We all thought the Tatra-based Faurecio design study was pretty cool, but what about the real thing? Tatra is still in business, but these days they make only big trucks. However, our Corvette-importin', Tatra 603 road-testin' friend in the Czech Republic, BobAsh, informs us that car freaks in the CR are in a frenzy over a recent announcement by Tatra's CEO that they plan to start building a few historic Tatra models on modern drivetrains. Make the jump to get BobAsh's take on the whole business.
When I saw it, I thought it was an April Fool's joke, even though it was April 2nd already. When I saw it again, and again, on other websites, I thought it was a really good April Fool's joke, so good that even fellow journalists got caught. When I saw it in the newspaper and finally in the evening news, I knew it must be The April Fool's Joke of the decade. Because, unlike the news about Oldsmobile being bought by Toyota and going back in business, Jag XF-C or dog-pee-proof BMW wheels, this one seems to be true.
What the hell am I talking about, you ask? I am talking about the thing that electrified the whole Czech motoring media in last 24 hours. Tatra, as a manufacturer of passenger cars, returns!
In the recent interview for Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny, Tatra's main shareholder and CEO, Ronald Adams, stated that Tatra he wants to bring back Tatras of the past as retro automobiles. According to his words, the company is overwhelmed with inquiries about new passenger cars and he wants to capitalize the good name of the company. What he's planning is to take two or three historic models of Tatra (probably 87, Tatraplan and 603) and produce them as retro cars, based on modern chassis and drivetrains from some big manufacturer, "like Skoda, Ford or Subaru", which, as Adams says, can also handle the servicing. The production should begin in 2009 or 2010 and Adams thinks he'll be able to sell several hundred per year.
It must be said that its pretty ambitious plan, not only for obvious technical difficulties, but also because Tatra is busy enough doing its main business- building heavy trucks, mostly for military use. On the other hand, recent successes in this field suggest that Mr. Adams knows what he's doing. Let's wish him well and dream about a Subaru-flat-four powered, rear engined Tatraplan... [Hospodarske Noviny]