The first product that Laurin and Klement decided to enter for a competition event was a motorcycle – that was in 1901, and Narcis Podsedníček won the Paris-Berlin race on it. Since then ŠKODA has built a number of race cars while putting its sporty spirit also to some of its series production models.

Let us now highlight the most important ones between the 1930s and 1980s.

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ŠKODA POPULAR Monte Carlo 1937

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ŠKODA RAPID 1937/38

In 1934 ŠKODA launched the POPULAR, a car that soon became the country’s best-seller. This success story was continued by the luxury ŠKODA 640 – SUPERB and the lower-medium-class RAPID.

In a way, the RAPID was ŠKODA’s first-ever series production sports car. Its name comes from the Latin word “rapide”, which means fast. The car was fitted with an inline four-cylinder engine (26 or 31 HP), its fuel consumption was 8 litres/100 km and its maximum speed was 90 km/h. In 1938, under the name RAPID OHV, the power output grew to 42 HP and the maximum speed to 110 km/h.

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ŠKODA RAPID 1937/38

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ŠKODA RAPID 1937/38

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ŠKODA POPULAR Monte Carlo

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ŠKODA POPULAR Monte Carlo Roadster 1937/38

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ŠKODA POPULAR Monte Carlo Roadster 1937/38

By coming second in their category at the 1936 Monte Carlo Rally, Zdeněk Pohl & Jaroslav Hausmann in a POPULAR SPORT inspired the brand to produce a special series named POPULAR SPORT MONTE CARLO.

Unfortunately, ŠKODA only produced 70 cars of this model before the outbreak of World War II (mainly roadsters and a small number of coupés). The body was made up of a wooden frame and metal parts.

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ŠKODA 110 R 1973 and next years

The “building of socialism” was not exactly an era for sports cars, and although the brand did produce some prototypes and race cars, the first post-war series-production car with a sporty spirit was the ŠKODA 110 R of 1970, a two-door coupé manufactured by the Kvasiny plant.

The rear-mounted engine drove the rear wheels, and the car’s maximum speed was 140 km/h. The frameless side-door windows were a unique thing at that time. The brand produced more than 56,000 cars of this model over ten years. The 110 R was used as the base for producing the 130 RS, the country’s most successful rally car for a long time.

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ŠKODA 110 R 1973 and next years

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ŠKODA 110 R 1970/71

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ŠKODA GARDE

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ŠKODA GARDE

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ŠKODA RAPID

The success story started by the 110 R was followed by another two-door coupé, the GARDE, whose production was launched in 1981, again in Kvasiny. In 1984 this car was slightly modernised and renamed to RAPID. From May 1982, the GARDE was also assembled in the BAZ plant in Bratislava, thus becoming the first series production passenger car manufactured in Slovakia.

Kvasiny produced the modernised RAPID 135/136 until 1990. The car featured an independent rear wheel suspension system with trailing arms and four-piston callipers on the front brakes.

Much changed after 1990. ŠKODA AUTO initiated cooperation with Volkswagen and the brand continued to celebrate success in motor sport. After some time, sport cars returned also to serial production in the form of RS models. These will be presented in more detail in a future article on ŠKODA Storyboard.

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