Škoda 105/120/125


Škoda 105/120/125

The Škoda 105/120/125 were three variations of a rear-engined, rear-wheel drive family car that was produced by Czech car manufacturer Škoda Auto in Mladá Boleslav, Czechoslovakia between 1976 and 1990; engine sizes were 1.0 and 1.2 liters respectively. Other variations included the Škoda 130/135/136 series that followed from 1984.

Infobox Automobile
name = Škoda 105
manufacturer = Škoda Auto
production = 1976–1989
class = Small family car
body_style = 4-door saloon
engine = 1.0 L I4
transmission = 4-speed manual
layout = RR layout
length = Auto mm|4160|1 "(76-83)"
Auto mm|4200|1 "(83-89)"
width = Auto mm|1595|1 "(76-83)"
Auto mm|1610|1 "(83-89)"
height = Auto mm|1400|1
predecessor = Škoda 100
successor = Škoda Favorit
similar =

Infobox Automobile
name = Škoda 120
manufacturer = Škoda Auto
production = 1976–1990
class = Small family car
body_style = 4-door saloon
engine = 1.2 L I4
layout = RR layout
transmission = 4-speed manual
5-speed manual
length = Auto mm|4160|1 "(76-83)"
Auto mm|4200|1 "(83-90)"
width = Auto mm|1595|1 "(76-83)"
Auto mm|1610|1 "(83-90)"
height = Auto mm|1400|1
predecessor = Škoda 110
successor = Škoda Favorit
similar =

Infobox Automobile
name = Škoda 125
manufacturer = Škoda Auto
production = 1988–1990
class = Small family car
body_style = 4-door saloon
engine = 1.2 L I4
layout = RR layout
transmission = 5-speed manual
length = Auto mm|4200|1
width = Auto mm|1610|1
height = Auto mm|1400|1
predecessor = Škoda 110
successor = Škoda Favorit
similar =

Initial design

In the early 1970s, Škoda had originally intended to produce their successor for the S100/110 as a front-engined front-wheel drive model. However, because of the lack of funding (Škoda had even applied for license in Moscow to produce their new car with a front-engine and front-wheel drive), Škoda was refused a license and was forced to update the earlier S100/110 saloon models. The main reason Škoda was not granted a license to produce their new car was because it would have turned out to be a thoroughly more modern car than any other car from the Soviet Union, something of which the Russians wouldn’t have been too happy about. At that time, most cars from the Soviet Union had either a front engine driving the rear wheels or a rear engine driving the rear wheels. There was even a front-engined front-wheel drive Škoda 105/120 prototype, which looked almost identical to the rear-engined one. Because imports were banned, Škoda would not have had the proper resources or technology to produce a front-engined car with front-wheel drive.

Improvements

In August 1976, the Škoda 105/120 went into production. Despite being basically the same as the previous S100/110 under the skin, the new cars had a lot of improvements, such as a front-mounted radiator with a thermostatic fan. The heating unit was now inside the dashboard, and the fuel tank was now underneath the rear seat. All models had much the same mechanical specification as the previous models, with a 4-speed gearbox, independent suspension, worm-and-drive steering, and swing-axle rear suspension.

The choice of engines for the Škoda 105/120 was either a 1046cc unit for the 105 models or a 1174cc unit for the 120 models.

The Škoda 130 models followed in 1984 and introduced many improvements into the existing 105/120 range.

In 1987, with the introduction of the new Škoda 136 series, most of the Škoda 105/120 series was discontinued, with the exception of just the 105 L, 105 SP and 120 L. When the 125 L was added in 1988, the 105 SP was discontinued, followed by the 105 L in 1989. Apart from the 135/136 series, the only other rear-engined models that remained were now the 120 L and 125 L.

Initial criticism

The cars were initially criticised for unpredictable handling "at the limit" but it is unlikely that most motorists would notice anything untoward under normal conditions. The cars continued to win their class with monotonous regularity on international rallies, and were increasingly popular with budget-conscious motorists across Europe. The location of the radiator at the front of the car had the advantage of cooling the engine much more sufficiently on the motorway. However, because it was much more complex than in the earlier models, the cooling system was very prone to airlocks, which often led to overheating and even head gasket failure.

uccess

Rugged and robust vehicles, they were designed for the primitive roads of Soviet-dominated Central and Eastern Europe, where the best traction layout of a two wheel drive car is a significant benefit. They are still a common sight in Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Even enthusiasts for the marque would agree that quality control could sometimes have been improved in this era. It was these cars that inspired the famous Škoda jokes, but re-evaluation of the models with the benefit of many years hindsight means that the cars are much more highly regarded today.

The end of an era

After a production run of fourteen years, which included a total of 1,961,295 cars (counting just the Škoda 105/120/125 series cars alone), production of the very last rear-engined Škodas was finally brought to an end in 1990.

