Published on: Apr 5, 2018 @ 12:41 (C) Jay Auger - website owner & author Notice: Any form of duplication methods (including but not limited to copy/paste of text and screen capture) of the website's content is strictly forbidden.
Sometime in 1985, Škoda (AZNP Mladá Boleslav) had already started to develop special competition parts to further improve their newly-launched fleet of twenty 130 LR rally cars, also planning in performing a full evolution (ET) in 1986 to bring a new batch to the next level. However, when word of the Group B ban hit the newsstands, the project shifted to the Group S replacement formula – allowing for even more improvements thanks to its lesser homologation demands.
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In late 1985, Škoda’s original plans for Group S, since it demanded a mere 10 units for homologation, were rumoured to be a turbocharged and four-wheel drive variant of the upcoming Favorit model. This seemed like a good proposition since budgets for motorsport projects were very limited in the waning communist block of the 1980’s.
The production Favorit was however plagued with major delays, hence the MTX 160 RS Group B prototype developed earlier by Metalex was rumoured to serve as its test bed in the interim. It is alleged that the idea remained stillborn due to not meeting the Czech government’s approval since the production of turbochargers was restricted to the truck market at the time. Škoda therefore focused their efforts on improving their already successful 130 LR Group B rally car by developing a myriad of competition parts as variant options (VO) – a project that started sometime in 1985.
In May of 1986, plans for Škoda Mladá Boleslav’s works department to perform a full evolution (ET) for Group B were dashed by the FISA’s surprise ban of the category after Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto crashed their Lancia Delta S4 in Corsica and lost their lives – a part of rally history that fans already know all too well (for more details on Group B’s infamous ban *click here*). However, talks of a Group S revival were a serious possibility so work continued towards that end with the production of a single prototype.
The 130 LR Evolution (sometimes also referred to as the “130 LR/B”) featured a wider bodywork package to allow an increase of its track widths. This allowed the fitment of 210/560 R13 tyres in the front and quite meaty 265/460 R13s in the rear, therefore much improving traction and stability especially on tarmac.
New ducts were added to the enlarged rear quarters, quite reminiscently of the famous 130 RS racing models, as to improve rear brake cooling and engine bay venting. The rear trunk / boot lid was moulded into a single unit with a larger spoiler which allowed to incorporate an oil cooler underneath. The bonnet / hood also was modified with an extractor as to aid vent hot air from the front-mounted radiator.
The fuel cell was now installed deeper into the nose of the car hence making the shielded extractor very important as to prevent the petrol from heating up. This placement also favoured the weight bias of the car towards a more neutral behaviour, which was already quite rear-biased in the 130 LR – estimated at around F40/R60% on the Evo.
Further tweaks and improvements were performed to the 130 LR’s engine; the larger 1299.5 cc displacement now fully maximised the B/9 (sub 1300 cc) category while also allowing more torque down the rev range. A maximal power output of 140 BHP was said to be available, however for most rallies the engine would be kept between 130 and 135 BHP for reliability purposes.
The Evo was also equipped with the full array of upgraded competition parts made available in early 1986 by the Škoda Mladá Boleslav works department; more aggressive gearing, choices of different spring ratios (two front, three rear), 22 or 30 mm front and rear sway bars, a wheel centre-locking system, and further refinements to the braking and steering systems.
Lots of attention to detail were put in making the Evolution car lighter with use of advanced composite panels said to having lowered the weight to around 850 kg (1875 lb) when fully equipped for rally duty – about the same as the works 130 LR while being wider and with a larger fuel tank.
The Škoda 130 LR Evo was first tested as a practice car at the Czechoslovakian Rallye Bohemia in July of 1986 by five-time Safari Rally winner Shekhar Mehta and his wife Yvonne as navigator. It is no surprise that the famous duo were invited since the Mehtas were at the time Škoda importers in Africa. Little is otherwise known of the prototype’s history except that the project was ultimately cancelled when the plans to revive Group S did not come to pass.
In 1988, the “130 LR/B” Evo prototype was subsequently purchased from AZNP by rallycross racer Václav Farka, with much difficulty and arduous negotiations if stories are to be believed. Farka would campaign the car for four years in the European and local rallycross circuits, with Škoda occasionally chipping in replacement parts here and there. Farka prided himself to shaming more powerful cars with his unassuming little Škoda until he retired from competition in 1991.
