The Skoda 1100 OHC Coupé returns after a seven-year restoration

On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the birth of the Skoda Motorsport division, the manufacturer completed the restoration of only one of two Skoda 1100 OHC Coupé cars from 1959. The whole process took 7 years and required a lot of “archaeological” work.

Due to the technical solutions applied, the Skoda 1100 OHC was one of the newest racing cars of the 1950s, at least the ones behind the Iron Curtain. Initially, two open-top cars were built, while in 1959 two more aluminum closed coupes were made. Modern drive unit, independent suspension and light construction She created a mixture with great potential for success in racing.

Skoda 1100 OHC Coupe 1959
Archive photo of a Skoda 1100 OHC from the 1960s.

Depending on the gear ratio, which can be adjusted to suit the specific racetrack, the two-person car with an aluminum body, approximately 3.9 meters long and weighing approximately 600 kilograms, reached a top speed of about 200 km/h. To build the Skoda 1100 OHC Coupé, a light but solid gear frame made of thin-walled tubes was used. The naturally aspirated four-cylinder in-line engine developed 92 hp (85 hp from 1 liter of displacement!) and swing it up to 8,500 rpm. It was located behind the front axle, which, together with the rear axle gear and the 5-speed gearbox (transmission) placed next to it, allowed an almost perfect weight distribution of 50:50.

The unfortunate fate of an almost unique model

The Skoda 1100 OHC Coupé was built with other things in mind About participating in the legendary 24 Hours of Le MansBut in the end its performance did not materialize. The two-car racing career lasted from 1960 to 1962, and for political reasons was limited to local motorsport events. Later, due to changing regulations, it was sold to individuals, and eventually both cars were damaged in road accidents. The owner of the first car, the remaining parts of which were used for the conversion, replaced the 1100 OHC engine with another 4-cylinder unit. Its original engine was on display for a long time at the Mladá Boleslav Vocational School and was eventually installed in a rebuilt 1100 OHC Coupé.

Skoda 1100 OHC Coupe
Skoda 1100 OHC Coupé racing from 1959 after complete rebuild.

The second copy was almost completely burned in the accident. The driver managed to escape, but the aluminum body was irreparably damaged. The rear axle with gearbox was removed from the car, which was part of the collection in the National Art Museum in Prague and later donated to the Skoda Museum. Moreover, in 2014, the museum purchased from a private collector 1100 OHC three-piece gearbox, along with a complete front axle and other preserved parts.

A legend is born again

The car restoration project would not have been possible without the appropriate technical documentation, which was preserved almost completely, including an explanation of each production section and drawings describing the assembly of individual components. The original mechanical parts suffered very little wear, as the car took part in only a few races. The entire chassis renovation, including the rebuilt radiator, fuel tank and other components, was completed at the end of 2015.

Originally, the bodywork was to be displayed in the Skoda Museum along with the open-body 1100 OHC model. However, it was decided to rebuild the coupe as a fully functional vehicle. Rebuilding the aluminum hull turned out to be the most difficult. Based on the documents of the former factory designer Yaroslav Kindla, the carpenters built a wooden model. Subsequently, on this basis, the aluminum body panels were machined by hand and the necessary welding and fastening operations were carried out.

Then, based on scans of 2D graphics in a 1: 1 scale, a 3D grid was generated, which was subjected to visual processing. in this way The shapes of the individual elements were researched and improved, for example in the front of the car and around the taillights. The drawings were compared with historical photographs and a 3D model, which allowed experts to make corrections on the fly. The result was scale models and 1:1 scale models of the front and rear body corners.

The body is made of aluminum sheets with a thickness of 0.8 mm and 1 mm. Originally, both coupes had an anodized finish, but this surface treatment did no good on the track, so the cars were painted red in the middle of the 1962 season.

The complex design for a complete reconstruction required the acquisition of many smaller components that were identical to the parts used in models produced at the time. For example, the exterior door handles on the coupe were the same as on the Skoda 1200 “Sedan”, some switches and the ignition lock were also used on the Skoda 440 “Spartak” and Octavia. In turn, the three-spoke steering wheel, finished in black plastic, was taken from the pre-war Skoda Popular.

A short film showing the renewal of the Skoda 1100 OHC Coupé:

And here you can see the Skoda OHC 1100 Coupé in action:

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