The Czech carmaker built its first RS models in 1974 to conquer European motorsport, with a particular focus on rallying. Unsurprisingly, the ‘RS’ abbreviation stands for ‘Rally Sport’.
The 200 RS was powered by a 2.0 litre engine with an overhead camshaft producing 120kW, able to propel the RS to a top speed of 210 km/h.
Further sports pedigree came from Porsche, who provided the RS’s transmission, while Skoda developed a trailing-arm rear axle to improve handling.
Following the success of the 180 and 200 RS, Skoda was immediately encouraged to start work on a replacement RS model, and it came just one year later in the form of the 130 RS.
Dubbed ‘the Porsche of the East’, the 130 used a smaller 1.3 litre four-cylinder engine producing 103kW, but the 130’s top speed was 10 km/h faster than the model it replaced.
The 130 RS competed for seven years, racing from 1975-1981 during which time it won the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally in 1977 and the European Touring Car Championship in 1981.
Twenty years later - and now part of the Volkswagen Group - Skoda revived the RS name for performance versions of some of its road-going models.
The Octavia was the first Skoda to get the 'new' RS treatment, launched in 2000 with a 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 132kW.
Equipped with a five-speed manual, the 2000 Octavia RS could reach 100km/h from rest in 7.9 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 235km/h.
By comparison, the current Octavia RS (on sale in Australia since March) is powered by 2.0 litre engines in either turbo-petrol or turbo-diesel form, with the petrol version (shared with the Volkswagen Golf GTI) producing 162kW while the diesel is good for 135kW.
The Fabia RS joined the range in 2003, with pricing for the Fabia and Octavia in RS form for the Australian market starting from $27,190 and $36,490 plus on-roads respectively.
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