Oh, you have a Ford Raptor? A murdered-out Chevrolet SS? One of the last Dodge Vipers? Congratulations. Your car isn’t anywhere close to being as menacing as this 1989 Tatra 613—especially since it was allegedly owned by the KGB.
Tatra is one of my all-time favorite carmakers, and any day I learn about a Tatra I wasn’t aware of is a grand day indeed. Today is such a day, and I want to share it with you. Friends, behold the loveliest, most air-coolingest V8 GT car ever to never be actually made, the Tatra JK 2500.
Tatras are some of my absolute favorite cars. Tatra tended to make high-end, large(ish), four-door, V8, rear engine cars, and as such they’re one of the few examples of the 30s-era streamlined, rear engine concept applied to something other than a small economy car. I never realized that Tatra was experimenting with…
[Scanned from a period postcard, here’s the air-cooled V8-powered Tatra 603 and the MiG-15 jet fighter which was also license-built in Czechoslovakia (S-102 and S-103), standing in a field of excellence. Photo credit: Technické Muzeum Tatra.]
If you want to see real monster trucks, you've got to to to Central Europe.
Sedans: they're for carting nuclear families around. It makes sense to stick the engine right up at the front of the car, out of the way of the passengers in the middle, and the luggage at the back. This is not how every carmaker goes about this business.
I've seen a lot of unexpected cars doing burnouts in my time at Los Jalops, and I think this Tatra 613 might be the rarest one I've seen.
I'm sure you're seeing that '99' up there and are a little incredulous. How can an archaic, bizarre car like this possibly get almost a perfect score? Nothing's ever scored that high! The answer's easy: because I really want it to. The only reason I'm not giving it a 100 is because I don't own it.
I always loved Tatra's T87 because it seemed like a refugee from an alternate world that never was — a world of airships instead of airplanes, vacations on the moon in Airstream Lunar Trailers, and, of course, streamlined rear-engined cars. I'd never heard of this Isotta Fraschini before, but it seems to be of the…
The Dakar Truck classes are pretty amazing things to see, especially these huge and surprisingly agile big Tatra trucks. It's like watching a cross between a jackrabbit and a garbage truck. As usual, beware of the soundtrack.
I never tire of Eastern Europe's truck trials, because I get to see people drive eight-wheel drive Tatra trucks fit for World War III drive down cliffs into piles of mud and make farting noises.
I like my cars to be one of two things: Fast or interesting. Ideally, they should be both, but I'll settle for one or the other if I have to.
American V8s are pretty awesome. They've been the muscles of U.S. car culture since Bonnie and Clyde first floored their Ford Model B. They're the ultimate answer in the eyes of the costumers when it comes to the question of performance.
For some reason, the commies weren't really into sports cars. Maybe driving for something other than to transport political prisoners around seemed like a waste of precious resources. No matter, this didn't stop the engineers of the nationalized factories from creating beautiful machines from the bits and pieces they…
Somebody get this Tatra under control! Sweet heaven, it'll kill us all!
There are off-roaders, and then there are military-grade, eight-wheel-drive off-road titans. This Tatra 813, powering out of a potential rollover at the 2011 Mohelnice Grand Prix truck trials in the Czech Republic is the latter.
There isn't a whole lot you can do to make a Tatra T603 stranger than it already is. These rare Czech made luxury cars came from the factory with a rear mounted air cooled V8 and a design that is hard to describe. Interestingly enough, the current owner of this T603 managed to do the impossible with the odd addition…
We recently wrote about the inspiring and rather epic road trip of Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund, the two Czech engineers who drove across most of the world in a Tatra 87. Jalopnik reader John Long from Toronto was also familiar with Hanzelka’s and Zikmund’s story—and he was inspired on an entirely different…
In April 1947, two wild and crazy Czechs set off from Prague in a Tatra 87 and drove 40,000 miles across Africa and South America. Přes Kordillery (“Across the Cordilleras”) is their book about the middle part of the trip: from Buenos Aires to Lima, across the world’s then-highest road. It is, as one would expect, the…