Events : The 2013 SALT Rally launched

Britain’s biggest classic tour for Eastern Bloc, Soviet and Military classics is back. The seventh running of the annual Soviet Auto Luxury Tour, known as the SALT Rally, has been announced by Organiser Allen Walker, who has put together a weekend-long celebration of classics made under communism, with a tour centred on Cheshire from 7-9 June 2013.

SALT Rally entrants are known as ‘tourists’, and the tour book contains a fully-tulip’d route for the intrepid tourists to follow, which on every tour has off-road sections and deep fords to deal with. Tourists are also encouraged to dress up in period national costume, giving the event a Goodwood Revival flavour with a Soviet and military theme. For 2013, visits to  the Imperial War Museum in Liverpool, Jodrell Bank radio telescope and Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker near Nantwich are scheduled.

If you have a Soviet vehicle of any type, or a NATO (1945-’91) military classic, then you are eligible to bring it.

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Keith Adams
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  1. I remember the Skoda Estelle & Rapide coupe, Wartburg and Moskovich but don’t recognise that American looking car (middle bottom photo). Can anyone tell me what it is?

  2. I have to say that there is an affinity between cars from the Rover group and those from the Former Soviet Union. The main difference is,I guess, than more communists worked(and slept)at Longbridge than at Lada Togliatti!

  3. That Rapid is very very desirable indeed- considering that Skoda were desperately starved of funds at the time, they somehow managed to produce a design which has stood the test of time extremely well- and certainly better than the vast majority of it’s decadent Western counterparts.

    I want one.

  4. I had a rapid same colour as the photo, wish i still had it, great fun getting the back end out! Also had a white rapid sport…the good old days.

  5. I know the Skoda Rapid name is being used today for a car based on an enlarged Polo-platform (with a svelte 3-door apparently on its way) that appears to be the VAG Group’s rather cynical attempt to prevent Skoda from outshining other VAG Group products.

    Still given that Porsche are also part of the VAG Group I would like to see Skoda do something crazy once in while like making use of Porsche knowhow to create a rear-engined rwd 2/4-door roughly supermini-size sub-Cayman utilitarian / budget performance model or even an anti-prestige ultra-anonymous luxury car based on the Audi A5 / A8 (that could almost pass off as a Skoda Superb to the untrained eye and would probably be rather useful in today’s economic times for people not wishing to draw attention to themselves).

  6. @8, Nate,

    Skoda don’t need Porsche’s input for producing a great-handling small RWD rear/engined car. What they need is permission to be let off the leash.

    Since becoming part of VAG, Skoda have shown again and again what they can do with not particularly promising mechanicals, and have shone.

    Let’s not forget that at VW’s inception, it’s initial signiature creation was not born out of the brilliance of a German engineer’s inspiration. Rather, it was borne from blatant plagiarism of a superior prewar Czech Tatra product that both Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche were both, ahem, ‘inspired’ by. Hans Ledwinka ought to be given his due respect in the history of the automobile- in my book he rubs shoulders with Issigonis and Pierre Boulanger.

    The Czechs were highly regarded as an engineering nation prior to the formation of the Iron Wall.

    Whilst Skoda models often seem to outshine it’s German cousins using the same mechanicals, I doubt very much that VAG and Porsche would ever give it free rein to piss all over them.

  7. Chris Baglin

    I do not disagree with you regarding the input from Porsche, its just that in the Porsche 911 they have had almost 50 years experience dealing with or largely sorting out the inherent disadvantages of the layout.

    The VAG Group could also draw on Skoda’s pre-VW rally heritage by producing a sub-Scirocco/Golf RWD rear-engined car, since anti-premium / budget brands appear to be cleaning up atm in terms of sales (due to both the economy and premium fatigue).

    Fwiw, its a great pity that communism destroyed Tatra’s potential to rival other European carmakers as other carmakers / car designs from behind the Iron Curtain (they even produced a front-engined fwd Fiat 126 prototype as well as a one-box car design that would inspire Renault to create the original Twingo).

    Apparently a Dutch journalist, Paul Schilperoord claims an obscure Jewish Car Designer called Josef Ganz was another inspiration behind the Volkswagen Beetle (or at least the concept of an “affordable people’s car”).

  8. Why is a Rover P5B bringing up the tail of the parade lead by the Moskvich and Trabanten? Is it a sarcastic reference to Harold Wilson, or just there by conicidence?

  9. If they created an A5 with a Skoda badge I’d be tempted.
    The side profile of that is my guilty secret, Walter de Silva clearly showing his Alfa Romeo influence.
    In many ways it is a modern day Manta / Capri.
    But I dislike the badge and the image that people buy into and could never own one (from that I also suspect it would be overpriced, uncomfortable and not as reliable as marketing let on).

  10. That was an interesting article Nate- and certainly the Dutch journalist’s theory appears credible.

    A rear engined car for the 21st Century ought to be possible- but it would need to have an exceptional Euro Ncap rating to overcome prejudice about rear engined cars being unsafe in a crash. Actually, given a choice between crashing an average front engined car or a rear engined car such as a Porsche 911 into a concrete wall, I’d choose the latter, as I don’t think having a huge lump of cast iron or alloy held in place with a few bolts is going to be safer than a larger area of squashable steel to absorb the impact. Question is, how safe would a rear engined car be if the front ‘boot’ was filled with incompressible materials, eg a bootload of IKEA flat-pack furntiture.

    There are also packaging issues in regard to boot and storage capacity, as unlike with a FWD platform where you can increase the height of the storage area (eg by producing a squared-off estate or van), you can’t increase the height of the front boot. Of course there were VW rear engined vans and Variant estates but they were compromised compared with their conventional counterparts.

  11. Chris Baglin

    It seems like recent safety regulations are forcing carmakers to at least consider going with the rear-engined rwd layout, VW itself initially planned for the UP! to use the layout until they had a change of heart due to the costs involved (in other words limited parts-sharing with other VAG group products), while it appears the upcoming 3rd generation Renault Twingo and related 2nd generation Smart Forfour are also set to use the layout.

  12. The new Rapid is in the Paris article under events, if you want a look see. As for a rear engined come back? The current market is weaned on front wheel drive, VAG’s lawyers are unlikely to allow a car with an engine behind or over the rear axle leave the drawing board – skodas backwards in ditches/hedges/costa coffee all over the show!

    I am rather mystified by the Skoda mystique though – do we believe VW let’s them run wild? Of course not, Skoda’s design, engineering production is all dictated by the parent.

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