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Almost ten years after the premiere of the iconic ŠKODA 130 RS coupé, the next generation of rally vehicles from Mladá Boleslav, the ŠKODA 130 LR, was at the starting line: In the 1980s, Group B racing cars dominated the rally world. The car manufacturer from Mladá Boleslav once again had a 'hot iron' in the fire, which with its talented drivers repeatedly asserted itself against the most prominent names in the scene. Most rally fans remember Group B as the domain of high-performance racing cars, which at the time reached almost unimaginable speeds. But precisely because of these enormous achievements, there were a series of incidents that ultimately led to the complete abolition of the category.
Skoda 130 LR (1984)
In the shadow of the almost terrifying, charged models from well-known manufacturers, the ŠKODA 130 LR also started in Group B. Despite significantly less performance in comparison, he drove against the competition to great successes. With a rear engine and drive, the ŠKODA 130 LR was designed in a comparatively unconventional way.
The only vehicle on the track with a similar technical concept was the Porsche 911. Development of the 130 LR began after the abolition of Group 2 put an end to the long, successful career of the 130 RS. The task was to design a replacement for the ŚKODA 130 RS, as its homologation had almost expired. At the same time, a vehicle was to be presented that was based on the large-scale production model ŠKODA 105/120. The new car should be even lighter, faster and easier to control than the previous model.
with many innovations on board
For this purpose, the designers in ŠKODA's motorsport department developed a number of innovations. The 1,3 liter engine received a new eight-channel cylinder head made of aluminum. This came from the unit development for the FAVORIT, the future successful model was in preparation at the time. With two double Weber DCOE carburetors, the unit produced 130 hp, which were transmitted to the rear wheels via a five-speed gearbox and a self-locking differential.
The 130 hp were particularly impressive due to the ŠKODA 130 LR's low curb weight of just 730 kilograms. The hoods and doors were made of aluminum, the side windows and later also the rear window were made of Makrolon Plexiglas. Everything that was not strictly necessary was removed from the vehicle. A light metal protective frame from HEIGO provided protection for the occupants.
A new rear axle with modified kinematics ensured better controllability in the 130 LR. It made it possible to change the ground clearance and install a stabilizer. Furthermore, the front suspension was modified and adjustments were made to the braking system. The front brake discs were cooled and disc brakes were used on the rear axle as a further technical innovation. The effectiveness of the front and rear brakes could be adjusted, and the hydraulic handbrake was also an innovation.
The homologation of the ŠKODA 130 LR with the testing of a series of 200 units by the World Automobile Federation FIA took place on December 19, 1984 at the Vrchlabí plant. The LR made its debut on the rally track in February of the following year, naturally with the aim of building on the numerous successes of its predecessor. At its premiere, the Valašská zima rally in 1985, the ŠKODA 130 LR with the driver teams Křeček / Motl, Haugland / Bohlin and Kvaizar / Janeček immediately took the top three places. The ŠKODA 130 LR achieved its first major international success at the famous British RAC rally at the end of 1985. Here the Norwegian pilot John Haugland took 15th place overall.
Acropolis Rally - Victory in its class
The 130 LR achieved its next big triumph the following year at the Acropolis Rally, one of the toughest rallies in the world. The duo Ladislav Křeček / Bořivoj Motl won their class and took 13th place overall. They even surpassed this result at the 1986 San Remo Rally, finishing sixth overall. The greatest success was the victory of the Austrian driver team Gerhard Kalnay / Günter Tazreiter in the overall ranking of the Marlboro Günaydin Turkish Rally. In this EM round, the ŠKODA 130 LR left the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, the Audi Quattro, the MG Metro 6R4, the Renault 5 Turbo and other strong vehicles in the field far behind.
As a result of fatal accidents in the 1986 season, the FIA had already made the decision towards the end of the season to discontinue Group B, which was practically synonymous with the end of the international career of the 130 LR. He then drove for two more years in the Czechoslovak championship and in races of the Peace and Friendship Cup at that time, in which the duo Pavel Sibera / Petr Gross won the last championship title in a vehicle with a rear-engined vehicle in the 1988 season. During this time, the works team was already taking part in international races with the Š 130 L vehicles modified for Group A, with minor modifications. At the same time, production of the new FAVORIT short-tail model with a front-engined engine started and the designers focused on developing a new rally vehicle with front-wheel drive.
200 homologation vehicles & 20 racing cars
Since the vehicles were not spared in amateur rallies and other races, very few of the hundreds of 130 LR (200 homologation vehicles, 20 racing cars and an unknown number of vehicles that have been modified for the 130 LR specification) has been preserved to this day. Thanks to the increasing interest in rally vehicles from the 1980s, the original 130 LR works vehicles are now very popular among collectors and are traded at correspondingly high prices.
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ŠKODA 130 LR (1984): last motorsport model from Mladá Boleslav with a rear engine
Photo credit: Škoda
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