The Škoda Favorit 135 and Škoda Favorit 136 (Type 781) were a range of small family cars produced by Czech auto manufacturer Škoda Auto from 1987 to 1995. It was Škoda Auto's first car to follow the European trend of locating the engine at the front, mounted transversely, and was also their first car to use front-wheel drive. The Favorit was premiered in July 1987 a the Brno Engineering Fair. Like other models in the Škoda lineup, the name "Favorit" had been first used on an earlier vehicle - a large imposing luxury limosine produced between 1936 to 1941 (Type 923).
This latest Favorit eventually succeeded the ageing rear-engined, rear-wheel drive Škoda 105/120 Estelle, and was a considerable move towards the modern mainstream in design terms thanks to its Bertone-designed hatchback body and front-wheel drive. However, the Favorit initially took a long time to get to market - Škoda's then owner, the communist government of Czechoslovakia approved the development of this new front-wheel drive car back in 1982, with actual development not starting until 1983. Disputes between the government’s brief, and Nuccio Bertone, the designer, meant that the car was not designed until mid-1985, and full production wouldn't commence until 1987. Probably the worst aspects of this dispute is that a four-door saloon was fully designed, but was never allowed to go into production.
The car body style of the Škoda Favorit was a five-door five-seater hatchback. Constructed from mild steel, it utilised the automotive industries' now well-established monocoque design.
A five-door estate version named the Škoda Forman (Type 785) appeared in 1990; this was known as the Favorit Estate in the UK from its launch in June 1991, two years after British buyers were first able to buy the hatchback.
A two-door two-seat pickup truck, called the Škoda Pick-up (Type 787), was introduced the following year.
Following the takeover of Škoda Auto in 1991 by the Volkswagen Group, new developments and upgrades were rapidly implemented on the Favorit. This included new fuel injected catalytic converter versions, marketed as the Li, GLi and the GLXi models were introduced. At the same time many cosmetic improvements were made to the Favorit, such as improved door hinges, Volkswagen seats and interiors, dashboards and instrumentation. Quality control improvements were also implemented, along with safety features such as strengthened beams in the doors, and a redesigned front.
During 1993, another range of modernisations took place, and included mechanical and electrical upgrades to the engine, a facelift of the bodywork, and bigger bumpers.
Luggage capacity in the hatchback was 251 litres with the rear seats in the upright position, and this increased to 1038 litres with the rear seats folded. For more luggage, the back seat could be removed completely, a feature known also from the Renault R16.
Special versions were made in limited numbers. "Black Line" was sold with a pop-up sunroof, Hella clear rear lighs, tinted windows all-around, power door locks, tachometer, digital clock in the center overhead console, 'smart' intermittent wipers, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, Hella headlight washer, and a Blaupunkt stereo with 4 speakers - the car is recognisable from the all-black paint, and the factory 13" Ronal F-Series alloy wheels. "Silver Line" similar, only in metallic silver color with a black fascia around the back window and the B pillars. These packages were available with both hatchback and estate body styles. "Solitaire" very rare, including all of the above plus spoiler on the 5th door, factory alarm system, power front windows and fuel injection only. (The other specials came with either carbureted or fuel-injected engines.)
For all body styles, the powertrain detail of the Favorit one internal combustion engine - 1,289 cubic centimetres (78.7 cu in) inline four cylinder four-stroke liquid cooled overhead valve petrol engine, which was upgraded version of 998 cubic centimetres (60.9 cu in) engine used in Škoda 1000MB. This initially produced a rated motive power output of 46 kilowatts (63 PS; 62 bhp) at 5,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). It originally used either a Pierburg 2E-E Ecotronic single-barrel carburettor, or a Pierburg Ecotronic dual-barrel carburettor. This engine had its combustion chambers re-designed by Ricardo Consulting Engineers in the UK, while German car maker Porsche helped engineer the engine mountings. Throughout its timescale in the Favorit, the engine was progressively 'upgraded' with various iterations of emissions control systems, including two different types of catalytic converter, and also utilised improved fueling and engine control by way of Bosch Mono-Motronic single-point fuel injection - and these changes had minor effects on the rated power and torque outputs. The engine requires the cam chain changed every 60.000 kilometers, but it can least over 200 000 kilometers - the chain is relatively short, but has no tensioner.
This engine was also used in Škoda Felicia with BMM and MPI injectin and until 2003 as a 1.4MPI unit in the Škoda Fabia, and the 1.0 version in the Seat Arosa Škoda Fabia Volkswagen Lupo.
The only transmission available was a five-speed manual gearbox, which was of a transaxle design, and contained the differential and final drive units. Drive was through the front wheels.
The Škoda Motorsport entered Favorit won outright in the 2 litre Manufacturers Championship category of the 1994 FIA World Rally Championship with a total of 43 points, despite having only a 1.3 litre engine. It beat rival cars from manufacturers which included Ford, Citroën (AX Sport), Peugeot (205 Rallye and 205 GTI), Fiat (Cinquecento), Renault, Rover (Mini Cooper), Suzuki (Swift GTI), Daihatsu (Charade 1.3i), Lada (Riva), and even a Trabant P 601. It also included cars from other marques from its future parent - Volkswagen Group - namely Volkswagen and SEAT (Marbella GL). Works driver Pavel Sibera managed to pilot the Favorit into the overall top ten classification on two occasions, which included the main World Rally Championship category, and his team-mate Emil Triner achieved the same feat, with a highest placing of 9th overall in the Acropolis Rally, and 8th in the Rallye de España.
There were also prototypes with Škoda's 1.6OHC engine.