by Mike -
When I think about car manufactures I do not think of Czechoslovakia. But it turns out that the Czech company Tatra is the third oldest car manufacturer in the world behind Daimler Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot. Tatra made many different models over the years in addition to the 1947 T87 4-Door Sedan shown here.
The T87 is powered by a rear-mounted 2.9 liter air-cooled 90-degree overhead cam V8 engine that produces 85 horsepower allowing the T87 to reach 100 MPH.
The T87 has a unique body style, the streamlined shape was designed by Dr. Hans Ledwinka, and was based on the Tatra 77. Paul Jaray, who designed the German Graf Zeppelin dirigibles, also provided styling ideas.
A fin in the sloping rear of the Tatra helps to divide the air pressure on both sides of the car, a technique later used in aircraft. The Tatra was praised by German officers in World War II for its speed and handling.
Many design elements of the Tatra were copied by other car manufacturers. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was influenced by the Tatra when he designed the Volkswagen Beetle. This led to a lawsuit between Tatra and Volkswagen which Tatra won.
Jay Leno talks about his Tatra T87 here. A very interesting car that most of us have never seen and maybe never heard of before.
This example was photographed at the Sonoma Marin Concours d’Elegance in 2011.
Click on the images for a larger view.