René Berger’s Tatra life

On the occasion of the founding  of the “TATRA REGISTER-SWITZERLAND 1982″

A small history:

It all started after the 2nd World War in 1947. At the time, my father had a truck garage in Birsfelden near Basel. On the garage there was a large terrace, where we often watched the returning week-end traffic.

One time,  between the then usual cars (let’s call them garden houses) a black streamlined car popped up and I asked my father “what’s that for a car?” He answered me that for a car? His answer was, “this is a Tatra 8 cylinder with air-cooled rear engine.” Somehow, I must then have been infected with a virus that has not vanished till this very day. (2007).


When I occasionally saw such a Tatra, I became stuck, stand rooted and became late for school or even to home. Of course, these delays caused some scoldings at home , but that didn’t intimidate me!


By 1952, my father decided to buy a new Tatraplan. Together with the importer, mr Ferdinand Schenk from Worblaufern near Bern, we had our test-drive. Everything went all-right, till after 200 m the front luggage lid flew high and it was dark in the car immediately.  The Tatraplan was bought anyway, but not after the luggage lid was repaired and the prize had been reduced by around 1000.- SFr. .BergerT6001951

As soon as I was allowed to drive myself, I wished to have a Tatra of my own. Congratulations to me in 1959! I was able to trade a grass green 1952 Tatraplan for a VW Hebmüller convertible. Because of my driving-around with the Tatraplan, I met several Tatraplan owners and people who knew a Tatra stored somewhere. Of course, I tried to get these Tatras. Often I was able to buy a Tatra for little money or even I could pick them up free.  (These days, there were no spare parts more) and I dismantled a couple of them for spare parts for cars in a better condition.



Looking back, the whole thing wasn’t profitable, but the virus had settled within me! For other spare parts, I drove to Prague in 1963, where I also met wife Jana. At the end of 1968, my Tatra fleet was enlarged by a 1958 Tatra 1-603 from Ferdinand Schenk jun. (former Tatra importer for Switzerland) who transferred the car to me at a friendly price.



Between 1971 and 1980 it was also possible for us, my wife Jana and me, to detect Tatra owners in Switzerland by putting adverts in the “Automobil Revue.” We found about 40 cars and owners.  The war of impulses for the foundation of



The echo was however a little disappointing. Several Tatras did not have the proper documents any more or were in a bad condition due to lack of spare parts.  In the end only the real Tatra hard core was still going strong in 1999, the year my wife and I moved to the Czech Republic and TRS was handed over to Imelda and Ernst Meier in Neuheim near Zürich. The TRS management board would continue the TRS succesfully.



We wish for the future all good !!! TATRA Ahoy !! Jana and Rene Berger

CZ – 25243 Pruhonice, June 19, 2007

(Story and private photos sent by Rene Berger to Manfred Haspel/A; but article was never published. Manfred Haspel. Just recently, the original photos were edited by Manfred Haspel for publication at TW)