Tatras. A murder wagon

Tatras 1947
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During WWII the Germans confiscated everything in the process. In addition, 'our bicycles' only came into play at a late stage. But in Czechoslovakia, the Germans found the Tatras with their air-cooled V8 blocks in the stern.

Photos: Bas van der Hoek

Those cars turned out to be dangerous opponents. With a little brave steering, especially on a sub-optimal road surface, the Tatras turned out to be so tail-difficult that they turned many German drivers into pilots. Chunks pilot. The result? The relevant German branch of service prohibited expats in uniform from confiscating and / or driving into Tatras.

After the war

After the war, Tatra continued. How our fashion model ended up in Canada after the war is still unclear. But the silver-gray Tatra belongs to friend Gary of our Canadian friend Bas van der Hoek. And the still futuristic four-wheeler is ridden with respect.

Tatras in the Netherlands

Cars and motorcycles from the Eastern bloc did not gain much foothold in the free west. But a single brand or model succeeded. For example, the Czech brand Tatra had its own importer in our country even before the war. That importership was picked up again after WWII and we also saw Tatra plans driving around here. Not much. Because Tatras were large, gas-guzzling automobiles in a very economical time. They were and are cars with a special construction. The air-cooled V8 (!) Engine was in the back and the streamlining went so far that the Czechs screwed on a vertical stabilizer, just like on a real airplane.

At Tatra, this concept dates back to long before the war and owed its essence to the gifted designer Hans Ledwinka, who once taught Porsche many beautiful things. That Tatra plan was with his air cooled V8 of 3 liters not only striking, but also extremely fast. It ran a good 155 km / h and that was not given many cars at that time.

But taking it hard was an action that fell under the law on games of chance. After all, the Tatra was equipped with pendle axles, the state of the art design in the field of independent wheel suspension at the time. Unfortunately, the concept also meant that cars with such a rear axle construction could face brave bends with a rear axle that could pivot from the center like a lever. Then the already awkward Czech tilted over his axis. And where German fighter pilots in WWII were famous for such a rapid change of course ... well. German drivers were not happy about it. From 1949 the Tatra got a successor in the form of the somewhat simpler 600. It had a four-cylinder boxer in the rear of 2 liters.

Later on…

Metalex (MTX) is a steel producer that was engaged in adapting and developing new cars in the 70s, 80s and 90s. There is the Skoda MTX Felicia Roadster, a convertible based on the Skoda of the same name. In 1991 MTX entered into a partnership with Tatra to create the MTX Tatra V8. It became the fastest Czech car ever, with a top speed of 265 km / h.

Also read:
- Tatra JK2500, the communist Ferrari
- IVA men M / F can be found everywhere
- Skoda 1000 MB. Czechoslovakian course change in the 60s
- CZ: Česká Zbrojovka Strakonice

Automobilia 2022 (copy)



Give a reaction
  1. Praise, Hague praise for your pieces !!
    I've been getting lost piece by piece in your stories for an hour and I share them fully.
    Here too, I think, the best auto journalists hardly find readers.

  2. nothing but praise for the articles. the humor, which is definitely there. beautiful, it always makes me happy.
    keep it up!

  3. Great cars.
    The swing axle rear suspension is, I think, an invention of Joseph Ganz, you know the real creator of the Volkswagen! (And not that charlatan Porsche).

  4. You make a lot of nice articles. Always great to read.
    We also often learn things that we did not know yet.
    Continue to do best editors.

  5. Dear Ed (and Peter?), Thank you again for the 'constructive' criticisms. We can of course offer a full size in-depth article every day, send editors and photographers out for these online articles. And of course introduce the paid online subscription. No problem. Given the niche in which we publish and the size of the readership, a nice amount will (have to) be charged to keep things affordable. Of course that will not make sense. You won't want to pay for it because you'd rather spend your money on other things. As a result, we stop publishing, because the costs are getting too high and the benefits are outweighed.

    So we choose to offer these articles completely free of charge without any obligations. We do not even ask you to give up your privacy (as is the case with larger websites and social media) and to follow you all day via your mobile phone or any other websites you visit. Because that is also done with, for example, the major social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and you name it. While people there are usually more than happy with a few words and a photo and are showered with advertisements.

    The advantage of free is that you don't have to read if you don't like the content, without feeling cheated, because after all, you don't pay anything for it.

    Nevertheless, despite the fact that it is free, we put a lot of time, money and effort into presenting you with these articles. We as a publisher, but also Dolf, Erik, Dirk and other editors who regularly share their articles with you. Perhaps that is why some appreciation would be more appropriate than just gagging pointlessly.

    Martin Wilbers, Auto Motor Klassiek.

  6. I can also very well remember the Tatra trucks. Not just the noisy engine block, but especially that weird suspension when the car was empty. Also consider pendle axles?

  7. The Tatra cars are beautiful but can you still remember all the Tatra trucks, air-cooled diesels (?) With 6 wheel drive I think. Popular well into the 70s.
    Every sand or gravel car was a Tatra.

  8. So I also heard that with Jay Leno and I don't blame me: the idea that you can take out Nazis with a certain car model, I find endlessly amusing. What are the last words of a Nazi in such a Tatra? “Děkuji tisíckrát”, thank you a thousand times.

  9. The fact that "many German drivers gained their pilots experience here at the time" must have been seen as an advantage at the time. Just kidding, before everyone gets over this.
    Back on topic.
    That 8 cylinder of the last types was a Mercedes air-cooled boxer engine that MB no longer wanted to use. Tatra does: In a body very tough, and therefore central European, see for more the comic Tintin. Now about the present.
    In the pre-corona classic show in Paris (retro mobile 2020) there was a special booth of these tough Tatras that evoked positive emotions in everyone I saw there.

  10. Yes, how can you write a piece about Tatra and say nothing about the T603 and T613, which were the models of this factory for decades after the war. And then always that cold-war language, about “the Eastern Bloc” versus “the Free West”, as if everything was always inferior there and everything here was perfect.

  11. Not satisfied with the stories? Then get started yourself and show that you are doing better. Unfortunately, most of them do not give home.

  12. You are absolutely right Peter! What a blurry meaningless story again. But by now it will be known among AMK readers that Dolf has a rich imagination and makes entire “trips” and even meets “friends” from behind his laptop. What if, due to a lack of knowledge and inspiration, you have to make up a story about a "friend" of someone who emigrated to Canada because of his sexual orientation? Sorry, I don't have a good word for that. Look forward to your Tatra with the real story!


  13. Such a shame that AMK does not speak to one of the Dutch owners of a T87 or has contacted the Dutch Tatra Register. AMK knows that I own one, because I did attend the readers' evening in De Blesse with my T87. They are indeed beautiful cars, and there is much more to tell about them than the above nonsense story about German soldiers. Too bad, but unfortunately, it is complete nonsense. Even if Jay Leno keeps repeating it ……

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