Poor Man’s Porsche: 1985 Skoda Rapid

1985 Skoda Rapid Coupe

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And now for something completely different! (imagine the Monty Python theme playing in the background). I don’t know if this qualifies as a barn find, but it’s certainly different! It’s a rear engined, water-cooled, rear-wheel-drive car! The owner lives in Arizona and this car lives in Minnesota, where he visits Stupic once a year (Yes, he named his car Stupic). He imported it in 2012. Skodas had a reputation for being, well, pretty crummy cars, but these Rapids were better and even referred to as the poor man’s Porsche, or even a “beginner’s” 911. This one is located in Willmar, Minnesota and is listed for sale here on craigslist for $2,500.

Skoda interior

The engine is an inline-four, overhead valves sitting front to back over the rear axle and slanted like the right bank of a V*. The suspension is fairly advanced for it’s time with a double wishbone and coil springs up front and semi-trailing arms and coils in the rear. This 130 has the “upgraded” and more reliable 58 horsepower engine and a 5-speed transmission. It has blazing zero to sixty times of about 16, yes, 16 seconds and will go 95 miles an hour!

Skoda mudflaps

Skodas have certainly changed since this one was built. I rented a Skoda Octavia wagon last fall in Iceland. They are based on the Jetta and are a really nice car, but nowhere as unique as this one. This Skoda is mostly rust free with just a little rust on the driver’s side rocker panel and a few other spots on the hood and fenders. It does look pretty solid and colorful. I’m actually tempted to buy this one and stick it in our museum. It certainly would be different. Otherwise, what would you do with this except drive it occasionally?

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  1. Tom

    How did he import it in 2012, does it met U.S. fed save and emission laws? No pic of the engine?

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  2. Mark E

    It was 27 years old in 2012, easily importable under the 25 year rule.

    I’d drive it to the odd car shows and open the ‘trunk’ to surprise people who start walking around it looking at what they think is an old Mazda GLC/323. It’s seriously tempting to at least look at this one as it IS the first interesting car on here that’s been within 100 (actually 50) miles of my home. But maybe I’d better give David first dibs for his museum… (Please let us know where it is and when it’s open if this is the kind of thing you have in it. I know I’d personally love to visit!)

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    • David Frank DavidAuthor

      You can see details of our museum, The California Automobile Museum” here http://www.calautomuseum.org
      (I say “our” because I’m one of many volunteers who work there)

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  3. Victor brown

    It is a horrible car, all the pre VW Skodas were awful, it is built on the cheap and it shows, I would rather you did put it in the museum so that nobody is tempted to put it back on the road.

    Very very poor mans Porsche, even a Morris marina coupe would be closer than that atrocity.

    To give some perspective, when they were more common, (and they used to be all over the place) even Lada’s were considered posh by comparison.

    The Skoda estelle,(the saloon car on which the rapid was based) was the butt of many jokes.

    What do you call a Skoda convertible?
    A skip.

    What’s the difference between a Skoda and a tampon?
    Tampon comes with a tow rope!

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    • Victor brown

      I notice that there is a Lada Riva estate or ‘wagon’ parked behind the Skoda in the first picture, so that seller has an exceptional supply of bad taste!

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  4. Paul B

    Parts are no prob, acceleration is neck-snapping and build quality fantastic. What’s not to like? Still, some perverse sensibility makes me want this thing. It would be great in a museum as a piece of fading Cold War era history. The engineers at Skoda were better than the Russians and their Czech flunkies let them be. There are some good ideas here. Somebody (just not me) save this thing.

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  5. Ian Munro

    Skoda cars were sold in Canada for a short while about 30 years ago. Those vehicles had to comply with the North American safety regulations of the era. One of my workmates owned one.
    I remember looking at one in the back-lot of a dealer about 15 years ago. It was sitting with a flat battery, so I just walked away….

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  6. Stewart

    You forgot to mention that these were the most successful rally car in their day, in their class they were pretty much unbeatable unlike thier terminally dull modern day counterparts

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  7. Andy

    Toronto International Auto show, 1983. It was held at a sprawling exhibition hall across from the airport. in a smaller rear hall were the displays from accessory manufacturers, but included in there that year was a back wall of lesser known car companies. Skoda was there with their rear-engine wonders. Next to them were Yugo, and next to them were Dacia, a company from Romania, building 10 year old Renault 12’s under license. Next to them was another company I’d never heard of. displayed ugly, boxy, little sedans called the ‘Pony’. Funny Korean name….Hyundai. whatever became of them?

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  8. Desi

    I was at that same show. My father bought a dark green Pony there. It lasted almost to 500,000km. The only reason we got rid of it was that the door handles had all rusted off. The rest of the car was great. Only thing other than regular maintenance was an alternator replacement. The headlight switch broke in the steering column, so my father, the ingenious that he is drove a wood screw down the positive terminal of the battery and we’d alligator clip the headlamp wires to the battery at night. Lol…
    I, too, wonder what ever became of that Korean car company.

    Wasn’t it the Dacia that had the spare tire on top of the engine?

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  9. RickyM

    My Aunt had about 6 Skodas over the years and always praised their reliability – she would never let anybody put them down as they served her very well. Could be a little tail happy though ! Rare car in the US – good one to buy for its rarity value.

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  10. Samuel

    Skoda Rapid 130 is the best car. all modern cars are ugly I can’t stand curvy rounded design. I’d rather drive a Skoda 130 Rapid than any of todays crap cars. I hate round designs. late 70s and 80s cars are the best.

    Like 0

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