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Dutch experiences with the Phoenix Agritruck

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Original Dutch text and photos:

Background May 10, 2017

Tatra Phoenix: Fast and Comfortable Agritruck

The Tatra Phoenix is a mix of famous Daf components (cab, engine and transmission) and a patented Tatra off-road chassis. And if Berkers Techniek’s importer still takes care of the truck, the Agritruck will be created. A fast and comfortable ’self-propelled carrier’.

It is pleasant tours with the Tatra. The fat 8 × 8 is limited to 65 kilometers per hour. And with 460 hp and 16 auto-shifting gears, the car is in no-time at that speed. When pulling up, you’ll enjoy a deep-eyed engine noise coming out of the cabin. The automatic switching of the ZF AS-tronic tank is only visible through the varying engine sprocket, as this is hardly felt. At speed, you can hear the Paccar engine at 1,250 engine rungs, only a relaxing roast of eight Michelin XS tires sounds.

High and comfortable: on bumpy Twentse and German outer roads lies the air-ragged Tatra without jumps or deins on the road. With a semi-finished silage box on speed, regular driver Nick Oude Vrielink dares to release the steering wheel, as the truck is steady straight ahead. In the corners, the Tatra with a high and heavy load overlaps slightly; “Just get used to it,” says the driver. With a modification to the air springs, this is improved by Berkers.

Type: Tatra Phoenix 8×8
Engine: Paccar (DAF) 12.9 liter 400 hp (option 460 or 510 hp)
Transmission: ZF manual (option: automatic or 6-speed Allison Powershift)
Speed: T5 approved, limited to 65 km / h
Width: 2.80 meters on Michelin 24R20.5 XS
Weight: 13,600 kg empty (18 tons incl. Hook arm)
Max. Weight: Legally allowed up to 46,000 kilos
Price: From net € 200,000 (8 × 8, Daf cabin) to € 320,000 (all options incl. Hook arm, hydraulics, weighing etc.)

The known ‘V’

The Tatra brand makes many people alike think of a spartan army vehicle. Heavily run, all wheels driven, a tiny cab and wheels that stand like a ‘V’. The Czech brand is still active in that world, with heavy army and forestry trucks. But Tatra has been building modern trucks for many years, also for agriculture. Tatra has been purchasing from DAF since 2011. The 12.9 liter six-cylinder Paccar engine, day cab and transmission come from DAF (Paccar). The patented bucket chassis with independent axle suspension is Tatra-own. The result is a very comfortable, self-propelled 8 × 8 ‘carrier’.


That buzz chassis with independent axle suspension is really a Tatra thing. The truck has one tube as a chassis, and through it runs a central drive shaft. Through this narrow chassis, large tires easily fit under the Tatra while maintaining the steering rack. Each wheel has its own branch from the drive shaft. Pignon wheels float the crown wheels with a diameter of 35 centimeters. Due to this gear transmission and independent suspension, the axles have great freedom of shuttle. They are shielded with a kind of pleated rubber.

Each wheel is powered by its own crown and pignon wheel, and has its own oil bath. Due to this transmission and independent axle suspension, the axles have a large shuttle path. - Photo: Tatra Trucks

Because of the pulley wheels on both sides, the axes jump each other 5 centimeters. The planetary differential is also on the central drive shaft. With a pneumatic cylinder you can lock it 100%. Turn the central drive shaft, gearshifts and differential in an oil bath. The crown wheels also spatter oil against the scales of the shuttle. The chassis has no rotating drive shaft on the outside where grass can go winding.

Three positions for air pressure

Tatra builds a lot for the army. For example, all vent pipes have been worked upwards, so that the Tatra can drive up to 1 meter deep into the water. Also air pressure switching systems are cuttings for the army. Tatra is building the pipelines for years. The air pipes run through the oil bath and through the crown wheel. A flexible piece of pipe bridges the fusee.

Berkers builds a self-imported compressor. That’s a one-stroke three-cylinder piston compressor that supplies 1,350 liters per minute. In order to get the eight XS tires from 1 bar to 5 bar, this according to Berkers requires about 6 minutes. Berkers built their own drive in the cabin with a 3-position switch (1, 3 or 5 bar).

