Winter trip with the Skoda 130 RS

The driving force is a 1,3-liter four-cylinder that craves gas and engine speed

It only has 140 hp and every upscale compact now drives faster. But in its day, the Skoda 130 RS was one of the most successful sports cars on the continent - and is still so heartwarming today that it makes you sweat even in deep freezing temperatures.

It feels like being in a cold store: the breath freezes, the cold creeps into the bones, joints are slowly becoming stiff and the racing suit is no real help either. But if you want to drive a car on an ice rink, you shouldn't let the low temperatures stop you. And that's exactly why the high-speed riders from all over the world come to Zell am See every year in February to relive the legendary Ice Race on spikes and in drifts. 

This year Corona threw the ice-cream-hurry through the bill. But because the slope was already groomed and Skoda finally has 120 years of motorsport to celebrate, at least the Czechs came and heated up the icy winter in the Salzburger Land with a few pirouettes without an audience and without an event. 

As literally the hottest oven, they brought the 130 RS with them. After all, the neat Skoda Coupé was once considered the Porsche of the East and in its day it won pretty much everything there was to win in European motorsport back then - including a double class win at the Monte Carlo Rally and the European Touring Car Championship. 

"The 130 RS has shaped the good motorsport reputation of the Skoda brand to this day," says Michal Velebný, coordinator of the restoration workshop at the Skoda Museum. "To put this racing car on the wheels in the then communist Czechoslovakia was not easy and shows the technological competence and the commitment of the Skoda developers and technicians at the time." 

The 130 RS leaves no doubt about that: presented in 1975, it weighs only 720 kilos. Because the roof and doors are made of aluminum, the fenders and bonnet are made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, and the panes are as thin as the window glass of a dilapidated mountain hut. A robust protective frame ensures the necessary stability of the chassis from the series model 110 R. The driving force is a 1,3-liter four-cylinder, which craves gas and engine speed and thanks you for the quick work on the short-step four-speed gearbox with a top speed of 220 km / h. 

The combination of modern engine technology, lightweight construction and motor sport fine-tuning works: in his first season he took the first three places in the circuit races of the Czechoslovak Peace and Friendship Cup, followed by dozens of top placements in Germany and abroad by the early end of 1983 and even as a pensioner, the racing car still heats up its occupants properly. In any case, more than all the RS models from the current range, in which the genes of the Czech Porsche live on. And all without heating.

Because even if the tin is frozen on the inside and an icy wind whistles through the thin panes, it only takes a few meters on this frosty day for the blood to boil. The spikes, which are turned into the tires by hand, claw into the ice, a heavy foot on the accelerator propels the engine to over 4.000 revs, the razor-sharp racing clutch snaps and a hot dance begins on the icy ground: the rear-wheel drive car takes the first bend in drift the second goes all the way across and from the third the 130 RS becomes a snow blower, which throws the white powder over the board in meter-long tows. And in between, he accelerates every time as wildly as if he were speed skating to the roar of 8.000 tours. Anyone who is still cold now cannot be helped either. 

And that's just the warm-up. Because after a few laps the driver changes and rally professional Matthias Kahle takes over the wheel. He does it so virtuously that the Skoda becomes an ice princess and drifts more artfully over the slopes on its spikes than Kathi Witt once did on her ice-skating runners: the record champion dances on the ideal line with millimeter precision, opens the rear, and turns the coupé back again on the path of virtue and shoots across the ice rink, so that you gratefully let yourself fall into the suspender belts that keep you uncompromisingly in the bucket seats.

Calling Kalhle a stoker is definitely meant as a compliment. Not only because he sets a pace on the ice slope that normal mortals would hardly dare to do, even on dry asphalt. Especially not with a classic car over 40 years old. But also because the air will soon be boiling in the car and the rally professional will also light a big fire for his co-driver. 

But as good as the 130 RS is in good shape, it has to cool down after a few laps on the automotive ice-skating slope, because it got so hot on the ice. The occupants, on the other hand, have to get into the warmth very quickly. Not that they got cold during this hell of a ride in the freezer. But on the contrary. But that's exactly the problem - at these temperatures, even sweat soon turns into ice and then it quickly becomes uncomfortable. Especially when the 130 RS is parked in the trailer again and is no longer available as a replacement for the sauna that is so popular with winter sports enthusiasts and is closed due to Corona.

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