Twenty years ago, a traveler headed north on the Dempster Highway in the Canadian Yukon might have been shocked to stumble over an alien craft. The vehicle gleamed silver against the sparse greenery of an Arctic summer landscape, finned and louvered and looking like it had just landed amid a plume of rocket exhaust. But it was not a UFO. It was a 1947 Tatra T87, partway through a journey of more than 10,000 miles. If we’re honest, aliens would be a less crazy story.
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I first encountered a real live Tatra, to my astonishment, at an ice cream stand in a western suburb of Boston. To say it stood out from the hot rods and muscle cars that gathered there on Saturday nights is an understatement! Just my kind of vehicle; weird and clever and historic (though my tastes run more to smaller cars). I love to see stories like this of epic journeys in what we think of as unlikely conveyances. Drive those cars! It's what they were made for!
Tampa Bay Auto Museum has several Tatras: T-26, 6 wheel "military truck" type; a T-87; T-97; a Tatraplan; and a 603. Museum is actually in St. Petersburg, and has all kinds of interesting cars. The goal was to show the firsts of inventions or innovations in cars, and a lot of foreign cars are on display as a result. The good thing is that they exercise all their cars, so they are not just sitting idle. They also had a Fardier de Cugnot (steam powered truck from 1700's France) on loan from the Deutsche Museum in Berlin, and subsequently had their own replica fabricated. Well worth the visit if in Florida.
i saw one of these 30 years ago or so abandoned in a farmers field near my home, and thought it was just the coolest thing. unfortunately it disappeared from there some years later. you realize that after publishing this story, now everyone is gonna want one.....
I first saw a Tatra in Czechoslovakia in 1966. Somewhere I even have a few photos of Tatras in Czechoslovakia that I took with my brownie box camera. That happened on the trans-Europe car trip with my family of origin in the Peugeot 404 wagon that's posted here under road trips and/or driving.
The next time I saw a Tatra--three or four of them, actually, was probably '93, at the big car show in Rockville MD, outside of DC, that happens every October. I'm sure I took photos of those, too--with a much better camera. I've seen one, I think, since then.
Very interesting cars, with interesting history. Fun story!