c1952 Tatra T600 Tatraplan Sedan (RHD)
Result: PASSED IN
|Engine||Flat 4-cylinder, 1952cc|
One of the oldest car makers still in business (after Daimler and Peugeot), the Czech car company Tatra was nationalised in 1948 and the early post-war period saw them concentrate their efforts on just the one model, the Type 600 Tatraplan. Following stylist Paul Jarray's experiments with aerodynamics, the Tatra featured a futuristic, streamlined shape quite unlike any other car found on the post-war roads of Europe. The Tatraplan was derived from director Hans Ledwinka's beautifully engineered - and expensive to build - Type 77 and 87 pre-war models, powered by rear-mounted air-cooled V8 engines. With Ledwinka himself jailed by the Soviet-backed Czech authorities for allegedly collaborating with the Nazis during the war, it was left to Tatra's design director Josef Chalupa, its chief engineer Vladimir Korbel and designer Vladimir Popelar to create a new, cheaper car suitable for a war-torn Europe. Based on an advanced monocoque chassis design, the new Tatra was powered by a 2-litre flat four-cylinder engine but improved aerodynamics and reduced weight meant the new model's performance almost matched the pre-war V8s, with a top speed of 80 mph. The cabin had enough room to seat six comfortably and the aircraft-inspired details. The Tatra performed well in various rallies in the period, both locally and abroad, most notably winning the 1949 Austrian Alpine Rally and a class victory in the 1953 Coronation Rally held on some of Africa's roughest roads. Just 6,342 were made but the Tatraplan can be considered a commercial success for the Czech company, with exports reaching no less than 21 different countries - including Australia.