Browsing History

Video: Czechoslovak propaganda film featuring several CS brands and includes T111 and a T603 visiting Telc for a photoshoot on its way to the 1958 Brussels World Fair

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February 12th, 2021

The Tatraplan is one of the most interesting cars of the Czechoslovak automotive industry

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This Tatra is interesting not only in appearance or construction, but also in its time of origin, as it was born in a somewhat “wild” period shortly after the Second World War. But her name is also interesting.

Originally, like its predecessors, it was to have a numbering with a “lucky” seven at the end: Tatra 107. Already in the autumn of 1947, before serial production, it was named Tatra 600, which was associated with assigned the number 6 to the beginning. Just remember the following 603 or 613.

At the same time, the name Tatraplan also appeared, which was a pun referring to the graceful body resembling airplanes. In addition, the aircraft appeared on a promotional leaflet for the car.

The development of the later Tatraplan, which was intended as a more affordable middle-class car, began at the end of World War II. The aerodynamic body and a flat four-cylinder at the rear were taken into account.

The first prototype of the new car was completed in December 1946, the second prototype followed in March 1947. Unfortunately, the prototypes showed certain shortcomings, in addition to a weak engine, mainly instability due to the design of the rear axle, which was formed by swinging axles. Therefore, the designers under the leadership of the then only 31-year-old Vladimír Popelář had to return to the drawing boards and reworked the technology. The famous Hans Ledwinka, with whom the designers went to prison, was also to take part in the modifications. He was in it after being convicted of alleged collaboration with the Germans.

The result of the work was shown in the autumn of the same year, when a five-piece series of prototypes with the internal designation T2-107 was built. These cars were already approaching the later production model with spherical headlights, smaller fins at the stern or cold air traps on the roof. The four-cylinder petrol engine was mounted in three silent blocks by means of a fork extending from the central supporting spine, while its volume increased from 1750 cm3 to 1952 cm3. At the same time, its output also increased, from the original 29 kW to 38 kW. The car managed to reach a speed of 130 km / h.

And on June 24, 1948, production began, albeit in temporary conditions. Over the next few months, the shortcomings are gradually eliminated – for example, the cooling system is changed or the rear axle is strengthened.

In 1950, however, the highest party positions decided to move production to AZNP to Mladá Boleslav, where the production of passenger cars was to be centralized, while the Kopřivnice Tatra was to focus on the production of trucks. In the spring of 1951, the last pieces of Tatraplan were created in Kopřivnice, with the fact that in Mladá Boleslav production began to start only in the autumn of the same year. At first glance, the Mladá Boleslav cars were recognizable thanks to the rounded edge of the rear lid, which replaced the pointed solution.

The following year, however, the production of the Tatra 600 was terminated. The quality deteriorated significantly after the relocation of production, which is often explained by the Tatras by the fact that the Škoda people simply did not want the Tatraplan. Whatever the reason for the spoiled cars, the truth is that the poor quality and failure rate significantly affected sales abroad. These were key, a third of the 6,342 pieces made (of which 2,100 in Mladá Boleslav) went outside the country. The largest customer was Austria (435 cars), many cars also went to China, Germany, Sweden and even Canada.

Despite not very long life, Tatraplan made a significant contribution to the history of the Czechoslovak automotive industry. In addition to interesting design solutions, the 4,540-meter-long and 1,200-kilogram Tatra truck still impresses with its appearance and bodywork with a drag coefficient of 0.32.

If you are also one of the admirers of Tatraplan, then you will certainly be interested in photos from the development of this car. We found them on Facebook and when we saw them, it was clear to us that we had to show them to you as well.

In the pictures you can see, for example, testing the aerodynamic properties of the model in a wind tunnel, six prototypes of the future Tatraplan, a wooden model or, for example, a culvert for a 107 type car, which left the plant on September 6, 1947.

Numerous photos:

Published under History
January 28th, 2021

René Berger’s Tatra life

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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)

Published under History, Personal
January 28th, 2021

Tatraplans in the Vancouver area (CAN) and the hated communist cars around dumped in the sea.

