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Škoda Rapid

The Škoda Rapid was a coupe designed and built by Škoda in Czechoslovakia between 1984 and 1990. Based on the Škoda 130/135/136 sedan, it was a replacement for the Škoda Garde coupe built between 1981 and 1984 itself based upon the Škoda 105/120 sedan design. Some Garde/Rapid cars were sent to Ludgate Designs in Kent, United Kingdom, by Škoda to be converted into convertibles.

Although the Škoda sedans had a poor reputation for build quality and handling throughout western Europe at the time the Rapid was significant for bucking this trend being described as "the poor mans Porsche" following from Auto Car and Motor magazine being quoted as saying the Škoda Rapid "handles like a Porsche".

Today the Škoda Rapid is gaining in popularity as a classic car with Garde and convertible models being most sought after. According to the website "How Many Left?", there were a total of 50 Škoda Rapids left on British roads in 2011.


The Rapid used a unibody structure and a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Front suspension was by double wishbones and coil springs. At the rear there were semi-trailing arms and coil springs, a major upgrade from the swing axle of earlier Škodas that gave safer and more predictable handling. Brakes were discs with four-pot calipers at the front, and drums at the rear.

The engine was a water-cooled, carburated, OHV inline four mounted longitudinally, slanted to the right and overhanging the rear axle. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a transaxle gearbox. Engine upgrades were introduced concurrently with the analogous ones of the Škoda 130 series saloon.

In the first years of production, Škoda Rapid 120 had 1174 cc 40.5 kW (55 PS; 54 bhp) aluminium block, cast iron heads engine and four-speed gearbox carried over from its predecessor Škoda Garde. These first series were made in BAZ Bratislava and they were known for its unreliability.

A stronger 1289 cc engine fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox was mounted on the Škoda Rapid 130, producing 43 kW (58 PS; 58 bhp) at 5000 rpm and 72 lb⋅ft (98 N⋅m) at 2850 rpm. Top speed was 95 mph (152.9 km/h) and the car could accelerate from standstill to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 16.5 seconds. The 1987 Rapid 136 introduced an upgraded 1.3, with new aluminium alloy 8-port cylinder heads. Power and torque increased to 46 kW (63 PS; 62 bhp) at 5000 rpm and 100 N⋅m (74 lb⋅ft) at 3000 rpm. While top speed remained the same, acceleration to 60 mph (97 km/h) was reduced to 14.9 seconds. In 1988 the Rapid 135 replaced the Rapid 130; it used the all-aluminium engine of the 136, albeit with a lower compression ratio that lowered output to 43 kW (58 PS; 58 bhp). The Rapid 135RIC was 1289cc and was fuel injected

Rapid Cabriolet[]

A convertible version of the Rapid was offered by Škoda GB on the British market. Standard Rapid coupés were imported and converted in the UK by specialist Ludgate Design & Development (LDD ltd.) in Kent, and were sold through the official Škoda dealerships. The cars retained their window frames, and were reinforced with additional chassis bracing and a T-shaped rollbar similar to the Triumph Stag's. At a total price of just under GB£5,000, the Rapid Cabriolet was the cheapest convertible on sale in the United Kingdom.