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T 603 article in Autorevue (CZ)

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Published under History, Press
January 21st, 2017

Tatra article in Dutch magazin

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In the January 2017 issue of the “Onschatbare Klassieker” a fine article was published on Tatra illustrated with 23 photos, regrettably all most well-known.  Text is in Dutch and is of a higher quality than common in these articles, though author Eric van Spelde put is some fairy tales that the T 87 was Czechoslovakia’s secret weapon.  Nevertheless, it is good to a magazine pay attention to “Nearly the oldest automobile works”

Published under History, Press
January 21st, 2017

Czech car production rises to record levels in 2016

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17-01-2017 14:18 | Ruth Fraňková

Car production in the Czech Republic increased by eight percent in 2016 compared to the previous year to a record figure of 1.344 million cars, the president of the Automotive Industry Association Bohdan Wojnar announced at a press conference on Tuesday. Production increases were recorded by all three of the Czech Republic’s major car production companies.

Photo: Marián Birošík, Public DomainPhoto: Marián Birošík, Public DomainThe biggest producer, Škoda Auto last year recorded the highest increase in production, by 12.5 percent, to 765,171 cars. The Hyundai plant in Nošovice, Moravia, increased its production by five percent to 358,400 and Kolín-based joint venture TPCA boosted its output by less than one percent to 220,611.

Mr. Wojnar warned though that both Škoda Auto and Hyundai car producers have started to reach the ceilings of their production capacities with a maximum number of shifts operating and problems developing with supplies from sub-contractors.

Exports of Czech car producers increased last year by 8.6 percent to 1.6 million vehicles, while domestic sales rose by four percent to 104,163 vehicles.

“We are not expecting the fast rate of growth to continue in the future. It will be difficult to exceed that eight percent,” Mr Wojnar said. According to him, the increase in production could reach about five percent this year. Besides production limits, the rate of growth will also depend on the situation on various markets.

The country’s truck production, represented by Tatra Kopřivnice, increase last year by 56 percent to 1,326 lorries, while production of buses dropped by three percent to 4,388. The highest production was recorded by Iveco Bus with 3,885 vehicles, followed by SOR with 454 buses and KH Motor Centrum with 49 buses. Motorcycle producer Jawa Moto recorded a drop in output by 29 percent to 1,228 pieces.

In terms of car production relative to the size of the country’s population, neighbouring Slovakia remains the world’s largest car producer, currently manufacturing 191 cars per 1,000 inhabitants, and is considerably ahead of the Czech Republic in these terms.

Car production in Slovakia also reached a record figure last year, with the country’s three major car makers, Kia Motors, Peugeot Citroën and Volkswagen manufacturing 1.04 million cars.

Published under Press, Tatra Works
January 18th, 2017

Former Tatra Koprivnice works hall destroyed by fire

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Former Tatra Koprivnice works hall destroyed by fire

Published under Press, Tatra Works, Video
January 8th, 2017

Tatraplan may return

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Tatra 600 may come back. Recall the famous Tatraplan

Published under History, Press, Tatra Works
December 14th, 2016

The T 603 by the French daily “Le Monde”

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Tatra 603, a state-of-the-art limousine for apparatchiks


The legacy automobile of democracies is not limited to the sickly East German Trabant or monumental Soviet ZIL who aped American. Among the cars designed on the other side of the Iron Curtain, it is one that was impressed by his poise and the boldness of his technical choices as aesthetic. The Tatra 603, a Czechoslovak limousine that appeared just sixty years ago, occupies a special place in the Pantheon of esthetics.

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Original French text:

Published under Press
November 22nd, 2016

Behind the wheel of Tatra 2-603: Admired and Damned

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Tatra 603 Charismatic representative cars from the 50s to 70s.While some remember him as technically avant-garde designed car, others are associated with one-party rule and everything connected with it. Let’s ride!


Meeting with Tatra 603 was always a special event. During the time of the previous regime, if you’re not leaders “of his party,” then you might just think that you ride this car, forget about. The only exceptions were “panští coachman,” or personal drivers, whether in companies or administrative spheres of the state.

In doing so since 1959, Tatra 603 available on the open market, thanks Mototechna, a firm which had at times šestsettrojky except Tuzex or car dealership, Autobazar enterprise Jewelry (still wonder what they used cars in common with jewelry and watches), as only allowed to sell cars in Czechoslovakia.

Who then Tatra 603 buy? In addition to the undertakings of which have been mentioned, must be party leaders and then the so-called deserving workers. These included actors, singers or athletes. A special group then imagined “stachanovští” miners (remember the slogan “I’m a miner, who is more?”.

