2022 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1939 Tatra 57B Saloon (LHD)
|Engine||Flat 4-cylinder, 1256cc|
This lot is no longer available
Named after the mountain range situated on the Polish-Slovak border, Tatra was originally founded in 1850 as Schustala & Co., building horse-drawn carriages before moving on to railroad cars and ultimately automobile production in 1897. The first car manufacturer based in Central Europe, Tatra went on to earn a reputation for technical innovation and built some of the most advanced cars of the pre-war era under the direction of the talented Hans Ledwinka. Replacing the earlier 12 in 1932, Tatra’s new 57 shared many of the same characteristics with its predecessor, including the backbone chassis housing the driveshaft and an air-cooled motor mounted up front, albeit a four-cylinder unit in place of the previous model’s horizontally-opposed twin. Nicknamed the "Hadimrška" (which translates from Czech as “swift little lizard”), the 57 was a compact family car sold in saloon, roadster or convertible versions and initially shared the same frontal styling as the 12. Tatra updated the 57’s appearance in 1935 with a more conventional radiator shell in-line with the larger 75 model and the power output was raised from 18 to 20 horsepower. The final version – badged the 57B - appeared in 1938, was powered by an enlarged 1256cc version of the flat four developing a useful 25 horsepower at 2800 rpm. Paired with a four-speed gearbox, the Tatra’s relatively light weight (930 kgs) allowed for a reasonable cruising speed, while other notable features include mechanical drum brakes and swing axles. Produced alongside the streamlined T87 and T97 models throughout the 1930s, the 57 sold in much greater numbers but few survived the destruction of Europe in the Second World War. Tatra went on to build 5,415 Kübelwagens based on the 57B between 1941 and 1945 for the German Wehrmacht. Few of Tatras have escaped Europe over the years and most of the survivors are now found in museum collections around the world, making the 57B offered here quite possibly the only example in Australia, although the Gosford Classic Car Museum previously housed an earlier 57.