On October 5, 2004, a survey conducted by [http://www.bvv.cz/i2000/Akce/b-salon.nsf/WWWAllPDocsID/VJEK-66CBVJ?OpenDocument&LANG=GB&NAV=1&ID=0/ AUTOSALON] revealed that among the 3,706,012 cars registered in the Czech Republic, 1,780,124 were Škodas. At 305,726 cars, the Škoda 120 represented the entire group, while there were 216,857 Škoda 105 cars, which made that model the fourth most common Škoda car.

Model by Model

Market Differences

Britain

In the UK, the Škoda 105/120 range was sold under the name Škoda Estelle, where it proved popular with 102,105 cars finding homes between 1977 and 1990. In 1987 alone (which was three years short of the end of the cars production run), UK Škoda dealers managed to sell 17,000 rear engined Škodas including the Rapid Coupè despite the cars negative image, dismal handling and outdated technology. Its main selling points were its spacious interior, dependability, ease of maintenance and low asking price. Reliability was often a strong point with these cars, some of which have reached over the 100,000 mile point and are still running to the present day due to good maintenance. Skoda made great play in its advertising of its consistent class wins in the RAC rallies in the 1970s and 80s with the Estelle.

In August 2006, an Auto Express survey revealed that just 612 Škoda Estelles sold in Britain were still registered with the DVLA, which officially made it the fifth most scrapped car in Britain sold in the last 30 years. The four cars with a higher rate for scrappings had all finished production at least four years before the Estelle. With the Škoda Estelle being the last mass-produced rear-engined small family car in Europe, not to mention the fact it's becoming increasingly rare in the UK, prices for good examples are rising.

Models

* 105 Lux (1984–1989) - Name given to the 105 L after the 1984 model year but had otherwise the same equipment and trim as the 120 L apart from a slight difference in the headlights.
* 120 LSE (1979–1987) - Same as the 120 LS plus vinyl roof, sunroof, tinted glass and stereo radio/cassette player. During the 1981-1984 period, there were no 120 LS models available only to special order.
* 120 LXE (1987) - Same as the 120 LX plus sunroof, tinted glass and stereo radio/cassette player.
* 120 L Five (1987–1990) - Same as the 120 L, plus 5-speed gearbox, sunroof, front door pockets, digital clock and stereo radio/cassette player.
* Rapid 120 CE (1984) - limited edition of 90 released to celebrate Škoda's 90th anniversary, featuring golden alloy wheels and all-black paint with gold stripes along the flanks.

Finland

The Škoda 105/120 range sold reasonably well in Finland, particularly in the late '70s.

Models

* 105 Super - this name was given to the later 105 S.
* 120 LSX - special edition model available in 1984 to celebrate Škoda's ninetieth Anniversary.

Germany

There was a 105 LS model available, but it was not a strong seller and couldn't hope to compete with established family favourites like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Escort and Opel Kadett.

New Zealand

The Škoda 105/120 was imported into New Zealand in the late 1970's and proved to be an affordable, popular and robust 'no-frills' vehicle, comparing well against equivalent English imports. There was a political scandal though in the early 1980's when it was reported that a batch of imported Škodas were made with Czech prison labor (such imports are forbidden under New Zealand law), but the importation was allowed to continue when it was determined that the importer knew nothing about this aspect of the vehicles construction.

External links

* [http://www.skoda-forum.com/ International Škoda Forum] . Worldwide.
* [http://skodaklub.racingnet.hu/ Škoda Klub Hungary] . In Hungarian.
* [http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Factory/4536/skodafin.htm Iivo's Škoda Page] Contains information about the Škodas in Finland, especially the rear-engined models but also contains some information on the 1950s Škoda Octavia. In Finnish and English.
* [http://skoda.panda.cz/index.php3 Škoda Tech Web] Information about all Škodas. In Czech.
* [http://minosurkala.webpark.cz/index.htm Auta 4] Contains technical information on most Škoda cars, including the rear-engined models. In Czech.
* [http://bunnik.club.fr/cl030102.htm Škoda Rapid 130R] A brief summary about the Škoda Rapid. In French.
* [http://www.msstudio.com.pl/~mirek/ Škoda 105, 120, 130 & Rapid] In Polish.
* [http://www.skodarapid.com/ Škoda Rapid.Com] Contains information mainly on the Škoda Rapid cars in Britain. In English.
* [http://www.drivearchive.co.uk/home.asp?OwnerID=C04DB112C7E60FFD2234012430879 DriveArchive - Vehicle History and Fate]
* [http://www.bvv.cz/i2000/Akce/b-salon.nsf/WWWAllPDocsID/VJEK-66CBVJ?OpenDocument&LANG=GB&NAV=1&ID=0/ AUTOSALON]

Czech pages of Skoda 110R fans

http://www.skoda110r.cz - great resource of 110R DIY modifications
http://www.skoda110r.com - great resource for 110R originalists
http://www.skodateam.cz - go and race twice a year with old skoda
http://skoda.daves.cz - lots of info how to DIY 130RS in reality show - diary

ee also

*Škoda 130/135/136


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