Just for the record, in 1959, was a Tatra 603 in the open market 98,000 crowns, while the average salary in the country amounted to thirteen hundred. In 1964, the price of the car increased to 105,000 crowns, wages grew by about two hundred. In 1969, Tatra 60 “up for grabs” already at 195,000 crowns, but the average wage was still only nineteen hundreds. For comparison, Skoda 100, a car designed “normal working”, was in 1970, 55,000 crowns. Since the 70s it was possible to get the T-603, sometimes as a used car.Mostly from former professional drivers, who are usually the first buyers of a car after removal from government service.

Once, three, today almost always four

Let’s not talk about the Tatra 603 as such. A piece that made by us, was the so-called second series after modernization. You know it already from the vehicle designation “2-603″. The original “duo” went into production in 1964, when he replaced the first edition, the characteristic triad round headlamps. It’s just “trojoká” version, which witnesses in connection with the T603 most mentioned.“Today, those original 603 very little,” says Peter, the owner of a test 603. And he adds: “Most original cars had been rebuilt in time for the mask with four headlights, due to legislation.” Then the historical authenticity of the vehicle never discussed. Unfortunately.

Version 2-603 used since the beginning of the mask “Čtyroký” plus some other bodywork and equipment. Since 1968, the menu already mentioned modernized “deuce” and test the car left the factory gates in 1970. In the context of innovation has strengthened the engineering of the car. Instead of drum brakes were Girling disc brakes licenses and, moreover, worked with an improved vacuum assisted braking effect.

At long “long way”

Tatra 603 truck has been designed especially for overcoming long distances. Former professional drivers routinely rammed it up to 80,000 km per year. This is a substantial portion in the present scales.

First, what surprised us was sophisticated ventilation. Although the outside there was the biggest heat wave last summer, while inside it was warm, but still relatively bearable. Of course while driving. In doing so, in general, the more favorable aerodynamic vehicles that are ventilated cabins harder, so if do not use a variety of additional systems, including air conditioning. The exchange of air in the cabin in the summer well cared dump ‘windows’ front doors and similar paraphernalia behind the second pair side door.

Tatra 603 was six-car. Thus, instead of the front pair of seats found their place benches. Thus, similarly to the van. Sadly, the passenger sitting in the middle did not have a seat belt. In the 50s, however, the passive safety of virtually all unaddressed. Nevertheless, from this perspective, 603 interesting. At the time of its commissioning was expected to seat belts even in the back! Out of that but eventually abandoned.

Front seat comfort is excellent, but some ergonomic regularities forget. The seat is flat as benches in the train. A sitting high up, which in turn facilitates the entry. Even former contemporary press represented sister Světem engines complained that he was sitting “on the seats,” and not in them.

Today’s driver would certainly disillusioned with the huge wheel with incredibly thin rim. In addition, there was an even smaller circle, controlling the horn. Tatra 603 was never equipped with power steering. Due to a slight bow, while the geometry of the front axle with back-pull wisely elected rejdových pins (so-called svisláků) goes steering wheel when parking the car on the spot a little stiff, but it just has to start immediately and pleasantly zlehkne. In principle Tatra 603 servo never needed.

Big wheel was at that time in ordinary cars. Additionally, the role of business drivers Tatra 603 was usually chauffeurs, accustomed to tame trucks. How about you see, control 603 and especially comfort were compared with contemporary trucks essentially incomparable.

What surprised was the pedal arrangement. Due to the concept with the engine mounted longitudinally behind the rear axle, we expected a solution familiar from the recently described Porsche 912E and the original VW Beetle. Thus, the attachment below. U 603 is thus solved only accelerator (the same way that they also have BMW or Mercedes). Conversely, clutch and brakes were hung from the top, as is common today.

Greater attention of designers, however, was dedicated to those who sit in the back. Again, we welcome very soft seats, while here there are also middle armrest. Historical tests have complained about the increased noise from the drive unit, located just behind the rear seatback. Allegedly it was a mixture of tones vyluzovaných exhaustory, thus cooling fans in combination with the actual unit.

Particular attention was paid engineers door opening. Inside handles are actually an extension of the armrest. To open the door it is necessary to pull the lever up. By pushing only ensures the door lock.

Only thus floats

When perfect knowledge of the specifics of the car also needs an experienced driver to quickly and safely ride with Tatra certain period of addiction than captures all of its properties. It is conditional on the dimensions, weight, sensitivity control, short-stroke accelerator, brakes and hardness properties mainly tires. For these matters more than the majority of vehicles on the accuracy of inflation in relation to the load. In terms of ride comfort, road grip, noise and stress within the body of the springs and shock absorbers mainly fluctuations. The car is quiet at high speeds, in the longitudinal plane will not swing an effective stabilizer restrict lateral tilt. Directional stability at speeds above 120 km / h, however, is considerably dependent on the condition of the tires and the shock absorbers, which are subjected to a large suspension stroke (a total of 220 mm). Beware gusts of crosswind, which must be timely podchycovat. Driving at speeds above 120 km / h on our roads already represents a higher degree of “piloting”.

