Skoda this year celebrates the 120th anniversary of its Motorsport division, by unveiling a former racing car completely rebuilt by its teams. This astonishing competition prototype from the Czech manufacturer, with its long bonnet and oval grille, is reminiscent in its design of Italian sports cars such as the Ferrari 250 GTO. There are worse as a reference!
Two copies of the Skoda 1100 OHC Coupé were produced between 1959 and 1960, but each met a sad end. The vehicles, no longer allowed to race due to changes in technical regulations, had been sold to private buyers as early as 1966. The first example, after a relatively minor road accident, had its engine changed to a standard four-cylinder from a Felicia. The second example caught fire, irreparably damaging the aluminum bodywork. It is therefore the elements of the first 1100 OHC coupé that were taken over for the reconstruction of the model by Skoda.
A copy rebuilt by the museum team and the brand’s prototype center
The team at the Skoda Museum in Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic) had already had some items in its possession for 25 years, including the disassembled rear axle, into which the gearbox was integrated in an unprecedented way. Thanks to the museum’s team of experts, who had experience of the Skoda 1100 OHC without a roof and had many sheets and original documentation, the model could be completely redone. It will soon be integrated into the museum’s collection, alongside the decapsulated model from 1957.
The hardest part was rebuilding the aluminum bodywork. At the time, the body was developed from a wooden model, built according to the documents of engineer Jaroslav Kindl, a former engineer at the factory. A group of metalworkers had hammered the aluminum panels by hand, and the various pieces were then welded or riveted. This time, the restoration workshop of the Skoda museum, with the complicity of the brand’s prototype center, used 0.8mm and 1mm thick aluminum sheets, manually welded and bent to shape during reconstruction.
Engine and body parts were shared with production models
The engine, an air-cooled inline-four, developed 92 hp at the time. A power altogether low today, which is generally found on versatile city cars. But at the time, it was much more than the original 40 hp of the Spartak from which it partly derived! Thanks to this reworked block, and weighing only 555 kg, the 1100 OHC Coupé prototype could reach 200 km/h without too much difficulty.
Certain elements composing the racing vehicle were identical to the parts used in production vehicles of the time. Thus, the teams of the museum’s restoration workshop searched through their historical documents and then into their reserves to find door handles outside the coupe, shared with those of the Skoda 1200 Sedan. Switches and the ignition lock were also used in the Skoda 440 Spartak and the Octavia. The three-spoke steering wheel in black plastic was taken from the best-selling Skoda Popular of the pre-war period.
Photos : Skoda.
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