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Just recently, this photo of a Tatraplan show car in Abbottstown, BC, Canada popped up on Facebook. But what t could be its background? Which dealer was involved? We’ll lead you to the Tatra Canada stories of the early fifties , dominated by Cold-War feelings.  Thanks to John Long and Gary Cullen.


Tatraplan showcar in Abbotsforf (CAN, Greater Vancouver) around 1950


Note Tatraplan with its luggage lid and doors open at the back row. (Photo Gary Cullen)

The overall story of Tatras imported to Canada in a politically sensitive era:

Published under History, Personal
January 23rd, 2021

Video: The Zbrazlav 1926 hill-climb, starring Burian Vlasta (comedian) Eliška Junková (Bugatti) and Josef Vermiřovský (Tatra T12)

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The Tenth International Car Race from Zbraslav to Jíloviště was held on 5th September 1926. The start was on a busy Zbraslav square. Among the spectators we can see the famous Czech actor Vlasta Burian with his wife Nina and his friends. The race track included also dangerous bends. After finishing the race the car racers were walking among the spectators. The winners of the race were Eliška Junková with a Bugatti car and Captain Vladimír Kučka with a Brough-Superior motorcycle.

Published under History, Racing & Rallying, Video
January 23rd, 2021

What makes the Kamaz trucks so strong in the Dakar?

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January 21st, 2021

Not a Tatra: Buick based central tailfin convertible

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Buick1936with BohmanandSchwartzbodyTopperFilmHughGrant

This is the car shown in the movie “Topper” (1937) with Cary Grant and Constance Bennett. It had a single fin on the back deck. It was a modified 1936 Buick customized by Bohman & Schwartz and fitted with special controls, including a second hidden steering wheel. As a stuntman drove the car using the hidden wheel, it would appear as if the vehicle was being driven by a ghost. The car has been remodeled a few times since 1937.

Published under History, Miscellaneous
January 10th, 2021

Indian Army orders High Mobility trucks from BEML for transportation to remote areas

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The Indian army – Tatra scam (2012 article) :

Present relationship between Tatra and BEML (2015 article)


Trucks manufactured by BEML (source Wikipedia):


BEML Tatra T815

BEML manufactures Czech Tatra trucks and rebadges them under license.[11]

  • BEML - TATRA T810 VVNC 6×6
  • BEML – TATRA T810 VVL 6×6
  • BEML – TATRA T810 VTI 6×6 – Tank Transporter
  • BEML - TATRA T815 VVNC 8×8
  • BEML – TATRA T815 VVL 8×8
  • BEML – TATRA T815 VTI 8×8 – Tank Transporter
  • BEML – TATRA Crash Fire Tender
  • BEML - TATRA T816 6MWR 8T 10×10
  • BEML – TATRA T815 27ET96 28 300 8×8
  • BEML – TATRA T815 26RR36 22 255 6×6
  • BEML – TATRA T158 PHOENIX VTI 6×6 – Tank Transporter
  • BEML – TATRA PHOENIX 8×8, 6×6, 4×4
  • BEML – TATRA FORCE 10×10, 8×8, 6×6, 4×4
  • BEML – TATRA TERRN°2 10×10, 8×8, 6×6, 4×4
  • BEML Aircraft Towing Tractor
  • BEML Armoured Recovery Vehicle WZT

A probe into an alleged scam in the purchase of Tatra trucks for the Indian Army revealed that the Czech company had agreed to supply trucks directly at a lower price in 1994 to BEML without involving the British agent, Tatra Sipox. BEML did not accept the offer then.[12]

January 9th, 2021

A small history of Czech pre-ww2 filling stations, especially a Prague-Klárov one.

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Tatraplan in the fifties at the Benzina filling station


The nineteenthirties. Then a FANTO filling station.  Note “PRIJEZD” sign as the entrance sign seemed confusing, including for the confused British tourist, who must have been familiar with the  Czechoslovak left-hand traffic rules.


It even appeared in adverts


Tatra T75 on the right.  But, somehow, I have the feeling that this photo is photoshopped.


Another ‘thirties photo




Demolition in 1956



January 2nd, 2021

Tatra’s long-time relationship with the Dakar rally

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December 31st, 2020
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