Q: Greg, I’m working on a T-600 Tatraplan automobile, and I know many people have ever never seen or heard of one of these.
Mine is a 1947 model, and it would be interesting to see what info you can provide. I have both 4-cylinder and a V8 air cooled engines and transaxles. I enjoy your column very much. Raymond Hogg, Big Spring, Texas.
A: Raymond, I haven’t heard the word Tatraplan since my good friend Jack Kulp mentioned this Czechoslovakian-built car to me about 25 years ago.
Kulp, a famous drag racer, used to run blown 445-inch Olds and Hemi Chrysler engines in foreign cars, most notably a Simca blown AA/Gas Supercharged machine. (He also ran Willys coupes, too).
Anyway, Kulp had told me about the Tatraplan which was built by the Tatra car company, and that he nearly bought one and made it into a racecar. Your car is a mid to late year 1947 model that received the nomenclature T-600 Tatraplan.
The Tatraplan name comes from what was a government sponsored, “centralized economic” plan in Czechoslovakia, where the car was produced.
T-600 Tatraplans were streamliner type cars that came with a 1952cc inline 4-cylinder air-cooled engines that were placed in the rear between the axle. The body had a coefficient aerodynamic drag of 0.32, which was great for that era.
Overall, some 4,200 T-600’s were sold from 1947 through 1951, but in late 1951, the Czech Department of Defense, which controlled the production of the cars, informed Tatra they would now build trucks, and that all cars would be built under the Skoda brand.
Skoda was one of the other car companies in the country at the time, and also run by the government. The third car company in the Czech Republic was Praga.
In 1954, however, Tatra re-joined the car building with a large passenger car, and this is where that air cooled V8 engine and transaxle you have in your garage come into play.
The V8 T603-engine had previously been developed and tested on the race track in Tatra experimental and race type cars. It was used for the Tatra-603, and went on sale in 1955 and remained in production until 1975. In its’ 18 years of sales, a total of 20,422 T-603’s were built.
You have some very interesting items in your garage, so keep us informed and send a photo as you move forward.
Hope this all helps and thanks for the nice comments.