Read how Nick Old Vrielink, the wage earner, wins the Tatra by moving the mouse over the numbers:

Saw in the cabin

Berkers adjust the Tatra even more before it comes to the market under the name of Agritruck. By default, the 8 × 8 version has two straight axes. But at the request of Berkers, Tatra builds a steering wheel in front of them. As a result, the standard leaf suspension (additional to the air suspension) has disappeared and Berkers builds a hydraulic spring cylinder.

This spring cylinder builds Berkers only at the rear and helps with heavy loads. Also, larger tires are now used in the front, which makes use of the same rims and hub reductions. For this, Berkers had to see a piece from the cabin. There was also a wooden cart attached to the chassis. And the anti-backbone is given an ‘S’ shape, to accommodate any displacement pump.

Behind the cabin is a 250 liter oil reservoir with on top of oil coolers. This does not limit sight to rear. You look obliquely on the hook, which facilitates picking. - Photo: Bob Karsten

Tilt the hook

Who chooses for a hook arm makes it harder. For this reason, Berkers must reduce transmission and engine. Because, with 1.37 meter high tires, the total height is a limitation. On the Tatras of Wassink, a Schuitemaker Siwa 720 fits on the hook arm and stays (without the yellow rim) below 4 meters.

The angle of the hook arm then reaches 1.5 meters. Berkers Techniek then builds a 6.9 meter long VDL hook arm of 30 tons. One with a nod, making it short on the truck. By the way: From the driver’s seat you look at the hook, which facilitates picking up a container.

3 months lead time

Berkers builds an oil pump himself. Just behind the cabin comes a 250 liter oil reservoir with oil coolers on top of it. Berkers take the drive directly from the engine, and so it runs independently of the transmission (coupling). Useful when unloading on the pit. A load sensing controlled plunger pump delivers 225 liters per minute at 350 bar for the hook arm and structure (for example, dosing rollers, bottom chain, and the like). At 1,700 engine speed, the pump gives 225 l / m with 350 bar and thus 145 kW. All in all, Berkers Technique has been keying 3 months to build the Tatra to Agritruck.

Berkers builds a Loadsensing-controlled oil pump directly on the engine. Thus, unloading on the pit will not depend on the transmission. At 1,700 engine rigs, it produces 145 kW. - Photo: Bob Karsten

Switch in the dredger

Tatra delivers three different transmissions. A ZF manual transmission, ZF automatic gearbox and an Allison power hitch with torque converter. Berkers has so far provided the self-switching ZF AS-tronic. This has 16 gears. Limited at 65km / h, it drives exactly in the highest gear (about 1,250 rpm at 65 km / h).

In wet conditions the manual setting is better, otherwise the Tatra will switch back and forth. The Allison box has only six gears and has a fluid coupling. Probably better in the heavy drag, but expected to increase slightly more in road transport.

The cab comes from DAF. Berkers builds the front armrest control on (right next to the seat) and the control of the tire pressure switch system. A comfortable workplace. - Photo: Bob Karsten

Market space

Berkers Techniek has been an importer of Tatra trucks for two years. The company already built used trucks for agricultural trucks, but this usually appears to be expensive to handle. Terberg has stopped in this segment. According to Frank Berkers, space is in this niche market for the Tatra. Berkers also sees a market in earth-moving. There the Tatra Phoenix would compete with a self-propelled knee dumper. Berkers wants to operate this market itself.

Read how the Wage Company of Eijck in Alps (Brabant) experiences the Tatra by moving the mouse over the numbers:

In addition to the 8 × 8, of which four now work in the Netherlands, Berkers also sees opportunities for the 10 × 10 trucks or 6 × 6 models with semi-trailers. “A baking structure should not be broader than 2.55 meters. Whoever wants to have a lot of loading volume must look for it in length. “The 10 × 10 chassis is 80 centimeters longer, for example, a Kaweco Radium 60 (over 55 kuub) or 36 kuubs manure tank could fit. Frank Berkers also has schematic drawings of a high resolution 10 x 10. If the maximum speed of 65 km / h is another drawback for you, the Tatra has been selected to allow for faster tires and cabin construction.

Published under Press, Tatra Works
May 11th, 2017

Comments on the ex-KGB T 613

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Published under History, Press
May 6th, 2017

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.

Text continued:

Original French text:

Published under Press
November 22nd, 2016

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

no comment Posted by smitkees

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

no comment Posted by smitkees


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
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