Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seeking out Tatras

I've only been seriously collecting diecast cars since early this year, and as soon as I decided that a couple of cabinets full of model cars and bikes is exactly what my study (and I) needed, a Czech-made Tatra was up at the top of my shopping list, along with a lot of French cars and a varied miscellany of other vehicles. 

At first I thought Tatras, being such a famous and unusual car, would at least be a popular model that would be readily available. Alas no. While not truly unobtainium, they're not all that common, and it took a while for this inexperienced researcher to find his first one. I now have three little Tatras in the cabinet, and so I found a scene from the Tatra Mountains, after which the car was named, to serve as a backdrop for some photos of them.

A Tatra T77, 1934 model. The model is 1:43 by IXO. As well as loving the red
colour, this rear side-on view shows the aerodynamic shape quite clearly.

Look at the front end of the Tatra and you can see the beginnings of a VW
beetle. When you consider that there's a rear-mounted air-cooled engine
in the back and the familiarity is even stronger. Admittedly the donk in the
Tatra is a 3-litre V8, much bigger than the little flat four in the Vee dub.
Later engines on the T77 were increased in size to 3.3 litres.
A video I have for you later on in this post gives
the in-car view through the vision slits of a
later model, the Tatraplan 600 of 1952. I love
the comment from the owner of the Tatraplan:
"All you can see through the back is the car
behind you just before it hits you."
This is actually the first Tatra model I bought (it's also by IXO). While I loved
it, I was just a bit disappointed at the black colour scheme, which makes it
hard to easily see and appreciate all the details. When I saw the red one on
eBay, I decided that a second Tatra was well worth the investment.
While looking for another T77 I came across the next model Tatra on eBay, the
T87, fittingly enough in a 1:87 scale, made by Wiking, a German model maker
who specialises in this tiny scale.
The Tatra T87 was named as the most collectable (real-size) car of 2010 by the New York Times, and if you have a spare 128,000 Euros, there's a Tatra T87 for sale here at Classic Car Sales.

And so now it's video time to tell you all you need to know about Tatra design. I have found three that are well worth a look. The first two are a guided tour, inside and out, of the Tatra T87 at the Minnesota Museum of Art, and the third is a "ride with Chuck" in the 1952 Tatraplan (which has a smaller flat-four engine but still embodies many of the design features of the T77 and T87 which preceded it). And so it's on with the Tatra Show.

1 comment:

  1. nice.
    so small car but huge prize for sure :D


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