Holy crap, I got to drive a Tatra T-87


I’m fortunate that with my job at Hagerty, I get to drive a lot of interesting cars. I’ve always wanted to drive a Tatra and recently got the chance. OK, so what’s the big deal? Styling wise, you can tell right away that the Tatra is something different, and the mechanicals are just as interesting. It has a rear-mounted, air-cooled V-8. How cool is that? Built in Czechoslovakia, these cars were pretty aerodynamically advanced, and had some distinct touches you’d never forget. Tatra only made about 3,000 of these from 1936 to 1950, and none were sold in the United States, so it is indeed a rare piece

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/05/16/i-got-to-drive-a-tatra-t-87

The Tatras have always been my favorite items in Jeff Lane’s collection, beginning with the little 1927 (or so) truck. Anyone with an eye for beautiful engineering can probably spend hours just looking at Tatra engines, starting with the exposed one at the front of the old truck to the engine bay of the T-87. I don’t know if Hans Ledwinka was a better engineer than Ferdinand Porsche, though I have my suspicions, but his engines were a heck of a lot prettier!


The first time that I saw a Tatra was at the Tampa Bay Auto Museum in St. Petersburg Fla - they have 4 of them as I recollect, starting from earlier ones to the V8, and also a truck. Having been into VW buses, I found the engines to be very interesting. Styling very unusual, but very aerodynamic, and the fin really sets the car off. I was reading somewhere about them, that the nazi officers loved them (for awhile anyway) during WWII, but also that the cars did a very good job of killing off the officer corps. Seems that the officers liked to drive rather briskly, and in cornering, the cars became unstable at high speed. Thank you Tatra for a job well done!!