Tatra 603 is a car for a quick and comfortable ride for long distances. In urban korzování its properties can not be fully applied, but here you use an unexpected engine flexibility. On the road tolerates very hard prolonged stress without any harm and can be scrolled through to the second gear 80km / h and the third to over 120 km / h.

And how’s the ergonomics of the driver’s workplace Czechoslovak luxury car? Main and auxiliary controls, drivers are in their natural range, steering wheel fits in the hand, but it is unnecessarily large, making it difficult annealing. As the saying contemporary press: “Behind the wheel Tatra T-603 with a hat on his head not enter without cringing.” Shift under the steering wheel is sensitive to adjustment levers and rods. When properly adjusted, it ranks thin lever under the steering wheel surprisingly easy. Even so, a person says how it ever prove the manufacturer due to the complexity of the control.

Whether šestsettrojka though burdened by historical political context, certainly it is one of the most charismatic car, what with us when it was created. Ride comfort impress today, as well as an unmistakable design. Fans recommend the current edition of the magazine Auto Tip Klasik (based again on January 12), where we tatrováckému jewel detail.


Tremendous charisma, shapes that have anything not be mis-, driving comfort, highly comfortable suspension, sound and driving expression of the eight-cylinder engine, an investment in the future, sturdy brakes (especially since 1968), driving dynamics, surprisingly precise shifting, each car is original (the car is constantly improving continuously)


Corrosion of the body, some specific control position behind the wheel, the high price of cars in their original condition (even higher after renovation), for some some controversy

Photo: David Rajdl

Tatra 2-603 (1970) – selected technical data

Engine Atmospheric air-cooled eight-cylinder fork

Displacement [cm 3] 2472

Cylinders / valves 8/2

The greatest power [kW / min] 77/4800 (rather befits write 105 hp)

Torque [Nm / min] 170/4000

Transmission 4M

Max. speed [km / h] 160

Acceleration 0-100 km / h [s] Not stated

Standardized consumption [l / 100 km] 12.5

Dimensions (LxWxH) [mm] 4995 x 1895 x 1530

Wheelbase [mm] 2750

Curb weight [kg] 1510

The acquisition price in 1969 [CSK] 195.000

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Published under History, Press
November 4th, 2016

Tatra expects to build 1200 trucks in 2016; A production increase to 1700 units is expected for 2017

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Kopřivnice (Novojičínsko) – Truckmaker Tatra produced in the first three quarters of this year 876 vehicles. It was about 26 trucks more than the complete last year.

“We are poised to meet the 1300 production target vehicles. Next year, our ambitions have been significantly higher: The plan is to produce and sell 1,700 vehicles,” said CEO Tatra Trucks Martin Bednarz.

More than 1,000 tracks per year produced the Tatra last time in 2008. “Due to increased production cadence drove the company into two, in some plants on three shifts. The increased production volume had to adapt and subcontractors,” said Martinek.

Since the beginning of Tatra adopted more than 310 new employees. Total now has over 1,300 permanent staff. In recent weeks, the truckbuilder states filled through an extensive recruitment campaign and was now looking for individuals only.

Bendarz said that the average wage at Tatra exceeds CZK 30,000 gross per month. “Tatra addition to famous brands and interesting work on the unique utility vehicles offers candidates several technical professions wages above the average of the Region. Therefore, he, despite the general lack of technically educated workforce able to obtain the necessary personnel,” said the CEO. He added that Tatra also invested in production, particularly in machine technology, painting and workplaces diagnostics, and gradually improves appearance of an area where communication and corrects the building.

Tatra reached in 2015 net profit of 390 million kroner (about one-third higher than in 2014) and sales to 3.7 billion crowns. Tatra Trucks, who carmaker owns, among Czech entrepreneurs Jaroslav Strnad and Rene Matera. Tatra won in 2013 at an auction where she was due to debts. Since then, the truckmaker improved.

Production of Tatra trucks since 1988

Year Built trucks
1988 15315
1989 15326
1990 14620
1991 9785
1992 4113
1993 2950
1994 1358
1995 1837
1996 1804
1997 2592
1998 1473
1999 1209
2000 1686
2001 1551
2002 1761
2003 1439
2004 1654
2005 1497
2006 1511
2007 2431
2008 2252
2009 808
2010 931
2011 702
2012 496
2013 763
2014 821
2015 850

Source: Tatra Trucks

Published under Press, Tatra Works
October 17th, 2016

Tatra: forerunner of the Beetle?

