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Tatra JK2500, the communist Ferrari

Tatra JK2500
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Communism and beautiful things? There was a field of tension between them. This is evident from the Tatra JK2500, the fantastic creation of Július Kubinský. A dream that almost came true.

The Tatra JK2500

Sports cars or real GTs in the sense of Gran Rusismo? Of course there were burps, but they all ended up in the fog to a greater or lesser extent. And often that was through the intervention of the communist government. Think of the 110 Škoda 1969 Super Sport or even the older Škoda 1100 OHC from the 50s.


But not only the Škoda company produced concepts that could not be put into production. At Tatra they had their dreams and the beauty in the pictures is proof of that. It's the Tatra JK2500, which was designed by Július Kubinský in the first half of the 50s. He had years of work experience on other cars, including those 'Volkswagens' from KDF. Shortly after the Second World War, he also built racing cars with Alfa Romeo and BMW engines.

Kubinský and the beautiful Tatras

The Tatra JK2500 is the ninth car designed by Július Kubinský and it dates from 1951 - 1952. At the time, Kubinský was working in Brno and his company's management was pondering what to do next if military production were to be stopped. 

Fortunately, after the war broke out, there was still enough threat to continue to score very successfully with the Praga V3S trucks. But some dreams can come true. In 1952, Július Kubinský, together with 16 other Karosa employees, created most of the Tatra JK2500, but then he had to postpone the project until 1955. At that time, he had completed it in his spare time and in his own garage.

Playing borrowing neighbor works

The front axle was a modified axle of the German KdF car and the controls came from the VW / Porsche workshops. There was a De Dion axle at the rear, with the differential attached to the chassis. Compared to modern McPhersons or double trapezoid suspension, it looks pretty old-fashioned, but before 1951 it was quite a bit.

The beautiful body of the Tatra JK2500 is molded over a spatial frame on which the panels are attached. They were knocked by hand under the direction of body builder Jan Heger. The spoke wheels had a diameter of 16 "and, just like drum brakes, came from the Lancia Aurelia.

Two gas tanks

The Tatra drunk from two fuel tanks, each of about 30 liters, which were located behind the rear wheels. The rear overhang of this car is therefore not very small, because the Tatra JK2500 has a wheelbase of 2300 mm with a length of 4050 mm. The empty JK 2500 weighed 1160 kg and the weight distribution was 51:49.

From six-in-line to V8

Under the hood was initially a 2,5-liter six-cylinder Alfa Romeo in line, which produced 90 horses. But there were already ideas to mount the Tatra air-cooled V8. The four-speed gearbox also came from Alfa Romeo. Scoring such a V8 for a semi-private project was certainly not easy. But it worked.

The air-cooled Tatra eight-cylinder, originally with only 75 hp, lived together with the spare wheel under the hood. Also thanks to the fact that the large Alfa Romeo radiators were no longer needed there. Warm air from the engine compartment was directed inwards as heating directly behind the windscreen, but the heat dissipation under the hood turned out to be insufficient. That's why chrome vents were added behind the front wheels, allowing hot air to escape from the engine compartment.

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Smashed like a bomb

The car was officially introduced in Kopřivnice in 1958, although it appeared in the 'World of Engines' as early as 1956 with the title “We can do it”. It was a very successful presentation, but it also caught the attention of the authorities. They considered it meaningless capitalist and extremely decadent. However, an immediate offer came from Tatra for the production and purchase of five copies.

The production of the Tatra JK2500 did not ultimately take place, but the car was tested for two weeks in Kopřivnice. At that time there was a factory-fresh V8 engine, such as in the Tatra 603, with 140 hp, under its hood. New XNUMX-inch alloy wheels also appeared under the car. The holes of this brought the cooling air to the drum brakes while driving. They had a smaller diameter than the original, but would be more effective.

Július Kubinský drove this car for 13 years, but the production?

That became nothing at all. But everywhere attracted the all Tatra JK2500. This car was a revelation on Czechoslovakian roads. There has never been anything communist that looked more like a Ferrari. He later sold a car and we don't know where he is now. Maybe he is waiting somewhere in the shed waiting to be discovered. Let us know if you have found it.

2 Comments

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  1. What a beauty. Although I wonder if that primitive Tatra V8 was so much better than the advanced Alfa Romeo block.

    I myself once operated a Tatra air-cooled V8 diesel. It was mounted in a French self-build winch for gliders. The power was barely sufficient. But that is also 30 years ago.

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