear end like an "erko", which, especially in the 130 RS competition version, still remains the most beautiful and successful in the eyes of enthusiasts and connoisseurs.