Škoda 1100 OHC racecar celebrates 60 years

Only two racecars and two coupés were ever built using the innovative design

One of Czech carmaker Škoda’s most striking sportscars was built 60 years ago. The open-top two-seat Škoda 1100 OHC had a number of ground-breaking technical innovations and ran on high-octane aviation fuel.

Škoda initially produced two open-top vehicles for long-distance races. In 1959, two coupés were also built, making the total output for the design just four vehicles.

One of the red open-top racers is at the Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav, Central Bohemia.

“The Škoda 1100 OHC is a prime example of Czech engineering and construction,” Andrea Frydlová, director of the Škoda Museum, said in a press release. “The car is one of the milestones in Škoda's 116-year involvement in motorsport.”

The sports car’s first appearance resulted in its first win. Factory driver Miroslav Fousek won a race on the municipal circuit in Mladá Boleslav at the wheel of the Škoda 1100 OHC at the end of June 1958. Due to the difficult political situation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the racing cars from Mladá Boleslav were limited to competing in socialist countries, where it did score several wins.

Škoda began developing the two-seater in the spring of 1956. The racecar was powered by a longitudinally front-mounted inline four-cylinder engine with two camshafts in the cylinder head. It had an output of 92 hp at 7700 rpm at a time when an output of 85 hp was exceptional.

Its total length was 3.88 meters, width 1.43 meters, and height only 0.964 meters, giving it a dynamic flat and stretched look.

The body was made of glass fiber reinforced plastic (GRP), so the open-top Škoda 1100 OHC weighed just 550 kilograms. The lightweight design contributed to its fast acceleration and top speed of 190 to 200 km/h, depending on the axle ratio.

In the early stages of development, the racing car had retractable folding headlights, but these soon gave way to fixed headlights with aerodynamic covers made of plexiglass.

The 1100 OHC used a latticed tube frame welded from thin-walled tubes. Previous racecars used the chassis from the Škoda 1101 Tudor production model.

In addition to the two open-top vehicles built at the end of 1957, Škoda also produced two 1100 OHC Coupés in 1959 with a closed aluminum body. This model still had a very low weight of only 618 kilograms.

Both of the coupés were badly damaged in accidents on public roads. Restorers at the Škoda Museum are currently renovating a Škoda 1100 OHC Coupé based on the preserved chassis and the drivetrain of one of the vehicles.

One of the Škoda 1100 OHC models is owned by the British importer Škoda UK, which mainly uses it at events in the United Kingdom. The other racing car usually stands in the Škoda Museum at the brand’s headquarters in Mladá Boleslav unless it is participating in national and international vintage car events.

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