The Skoda S110R: The “Porsche Of The East”

This is a Skoda S110R, affectionally known as the “Porsche 911 of the east” by many of its owners due to the fact that it’s a rear engined, rear wheel drive, two-door coupe 2+2 with a fastback rear end.

Of course, this comparison is perhaps a little generous, however it’s important to remember that back in the 1970s behind the Iron Curtain there were very few sports cars being made – so vehicles like the Skoda S110R were the stuff of legend.

Fast Facts – The Skoda S110R

  • The Skoda S110R was released in 1970, it was essentially a shortened coupe version of the Skoda 1100 sedan sharing the same engine, transmission, suspension, and brakes.
  • Despite its humble origins the racing version of the Skoda S110R, the 130RS, would prove surprisingly successful in competition, winning its class in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1977 alongside a slew of other wins in rallies across Europe.
  • While Skoda itself had a somewhat questionable reputation before it was acquired by Volkswagen in the year 2000, the Skoda S110R has always remained popular, largely due to its rally victories, engaging driving characteristics, and affordable price tag.
  • The Skoda S110R has a steel unibody chassis, a rear-mounted 720-type OHV four-cylinder 1.1 liter engine producing 62 bhp, independent front and rear suspension, and a 2+2 seating arrangement.

Škoda: From Bicycles To Automobiles

Although many of us may mot realize it, in recent years Skoda has grown to become a highly respected automaker with a profit margin second only to Porsche within the Volkswagen AG group of companies.

Skoda Founders Photograph

Václav Klement (left) and Václav Laurin (right), founders of Czech automobile manufacturer Laurin & Klement, which later became Škoda. Image courtesy of the Skoda Auto Archive.

The company had humble origins as a bicycle manufacturer, originally named Laurin & Klement, based in Turnov in the modern day Czech Republic. After bicycle production began in 1896 the company soon began developing motorized bicycles and motorcycles, releasing their first automobile in 1905.

Interestingly this makes Skoda the fifth oldest continuously operating automaker in the world, after Daimler, Opel, Peugeot, and Tatra.

During the difficult years of the Soviet Union the company, then known as AZNP, produced inexpensive and simple automobiles to suit life behind the Iron Curtain. By Western standards they were typically a few years behind then times, and the difficultly faced by the company in sourcing parts and materials showed through in the final product.

Many Skodas were exported to Western European countries however they developed a reputation for inferior quality that followed the company for decades.

Above Video: This footage from the 1977 Monte Carlo Rally shows the Skoda 130RS racing alongside cars like the Porsche 911 and the Lancia Stratos. The humble Skoda would take a class win.

Volkswagen began acquiring a significant stake in Skoda in the early 1990s, by the year 2000 they owned 100% of the company. In the years since this takeover Skoda has become a respected automaker once more, now worth billions of dollars and manufacturing hundreds of thousands of cars each year.

The Skoda S110R

The Skoda S110R was developed in the late 1960s on the Skoda 1100 sedan unibody platform. It was shortened and given a new fastback style roof, however much of the car was mechanically either similar or identical to its four-door sibling.

There were relatively few sports cars being built behind the Iron Curtain, certainly far fewer than were being made in western Europe, so cars like the S110R developed a cult following and tended to enjoy local levels of desirability on par with western rivals like Porsche, Jaguar, or Alfa Romeo.

Skoda S110R 14

The interior has been returned to original specification, with orange and black seats, black door cards and orange carpet – all the rage in the 1970s.

The steel unibody chassis of the S110R was fitted with independent front and rear suspension, and a rear-mounted 720-type OHV four-cylinder 1.1 liter engine producing 62 bhp. Power was sent to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission, and the car had front disc brakes with rear drums.

Though not particularly powerful the car tipped the scales at just 880 kgs (1,940 lbs), so performance was acceptable by the standards of the era (and region).

The S110R had a top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph) and a 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 18.5 seconds. Fuel consumption was 8.5 liters per 100 kms or approximately 28 mpg.

Skoda released the S110R in 1970 and sold them for a decade before replacing the model with the Skoda Garde in 1981. It enjoyed strong sales with almost 57,000 sold through the decade, a number of which were exported for valuable foreign currency.

Skoda S110R Restoration

This car benefits from a full bare metal restoration, the engine has also been rebuilt, and the car returned to original factory specifications throughout.

Today the car is considerably more rare due to the fact that many were lost to rust, and after the fall of the Soviet Union cars like the S110R were considered vastly less desirable than vehicles built west of the Berlin Wall.

The 1975 Skoda S110R Shown Here

The S110R you see here was sold new to Finland in 1975, the current owner bought it from Finland years later and exported it to Slovakia where it has been given a bare metal restoration to original specification, including a full engine rebuild.

It’s finished in bright orange with an orange and black interior, the seats are velour covered with deeply contoured bases and headrests for sporting driving.

This is easily the nicest vintage Skoda we’ve ever had on Silodrome, it’s interesting to note that as former Eastern Bloc countries continue to grow economically the residents have increasing buying power to finally acquire the dream cars of their youth – many will have lusted after a nicely sorted S110R back in the 1970s.

Editor’s Note: The listing for this car seems to have been deleted since this story was written, we’ll update the link if it’s re-listed.

If you’d like to read more about this car or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing on Car & Classic. It’s currently being auctioned live online and it’s based in Slovakia.

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Images courtesy of Car & Classic

 

Skoda S110R

The post The Skoda S110R: The “Porsche Of The East” appeared first on Silodrome.

Katherine T. Burrows

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