Saturday, March 10, 2012

1948 Tatra T600 Tatraplan

Tatra’s first post-war automobile is unmistakably in the tradition of the Kopřivnice manufacturer. A heir to the pre-war T97 model, it is presented at the Prague motor show in October 1947, but does not join the larger T87 in production before June 1948. Similar in design to its older siblings, it features advanced characteristics and astounding performances for a car of its class. Future could then seem bright for Tatra, if not for the political situation of Czechoslovakia: the company is now nationalized, and its fate rests in the hands of bureaucrats.

Tatra T600 Tatraplan
Developed from the T107 prototypes, themselves evolved from the pre-war T97, the new Tatra has been named “Tatraplan” by its manufacturer, an allusion to both its aeronautical inspiration and the five-year plan in force in now-communist Czechoslovakia. As most of its predecessors, it is clearly the product of Hans Lewinka’s unconventional mind… though the brilliant engineer is presently jailed by the Prague authorities, its former colleagues remain faithful to its legacy. Hence the choice for the Tatraplan of a monocoque structure, an all-independent suspension with torsion bars at the rear, a rear overhead valve engine and an extremely streamlined body.
● Introduction: October 1947. Construction: unibody. Engine: air-cooled flat four, 2.0-litre, 52 hp, mounted at the rear. Transmission: to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox. Suspension: independent on all four wheels. Brakes: hydraulic, to drums on all four wheels. Length: 454 cm. Top speed: 130 kph. Range: four-door saloon.

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