|1984 to 1990|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupé|
|Engine||1174 cc I4 40.5kW (Rapid 120) |
1289 cc I4 43kW (Rapid 130, 135)
1289 cc I4 46kW (Rapid 136)
|Transmission||4-speed manual (Rapid 120) |
5-speed manual (Rapid 130, 135, 136)
|Wheelbase||2,400 mm (94 in)|
|Length||4,200 mm (165 in)|
|Width||1,610 mm (63 in)|
|Height||1,380 mm (54 in)|
|Kerb weight||855–915 kg (1,885–2,017 lb)|
The Škoda Rapid is a fastback coupé designed and built by AZNP in Czechoslovakia between 1984 and 1990. Based on the rear-engined 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, which was also called the Rapid in the UK market. Some Garde/Rapid cars were sent to Ludgate Design & Development 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 man’s Porsche" after Autocar and Motor defined the Škoda Rapid "a beginners' course to the 911", as it had a rear-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive, just like the Porsche 911.
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 name was originally used on 1930s Škoda models, and was revived again in 2011 on a saloon for the Indian Market, based on the Volkswagen Vento, and in 2012 on a small family car for the international market.
The Rapid, and its predecessor Garde, were internally known as Type 743 models, with the later 135/136 Rapids being referred to as Type 747.
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 headsengine 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 did not improve, 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).
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.