In 1972 an unusual futuristic sportscar was presented in Pieštany, Czechoslovakia.
Even in the days of socialism people wanted something different from what the auto industry offered in COMECON countries. E.g. in the 1970s those who wanted to buy a sportscar, could choose a Skoda 110 R coupe. But truth to be told with the exception of the look of its fine body, it just wasn’t sporty enough.
GIOM 1 was a completely unique car. Its name was an acronym of „Garage of 10 Motorists”. The final assembly took place in the workshop (garage) of František Němec with the help of nine friends. They were students of technical schools, trained car mechanics, and one painter.
However, GIOM 1 was not created entirely on a clean sheet of paper. Its creators cleverly used mass production parts from Škoda, specifically the 100/110 series. Most of the chassis and running gear have been borrowed from that model. But it has Koni shock absorbers and front drum brakes have been replaced with Girling discs. The rear drum brakes have been kept.
Skoda wheels with tires from Barum were used for normal operation and testing. However when it came to racing it was changed to alloy wheels and Dunlop tires.
The body was designed by František Němec and Peter Chudý. The latter was actually the instigator of the project. When the GIOM was envisioned, he was just 22 years old and successfully studied architecture at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Slovak Technical University. He has also participated in various competitions of young car designers for four years.
Chudý presented several suggestions and plans. Two colored drawings, two drawn with ink on cartoon and two pencils ones. They included various bodyworks, from coupe to roadster and sedan to practical estate. The jury then awarded them first, third, sixth, seventh and eighth places. Although the signatures on the drawings were allegedly different, it turned out that they all came from one author – Peter Chudý.
The following year, Peter Chudý won third place for a series of easy-to-adjust body designs. It was a so-called runabout, a sports car without a windscreen (something like the Sport Sport Spider in the 1990s), again using the Skoda cars as donors.
Back to the car. Modern methods have been used in the bodywork. The body panels were not only made of sheet steel but also made of aluminum and fibreglass. In addition, the windshield was flat, custom-made and glued to the body. Interestingly, the Škoda Felicia from the 1990s used a solution where the windshield was inserted into the bodywork, respectively the rubber frame, so the glass was not stuck. Moreover, the car was very low. Period sources stated that it was the lowest car produced in Czechoslovakia with a height of only 960 mm. Only Lancia Stratos by Bertone was lower in the world. GIOM 1 allegedly had the same wheelbase as its donor but it was much lower – allegedly reaching the waistline of the Skoda.
Peter Chudý and his team remembered the safety of the bodywork. So the roof was properly reinforced. There was a safety roll cage extending from behind the door to top of the windshield, reinforced with seats. Seats were fixed, which would complicate matters when the car was driven by different drivers.
When Peter Chudý and his team began to develop and build the car in 1968, he was only less than 17 years old. The car was finished in 1972, and its premiere to the public a year later.
the The 1.0-litre Škoda 100 series engine, including a four-speed gearbox, was used to power GIOM. However, for the purposes of racing, where František Němec became quite successfully, Peter Chudý’s original engine was replaced by a much better four-cylinder Fiat 1600 2xOHC with 95.7 kW, which was modified by Ladislav Dubóczy for the B5 Group.
Serial gearbox from Skoda received an additional fifth degree and other modifications by Mr. Ondřejík. They used the clutch from Fichtel & Sachs. In 1984 GIOM 2.0 was created, but that will be a story for another day.