A team of mechanics and enthusiasts from Volkswagen’s Škoda division has fully restored the only surviving 966 Supersport, an open-top single-seat racer that earned the honor of being the fastest Czech car in the 1950s.
The 966 Supersport was introduced in 1950 in Mladá Boleslav, Škoda’s home town. The first example built was involved in a serious accident shortly after its debut and deemed too badly damaged to repair so Škoda hastily built a second one from scratch. A third 966 was later assembled in order to have a two-car lineup.
The 966 Supersport made its debut at the Grand Prix of Czechoslovakia on September 24th, 1950, where it managed to take second place in the below-1,100cc category. Driven by some of the best-known Czech pilots like Misoslav Fousek and Jaroslav Netušil, the 966s won a number of national races over the following year, securing Škoda’s spot in the world of motorsports.
Power for the 966 came from a 1,089cc four-cylinder engine that traced its roots back to the Tudor, a large old-fashioned sedan built from 1946 to 1952. The mill made 90 horsepower in its initial state of tune thanks to upgrades like an all-aluminum cylinder head that had hemispherical combustion chambers. Škoda experimented with a number of different drivetrains including a twin-supercharged model fitted with a 1.5-liter engine and a naturally-aspirated 1.2-liter engine.
The 180-horsepower supercharged engine helped the aluminum-bodied 966 reach a top speed of 197.8 km/h (122 mph) in the fall of 1953, making it the fastest car in Czechoslovakia at the time.
Škoda made several modifications to the 966 over the course of its racing career, including fitting it with larger fenders in order to comply with new race regulations. The 966s were retired from racing and used to train new drivers when the 1100 Special OHC made its debut.
Restored to its 1953 livery, the last remaining 966 is the third example that Škoda built. It is currently on display at the Škoda museum in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic.