Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tatra T87 - What A Shape!

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 1948 T87 shown here.

Picture by  Philip (flip) Kromer from Austin, TX at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee (USA).

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.

Photograph by Oliver Kurmis.

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.

Click on the images for a larger view.

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