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The roots of the Tatra car go back to 1850 and the Austro-Hungarian Empire when Ignatz Schustala opened a wagon and carriage shop in the Moravian town of Nesselsdorf in the Kingdom of Bohemia.

Ignatz Shustala & Co. established a good reputation but had limited finances to expand until it found backing from wealthy industrialist Adolf Raschaka.

Raschaka unfortunately died in 1877 causing Shustala to flounder until 1881 when financing came from a railway company. Shustala then began manufacturing rolling stock.

When Ignatz Shustla died in 1891 management fell to the company’s technical director, engineer Hugo Fischer von Roslerstamm who became interested in the emerging motor car.

They bought a Benz and engine for evaluation and by 1897 the company, now Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft, built its first car.

At this time a brilliant young engineer named Hans Ledwinka joined the company’s railway division. He soon moved to the automotive project where he helped design the first Nesselsdorf car, called the President. Ledwinka would ultimately have a greater influence on Nesselsdorfer, later renamed Tatra, than any other person.

Ledwinka left Nesselsdorfer to help design a steam car but was lured back. He led the company in building a series of successful cars and trucks before and during the First World War.

When promised funding for a new factory was withdrawn, a disillusioned Ledwinka left in 1916 and joined Austrian gun manufacturer Styr who were starting a car division.

After the First World War Nesselsdorfer found itself in the newly formed nation of Czechoslovakia. The company re-named Tatra after Czechoslovakia’s highest mountain range needed engineering talent and Ledwinka returned from Steyr in 1921 to become chief engineer/technical director. It began his most significant period with Tatra.

In the 1920s Ledwinka and Austrian-born engineer, Ferdinand Porsche both recognized that Europe needed a light, sturdy, economical and affordable car like the American Ford Model T. Both were gifted engineers, although Porsche would gain the more lasting legacy with his Volkswagen and Porsche.

Ledwinka’s concept emerged in the technically advanced 1923 Type 11 model. Its flat-twin, air cooled, 1.0 litre front-mounted engine drove the rear wheels. Its most outstanding feature was a tube-type backbone chassis to which were attached the gearbox and four swing axles.

The suspension was a masterpiece of simplicity with single transverse leaf springs forming the upper control arms and shackled directly to the brake backing plates. The Type 11 distinguished itself in competition.

Several models flowed from the talented Ledwinka, and he began envisaging a rear mounted engine for weight and space saving. After experiments in 1931 and ’33 with smaller rear engine cars, his 1934 Type 77 Tatra appeared. It was aerodynamically efficient had four wheel independent suspension, a 3,119 mm (122.8 in.) wheelbase and a 3.0 litre, air cooled, overhead valve, alloy V8 engine behind the rear axle.

The Type 77’s layout was similar to the Volkswagen’s and many Ledwinka ideas such as rear mounted, air cooled engine, backbone chassis and four-wheel independent suspension (although using torsion bars, not leaf springs) would appear in the Volkswagen then under development.

This led to later legal battles over patent infringement that finally concluded in 1967 with Volkswagen paying Tatra an out-of-court settlement of three million marks for what were considered violation of some Tatra patents.

The Type 77 was soon followed by more powerful Type 87 and 97 models with rear mounted, air cooled, overhead cam V8s. Teardrop-shaped, aerodynamic bodies severely reduced rear vision through the engine cooling louvres in the dorsal finned deck lid. Type 87 was built until 1950.

Unfortunately, swing axles and an ‘outboard’ rear engine contributed to instability. What Porsche’s small, low powered Volkswagen could tolerate was exaggerated in Ledwinka’s larger more powerful Tatra. During the Second World War it was said that German officers occupying Czechoslovakia crashed so many Tatras an order was issued forbidding the officers from driving them.

Following the war Czechoslovakia found itself in the East Bloc where Tata was nationalized. Ledwinka was jailed by the Soviets for his unwilling role as war-time manager of defence programs.

During the war Ledwinka had conceived the smaller Tatraplan powered by a horizontally-opposed, overhead valve, four-cylinder, air-cooled rear engine much like his pre-war Type 97 Tatra and the Volkswagen Beetle. During Ledwinka’s incarceration it went into production under the direction of Julius Mackerlie and was built into the early 1950s.

Following his release in 1951 Ledwinka was again invited back to Tatra, but declined, preferring to stay in West Germany. His successor at Tatra, Julius Mackerlie, designed more Tatra models beginning with the 1957 rear-engined Type 603.

Mackerlie’s rather round and bulbous designs were built in limited numbers for several years and in several iterations, always retained air cooled rear engines until car production ceased in 1998. Truck production continued.

Published under Press
September 21st, 2016

Czechoslovak Chief of Staff visits Tatra

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Published under Press, Tatra Works
September 4th, 2016
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