Behold the Hemi powered “Communist Porsche”

It's not from Germany and it doesn't have a flat four (or six), but this 1957 Tatra 603, nicknamed the "Communist Porsche", is rear engined, air cooled and very rare. Best of all, if you've always dreamt of a communist hot rod in your garage this Tatra is currently for sale on Ebay.

As the seller listing this 1957 Tatra 603 points out, few in America have ever heard of the Czech car company even though they are over 150 years old. Tatra is one of the oldest car manufacturers in the world and the company's designs heavily influenced Ferdinand Porsche. Looking through pictures of old Tatras is like finding the Volkswagen's long lost weird communist older brother.


This Tatra 603 should not be confused with ordinary transportation though. In response to low quality Soviet luxury cars, the Tatra 603 was designed and built to a higher standard. The luxury 603 was "intended only for eastern European heads of state, ranking Communist Party dignitaries and heads of industry behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War Era." Because the customer base for the Tatra 603 was so specific, production averaged out to only 800 cars a year for the 20 years the 603 was manufactured. In the seller's estimation there are about two dozen currently in America.

Hand built and Hemi powered, the design of the 603s is interesting, to say the least. When mounted in the back of the Tatra the air cooled V8 produced 94 horsepower. While it doesn't sound like much now, the lightweight overhead valve engine was state of the art and unrivaled in the communist car realm for its reliability and performance at the time. As the seller points out, the 603 was "The Czechoslovakian Communist Comrade's Hot Rod of choice!" Although it looks like an oversized and even quirkier Volkswagen, the 1957 Tatra 603 is more comparable to the Porsches of the same era.

Although it may be the communist equivalent, few would confuse the Tatra for a vintage Porsche. Just because the Tatra is weirder, ownership doesn't come cheap. Even though this particular example is very well kept, we have to imagine the hassle of finding parts alone would qualify the car for project car hell status. This very unique and interesting Tatra 603 is currently listed on Ebay with a $49,000 buy it now. With less than a day left bidding has barely passed about half of that figure.


Like most people in the world, I have no idea what a vintage Tatra 603 is worth. It certainly isn't hard to imagine a car so interesting and rare has value around the seller's asking price. With a car so specific it stands to reason that the issue with selling the 603 is not what the car is worth, but finding someone willing to part with that amount for this car. While this Tatra is pretty cool and very unique, like many others, if I was going to spend $50,000 on something rear engined and air cooled, it would probably be a non communist Porsche.


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