For $37,900, Would you Czech Out This 1989 Tatra 613?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Tatra 613 is claimed to be ex-KGB and to feature all the bells and whistles that implies. Let’s see if the price of this rare Commie cruiser has you asking for your papers, please.

I was born, six doors in my drive, In a custom H1 I’ll make my final stand. That’s why they call me… BAD COMPANY ’til the day I die.


Last Friday’s Urban Gorilla six-door Hummer H1 replica may very well have set a new Crack Pipe record at it’s almost twenty-five grand price. Its eclectic mix of portal choice, and blank canvas, couldn’t overcome a general sense of limited desirability and it ultimately fell in that 95-percent negative vote.

Speaking of votes, it seems that Russia has recently been monkeying around with that very democratic of processes in nations all around the globe, making Russian leader Vladimir Putin pretty much a template James Bond villain. All that resting-bitch-face’d mo-fo needs is a fluffy white cat in his lap to complete the transformation.


Every evil leader needs his flunkies to carry out his nefarious plans and for Putin that’s the Federal’naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii (FSB). That organization’s predecessor was the Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti or KGB, which served a similar policing function back in the USSR.


In the KGB’s day, some of them—the luckiest ones no doubt—apparently got to lead the thug life while driving cars like this 1989 Tatra 613. That’s the story that is being spun by the car’s seller at least. That just adds to the car’s appeal.

I should note that we have some familiarity with this car, and back then it apparently sold for far less than its current fixed price asking. We’ll see how things go for it now.


For those of you less familiar, Tatra was a company founded in the 1850s as a wagon builder in Kopřivnice, Czech Republic. The company built Central Europe’s first automobile in 1897, and famously sued Ferdinand Porsche for patent infringement after seeing how similar the car Porsche designed for Hitler’s “People’s Car” project was to the Tatra V570. That suit was rendered moot when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. How convenient, right?


Instead of people’s cars, Tatra decided to focus on large luxury automobiles, and when Czechoslovakia fell under communist rule following WWII that meant that a lot of their cars went to those in power and to those individuals’ favored minions.


They were all some pretty lucky folks. The Tatra design, unchanged for decades, featured a rear-mounted air-cooled V8 and streamlined styling. This 613 represents just the third post WWII product from the company, and the only one to feature crisp, but still pretty slippery Vignale-penned bodywork. The model was first introduced in 1975 and by the time of this ’89 was on its third minor restyle. That update eliminated some of the original chrome trim and added body-colored bumpers. Fewer than 10,000 cars total were built over the course of the model run.

This car is said to have been outfitted for the KGB and hence comes with magnetic bubble lights and sirens plus an austere interior that looks all business. That business could very well have been the manufacture of sub-par plastic products since that seems to be the make up of the dash, steering wheel and console. You do get a radio in there, which likely brings in KMRD, as well as prominently placed heater controls. Those drive a pair of gasoline-fueled heaters to offer a modicum of comfort for transporting prisoners to their Siberian gulag.


The gas heaters are necessary as the DOHC V8 engine in back is air cooled an hence not up to those Mars-like Russian winters. The dual-carb unit was good for 200-bhp. Later fuel-injected models added 40 to that. Ahead of the alloy mill is a four-speed, all-synchro manual gearbox.


Black paint lends a sinister feel to the car, and is wholly appropriate considering its history. It’s described as being in excellent condition both inside and out, and comes with just 25,000 kilometers on the clock. The car also comes with a clean title and all the import paperwork already completed.


Here’s a question for you: this was a car built almost exclusively for Soviet big-wigs by a Czechoslovakian company—why is the ignition switch in English?

We’ll probably never know the answer to that, and honestly I just saw a really cool dog so I’ve actually moved on. What we definitely will know however, is your opinion on this rare KGB Tatra’s $37,900 price tag. At that price would you say this a deal? Or, does that seem like too big a Czech to write?


You decide!


South Jersey Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to WindsorShatzkin for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.