Tatra plans to renew production of its legendary models


The Tatra car manufacturer in Kopřivnice is planning to renew production of some of its legendary models. The boss and co-owner of Tatra, American Ronald Adams, would like to produce a limited edition of Tatra 603 and the legendary Tatraplán T600. The replicas will look just like the originals, but the engine and the chassis will be entirely new. The first old-new models should leave the factory in about two years’ time.

The legendary Tatraplán with its aerodynamic shape and a rear stabilizing fin which became a Tatra trademark may soon hit the streets again. Due to enormous interest of car collectors and car enthusiast all over the world, the Kopřivnice-based car maker decided to renew production of its legendary models. I asked Tatra’s spokesman Vladimír Bystrov whether there really is a market for these cars:

“A lot of people have repeatedly asked whether there would in future be an opportunity to buy these famous old Tatra models. So yes, we believe there would be a market for a limited series of such cars, not for all of the models but for a few of the most famous ones. At this moment we are thinking about Tatraplán, which is T600, then the very popular T603 and maybe even T700.”

Tatraplán,  photo: CTK
The interest in Tatra cars was boosted by a car show in Los Angeles last year, where the Tatra 603 was on display. Many visitors were interested in buying the car and were surprised to hear that had been out of production for so many years. The last car was made in Kopřivnice in 1999. So what makes Tatras so unique? I asked Ivan Margolius, a Czech-born, London based architect, who wrote a book about Tatra design:

“It’s an amazing design. I myself own one of these cars and I admire it as a very innovative solution to the car design for the mid 20th century. This is the last type of Tatra design car after 16 years of development which started in 1933 with the Tatra 77. Some of the parts of the Tatra design were still taking elements from the old Tatra designs, for example the mudguards, which in Tatraplán in 1947 were resolved into a teardrop shape which hasn’t been surpassed even nowadays.”

The body and the interior of the Tatra replicas should be exactly the same as they were in the past. The chassis and the engine, however, should be provided by some big car producer. Vladimír Bystrov:

“We’ll have to use other parts, like chassis, engines and other things from more established producers of personal cars nowadays, so we’ll be looking for some strong partner in this field in Europe.”

The Tatra car manufacturer has now launched a feasibility study to see whether their plan is realistic. If everything works well, they hope to launch the production in 2010 and plan to produce around one thousand replicas of their legendary Tatra cars.