This is when the car caught the eye of brothers Dezider and Miroslav Krajčovičovci for possible use in rallying. They purchased the car from Václav Farka, reportedly with a broken drivetrain. Included in the sale were its transport trailer and boxes of parts Farka had removed from the car in its rallycross conversion – the deal reportedly sealed with quite a large amount of wine.
The brother’s purchase was however initially made without realising what they had just acquired was in fact Škoda’s one-off 130 LR Evolution prototype. The Krajčovičovcis eventually discovered its true origins, then vowing to restore and bring the car back to its original works specifications – a project that took two years of intense labour back in their Slovakian home.
The Krajčovičovcis then entered the car in the 1994 Int’l Rallye Matador Žilina where they finished fourth overall, but first in class, amidst some controversy due to their car lacking proper homologation papers. This unfortunately led the car to be administratively sidelined. The brothers then offered to loan the car to the Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav but the effort was reportedly dashed by the parting of the Czech Republic with Slovakia. The car thus sat in their garage until 2011 when a return of the Rallye Tríbeč made it see the light once more.
The 130 LR Evo’s growing notoriety made the brothers to also be invited to participate in the Barum and Bohemia historic rallies. Afterwards the Krajčovičovcis made good on their long lasting promise to loan the car to the Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav, which was then feasible. The car would spend a few years on display before being put at auction by the brothers in 2017 – the car then valued at an incredible €500,000.
In the late 1980’s, Miroslav Šefr built himself a replica of the original Š130 LR/B Evo to emulate his fellow countryman, Václav Farka, for use in rallycross. Šefr would campaign the car in the fierce Division 2 of the European Rallycross Championship in 1989 – scoring points in two events. The power output is unknown, but the car was reported to be very light – about 750 kg (1650 lb).
The exploits of Miroslav Šefr would inspire a then 25-year old Petr Danicek of one day emulating his hero. Much later in 2007, Danicek decided to make his dream a reality by building his own replica of the car campaigned by Šefr. However, Petr soon realised that competing in rallycross demanded a very high budget, more than he could afford, as such his project shifted to building a rally version instead.
Danicek’s vision took three years of hard work by spending every possible moment in the garage and in the end making sure to honour Šefr’s car by a recreation of its livery. Ever since 2009, Petr uses his Škoda 130 LR Evo replica in Czechoslovakian historic and demonstration events, but also more recently in the Eifel Rallye Festival in Germany.
|Group / Class||
|Conception / Production||1985~1986||# built: 1 (AZNP)|
|Type||I-4, OHV 8v, gas||rear, longitudinal, 30º inclinaison|
|Displacement||1299.5 cc||WRC = 1298 cc|
|Output power – torque||130~140 HP@ 7500 rpm||112~118 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm|
|Materials||block: aluminium||cylinder head: aluminium|
||larger diameter intake manifold|
|Cooling system||water-cooled (front)|
|Lubrication system||dry sump||oil cooler (rear)|
|Type||rear wheel drive, transaxle, reinforced axle shafts, limited-slip differential||5 speed single row manual gearbox|
|Differential ratios||3.900, 4.222 or 4.500||3.160, 3.500 or 3.700|
|Clutch||Sachs, single plate, hydraulic|
|Type||Type-742 steel monocoque sedan chassis with roll cage, aluminium body panels, polycarbonate side screens, plastic trunk spoiler, bumpers and vents.|
|Front suspension||struts, coil springs, reinforced, sway bar|
|Rear suspension||struts, coil springs, semi-trailing arms, reinforced, sway bar|
|Steering system||rack and pinion, unassisted||16.2:1|
||dual-circuit with servo, adjustable bias|
|length: 4200 mm (165.4 in)||width: – mm (- in)||height: 1400 mm (55.1 in)|
|wheelbase: 2400 mm (94.5 in)||front track: – mm (- in)||rear track: – mm (- in)|
|Rims – tires||
|Full / Wet Weight||850 kg (1875 lb)||bias %: F 40 / R 60 (estimated)|
|Weight/power||6.1 kg/HP (13.4 lb/HP)|
|Fuel tank||45 litres, aluminium cell type|
(C) Article by Jay Auger – website owner & author
- Images & videos are the property of their original owners
- Eifel Rallye Festival pictures used under permission – McKlein Publishing
- DISCLAIMER / LEGAL NOTICES
- Marcin Klonowski – for helping in tracking down information about this car!
- Sebastian Klein – for confirming this car was originally meant for Group B but was “recycled” into the Group S proposition.
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