Tata (TAH-tah) Motors began as an Indian locomotive manufacturer in 1945. In 2005, Tata began developing a car that could compete with India’s main form of motorized transport: the motorcycle. To do so, it had to be very inexpensive.
Hans Ledwinka was one of the most original and logical thinkers ever to work in the motor industry. He believed the automobile was destined to become an object of everyday use to modern man. His creations in such varied areas as engine design, frame and structures, suspension systems, and aerodynamics attracted worldwide attention.
In 1925 Tatra decided to enter the famous Targa Florio road race in Italy to help publicize its name. Since Tatra had only been making cars for two years, many outsiders believed the Tatra cars would never be able to finish the grueling 450-mile road race.
In 1931, Tatra introduced the T-57 model, with air-cooled, 4 cylinder, overhead valve engines placed in the front. The T-57 was one of Tatra’s most popular models and remained in production until after World War II.
After World War II, Tatra found itself stranded behind the Iron Curtain. Hans Ledwinka was accused of collaborating with the Nazis and was imprisoned from 1945-51. The T-600 was introduced at the 1947 Prague Auto Salon.
The T602 Tatraplán Sport was created by Tatra for the 1949 Czechoslovak Grand Prix. It was based on the T600 Tatraplán, which was a continuation of the pre-WWII T77 and T87 models designed by the legendary engineer Hans Ledwinka.
Tatra began as a Czechoslovakian car maker in1922 and has been one of the largest auto makers behind the Iron Curtain. You can find additional history and a display of Tatra automobiles inside the museum.
In 1996, Tatra introduced the new T-700. It had the same layout and general body lines as the T-613. The T-700 originated one year earlier when British designer Geoff Wardle was asked by Tatra to update the original body structure.
The Vignale-designed Tatra 613 was introduced in 1975, and was too primitive to attract Western buyers after the fall of Communism across Europe in the late 1980s-early 1990s. With the T-625 project shelved, Tatra enlisted British designer Geoff Wardle to freshen the T-613 into the T-700 seen here.